Dr. Mercola: “If You Have Asthma, Try Buteyko Breathing”

In one of Dr. Mercola’s latest blog post on dealing with asthma, Buteyko Breathing was mentioned as one of the remedies. Here’s the part on Buteyko Breathing:

Most people chronically “overbreathe,” which just means breathing more than you need to. When you overbreathe, you are depleting your carbon dioxide reserves. The odds are that if you are breathing through your mouth during the day, you are also doing so at night, which can lead to several health problems like dehydration, snoring, and sleep apnea. (*To learn more on snoring and sleep apnea ,here’s a great post by PositiveHealthWellness: How to Stop Snoring – The complete Guide)

Mouth breathing also plays a critical role in bronchial asthma, especially exercise-induced asthma. In a study published in theAmerican Review of Respiratory Disease, young asthma patients had virtually no exercise-induced asthma after exercising while breathing through their noses.5 However, they experienced moderate bronchial constriction after exercising while mouth breathing. Other studies have shown similar findings.

Mouth and nose breathing differ dramatically in terms of the depth of your breath, how the air is “prepared,” and the effects they produce in your body. The first step to attaining optimal breathing is to breathe through your nose, not through your mouth. If you have asthma, I recommend using a simple technique called The Buteyko Breathing Method—named after the Russian physician who developed the technique—which can help restore normal breathing patterns, improve the delivery of oxygen to tissues and organs, increase the oxygen carrying capacity of your blood, and radically improve your overall health and fitness.

Asthmatics typically breathe through the mouth. They also tend to breathe heavier and have a higher respiratory rate than non-asthmatics. According to Patrick McKeown, who is one of the top teachers of the Buteyko Method in the world, there’s a feedback loop, in that the heavier breathing volume that’s coming into your lungs causes a disturbance of blood gasses, including the loss of carbon dioxide (CO2). Contrary to popular belief, carbon dioxide is not merely a waste gas. Although you breathe to get rid of excess CO2, it’s very important that your breathing volume is normal, in order to maintain a certain amount of CO2 in your lungs.

“If you’re breathing too heavily, you lose carbon dioxide, and smooth muscles surrounding your airways constrict. Another factor from an asthmatic point of view is dehydration of the inner walls of the airways. It’s a combination of these factors that cause the airways to constrict. Heavy breathing is causing the loss of carbon dioxide. And carbon dioxide also helps to relax smooth muscles surrounding your blood vessels. So, it’s not just the airways which constrict when you’re breathing too much, but it’s also the blood vessels,” he says.

You can test this out by taking five or six big breaths in and out of your mouth. Most people will begin to experience some light-headedness or dizziness. While you might reason that taking bigger breaths through your mouth allows you to take more oxygen into your body, which should make you feel better, the opposite actually happens. This is because you’re getting rid of too much carbon dioxide from your lungs, which causes your blood vessels to constrict—hence the light-headedness.

So, the heavier you breathe, the less oxygen that’s actually delivered throughout your body due to lack of carbon dioxide, which causes your blood vessels to constrict. The Buteyko Method teaches you how to bring your breathing volume back toward normal or, in other words, to reverse chronic hyperventilation or chronic overbreathing. When your breathing is normal, you have better oxygenation of tissues and organs.

 

Here’s the link to access the original full article: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/07/asthma-trigger.aspx