The Buteyko method consists of various breathing exercises ranging from relaxed to active. During the course they will all learn them, so at home that you can alternate between them. Some exercises may not be suitable for you, which will be explained during the course. This can be, for example, because you have heart problems, diabetes or high blood pressure. You will only do exercises that fit your health situation.

When you do an exercise, you can often feel the effect quite soon. The airways opens up – your nose suddenly reopens – and blood circulation improves because of which, for example, your hands and feet get warmer.

How (un)healthy people breathe

During his working life Buteyko has observed or treated a few thousand people. As early as the 1950s, he noted that unhealthy people have a clearly present, noticeable breathing – even at rest. They often breathe through the mouth, in the upper chest, with a higher breathing frequency and volume. And this is substantially different from the regular, effortless and quiet breathing of healthy people. They breathe through the nose, more using their diaphragm, and with a normal frequency and breathing volume.

In the decades that followed, Buteyko designed a program to normalize the breathing. With slower breathing and short breathing pauses, it is possible to breathe less air. Of course, that doesn’t work overnight. If you are going to take the Buteyko course, you have to plan on practicing a number of times daily, for three months or sometimes longer, to achieve your goal.

Through daily practice, something changes structurally: the breathing pattern recovers to a healthy breathing frequency and volume. Those who practice well visibly recover from symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, sleep problems, asthma and Rhinitis.

Nasal breathing

During the Buteyko course  you will learn various breathing exercises. It starts with breathing through the nose day and night. Nasal breathing, with your tongue in the roof of the mouth, ensures that the airways are more open. This reduces the risk of sleep problems, for example by snoring or apnea. When you switch to nasal breathing, you may sometimes feel like you are not getting enough air. However, this feeling of ‘air hunger’ quickly get less by doing the breathing exercises regularly.

From a physiological point of view, it is normal to breathe in and out through the nose. After all, all mammals do this. Breathing through the mouth is a bad habit that is often the result of a blocked nose. That is why one of the first exercises is also the so-called ‘Nose Opener’. If you can breathe through your nose for a minute, you can breathe through your nose all day long.

The Buteyko exercises

At you will learn the following exercises:

  • Control pause: this test gives feedback on your breathing volume.
  • Nose opener: creates some air hunger by movement and a breath hold, in order to widen the airways.
  • Reduced breathing: reducing breathing volume, by relaxing the muscles and breathing less air.
  • Basic exercise: mini-protocol of testing heart beat and Control pause and reduced breathing. With a few variations.
  • Mini-pauses: short breath holds that you may take occasionally or as a complete exercise.
  • Walking exercises: walking with light to stronger air hunger – depending on Control pause and fitness.
  • Stopping hyperventilation attack: exercise to stop or prevent an acute hyperventilation attack.
  • Step exercises: exercises in which physical activity and reduced breathing are alternated.
  • Exercise in talking: training yourself to breathe lighter while talking.

In addition, you will receive explanations and advice regarding:

  • Breathing during sleep
  • What to do when you have a ‘cleansing response’
  • Staying in control of your breathing during exercise and doing sports
  • Influence of nutrition on your breathing
  • Relationship between stress and a disrupted breathing
  • What to do in case of a respiratory infection (rest!)
  • Phasing out the exercises
  • Consult with your GP regularly about your medication

Getting started yourself 

Are you motivated to actively do something about your health issues? If so, the Buteyko method might be a good choice for you. Feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

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