Originally published November 4 2008
Asthma Attacks Can Be Reduced by Using This Russian Breathing Technique
by Deanna Dean
(NaturalNews) Anyone who has endured an asthma attack or watched their child suffer as they gasped for breath knows the helpless feeling that can grip you as powerfully as the attack itself. There are approximately a million and a half asthmatic sufferers in all parts of the world and if the condition is chronic and not treated, it can lead to death.
Though prescription medications, nebulizers and bronchodilators are easily available, there is a theory behind a little known asthma treatment that claims to eliminate the need for medication.
It's a drug-free approach, developed by a Russian physician, Dr. Konstantin Buteyko, called the Buteyko (shallow breathing) Method. It's simple, easy and according to a study found in the Journal of Asthma, 2002 and Thorax in 2003, the Buteyko Method can reduce reliance on bronchodilators and the need for corticosteroids in asthma patients.
The Australian Association of Asthma Foundations in 1994 conducted trials at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane showing success with the Buteyko breathing method. In that trial asthmatics in the tests were able to considerably reduce their medications and improve their general health and quality of life.
Conclusions of another study at the First Moscow Medical Institute of E.M. Sechenov show that Buteyko's method helps to decrease the number and severity of attacks, improves acid/alkaline balance in the body and strengthens lung ventilation. Buteyko's technique can be taught to children as young as 3 years of age and up in a controlled environment.
The method Buteyko developed involves something so simple it's hard to believe, and yet the results have been remarkable. It's a technique using a set of shallow breathing exercises with extended pauses. The goal is to practice this controlled breathing for a period of time several times a day and increase your "control pause" each session until you can hold those pauses for at least 60 seconds.
You would basically breathe a shallow breath through your nose for two breaths and on the second exhalation; pause for as long as comfortable, before breathing in again, increasing the length of time the pause was held each time. There are qualified teachers trained in the teaching of this method, but that is the general concept.
Premise Behind the Technique
Typically when carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the blood are elevated, you breathe in. That oxygen will replace some of the CO2 and lower the carbon dioxide back down to normal. During an asthma attack, the person panics and begins to breathe rapidly. They take in a greater amount of air (oxygen) than normal which causes the CO2 level to drop too low.
It's this condition that causes the body to react. The airways narrow in the lungs and mucous forms so that the amount of air inhaled in each breath is reduced and CO2 levels aren't diluted with oxygen and drop further. What happens next is the patient panics even more and tries to breathe in harder and struggles for more oxygen which only exacerbates the problem.
Buteyko's shallow breathing method teaches the patient to breathe more shallowly and to tolerate a higher concentration of CO2 in the blood.
Also available to asthma sufferers are FDA approved, standardized herbal remedies for asthma, like chamomile which can prevent bronchial problems. When taken as a tea, chamomile has been found to be superior to anti-histamine medications.
Allergies can trigger an asthma attack, but Astragalus, used widely by the Chinese, can help prevent this. Ephedra can ease respiratory congestion, while Lobelia and Nettle both assist the respiratory system to work more smoothly.
It's also been shown there is a link between asthma and cod liver oil. Lack of Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is believed by many to be a contributor to asthma. Several studies including the one conducted in 1990 (Olsen SF et al. 2008) found that overall, pregnant mothers who took fish oil supplements reduced the risk their children would develop asthma. In fact children are more likely to develop asthma when they don't get important nutrients such as zinc, Vitamins C, E, and B12 and supplement with cod liver oil.
There are many choices for relief to the millions who suffer from asthma. Choosing first from the many natural treatments available would be a wise decision because natural is almost always safer and better.
In good health,
The Buteyko Institute of Breathing and Health website is:
About the authorDeanna Dean is the Wellness Director for Your Health Coach, a company dedicated to health and wellness education.
Dee is a Wellness & Weight Loss Coach, a Certified Natural Health Professional, is pursuing an ND degree-Naturopathic Doctor, is a certified Raw Chef, certified in Dietary Guidelines from the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, former Personal Trainer, Yoga and Fitness Studio Owner, TV and Radio Guest, Health Columnist.
Deanna develops customized programs to enhance the health of her clients, educates, and coaches dieters for safe weight loss.
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