Howard has a background in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Toronto, he has experience as a swim coach, inventor, designer, and engineer. He was trained by Buteyko practitioners Patrick McKeown, Carol Baglia, Susan Neves, and Hadas Golan in Holand, MI. in 2011, and has been a registered Buteyko Breathing Educator of BBEA (Buteyko Breathing Educators Association) since then. He had collaborated with ENT specialists for promoting Buteyko. Currently Howard resides in Vancouver. Howard was elected to serve as one of the Board member for BBEA as of September, 2013.
How did you got involved with Buteyko Breathing?
I came across the term “Buteyko” when I was researching for an alternative, drug free solution for the asthmatics with Dr. Hung Cheng Tseng for his ENT clinics, back in 2010.
While there are many alternative natural therapies that proclaim their efficacy to asthma, Buteyko Breathing Technique grabbed my attention because it was one of the few that had a relatively extensive number of research papers and clinical data to support its claims. But after I reviewed all the clinical studies done on the Buteyko Breathing Technique, I was skeptical again, because the results looked too good to be true. I wondered, why, if the technique is as good as it’s described, it still hasn’t got the attention it deserved after so many years.
I decided to put myself to test. After practicing the Buteyko Breathing Technique, I did feel a difference. I was able to unblock my stuffy nose in minutes, naturally and no tools needed; I felt I was getting a better sleep at night, waking up without a dry mouth and no more snoring (I’m an occasional snorer, usually on nights when I’m exhausted and sleep in an upright position); and I definitely felt an improvement in my fitness level after switching to nasal breathing as described by the Buteyko technique. All these was very exciting, as Dr. Hung Cheng Tseng also found similar improvement in overall health with himself and friends he shared the information to. He no longer have the tinnitus he occasionally had during sleep, and he was able to complete the Grouse Mountain hike by just adapting the breathing technique alone (prior to applying the technique he could only achieve one quarter of the hike before giving up). By adapting this technique, he have successfully brought his 50, 60 years old hiking pals to conquer many trails in BC that they had never dreamed of going. Stawamus Chief all 3 peaks in half a day? You really got to give a credit to that.
In order to learn more about this method, and also to validate the too-good-to-be-true efficacy on asthma that I wasn’t able to experiment on myself, I headed to Holland, MI. in May 2011 to attend the Buteyko Educator training by BBEA.
I have to admit even though I did experience an improvement in my overall well being, I was still somewhat skeptical to the efficacy of Buteyko technique prior to my trip. But after the training, after seeing the improvement on these patients who participated in the group sessions we held, in such a short period of time, not only my skepticism was completely gone, I was amazed and touched.
In one of the group session there was a retired athlete, who on her 3rd session told us that last week was the first week after she stopped her sporting career 5 years ago, that she was finally able to have good night sleep every single day (It is quite common for some athletes to develop breathing difficulties after their career, because they’ve stopped the exercises which generated the adequate amount of CO2 for them, but have still kept the heavy breathing habit). There was an old lady in another session, who literally came to the first session with a mobile oxygen tank and had a CP value of 2 (talking was difficult as she could barely hold her breath), was able to take a break from her tank on the last session we met, and conversed short sentences with us. A couple came in on their 2nd session, with the wife cheering about her husband’s thunderous snore had finally disappeared, and the husband relieving that his ears were finally freed from her complaints. A little 5 years old boy, who came to the session with his mom, was so excited with a broad grin on his face the moment he freed up his nose with the unclogging exercise; and I’m sure he’ll have a good looking teeth and jaw when he grow up.
All the Buteyko Educators have their own stories of what made them to believe in this breathing technique, the above are just a few of the many that were more memorable for me.
You might also wonder, why then, a beneficial drug free technique like this isn’t being promoted and practiced widely?
In the end, Buteyko Breathing technique is no magic, it’s an effective breathing technique to help you adopt the correct breathing habit (volume), and can effectively alleviate people’s breathing difficulties and/or reliance on drugs in a very short period of time; but it still require commitment and effort. For people who prefer the quick relieve by constantly taking medicines or drugs, that’s a choice too. But if you would like to make a life long change and improvement to your breathing symptoms and overall health, naturally, then you are the reason why this website exist. Why is Buteyko Breathing not practiced by every asthmatic or snorer yet? Well, besides the lucrative pharmaceutical and drug industry (imaging a society where everyone is fit and healthy), most people don’t necessarily choose what’s good for their health even when the choice is obvious. It may sound absurd, but imaging if we all choose what’s good for us, then most of the fast food restaurants, tobacco companies, and soft drink tycoons, would have long been bankrupted, right?