If you have recently heard of the Dr. Buteyko Method, and found yourself a little skeptical, you are not alone. This is a common reaction. However, if you are like many others, the concept piqued your curiosity enough to want to learn more.
The Buteyko Method Explained
The Buteyko Method is not exclusively associated with snoring. Through the years it has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including stress, sleep apnea, anxiety, asthma, and ADHD.
In 1952, Dr. Konstantin Buteyko discovered that breathing has an effect on overall health. As he studied this theory, he found that people with deteriorating health also experience deeper breathing. For 50 years he researched and performed studies to determine the connection.
Dr. Buteyko found that snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia, asthma, multiple sclerosis, and more than 150 other medical conditions are caused by breathing in more air than needed. He witnessed symptoms of ailments decrease and even disappear when patients improved their breathing.
It is suggested that the majority of the population inhales double the amount of air that they need, and that over-breathing promotes hyperactivity in the nervous and immune systems.
What’s the Harm in Over Breathing?
Chronic hyperventilation, or simply known as over-breathing, alters the naturally occurring gases in the bloodstream. This strains the body in a wide variety of ways, affecting the mind, heart, and nervous and respiratory systems.
A Deeper Look at the Buteyko Method
The Buteyko Method is not just about trying to not over-breathe. It involves actively applying a correct breathing volume by:
- Relaxing the diaphragm to create an air shortage
- Using a breath hold test to measure and track progress
- Improving long-term breathing with positive lifestyle changes
- Practicing mouth-to-nose breathing techniques
- Unblocking the nose using breath hold exercises
Testing the Theory
The Buteyko Method uses a Control Pause (CP) test to determine your susceptibility to breathlessness and sensitivity to carbon monoxide. Begin by sitting in a chair. Make sure you have proper posture as you inhale and exhale a small breath. When you exhale plug your nose so your airway can’t accept more air.
Time how long you can go without unplugging your nose using a stopwatch. Your inhale should be as small as the initial one you took before plugging your nose. If you had to take a gasping deep breath, you held it too long. The theory is that the more you practice this the better your breathing will become.
It is implied that really deep breathing causes tissues within respiratory structures to vibrate, which causes snoring. Therefore, a quiet and calm breath is said to alleviate snoring symptoms.