Before I took the Buteyko breathing course my health in general was poor, I was constantly fighting one ailment or another but the primary health issue was asthma. I was taking combined asthma medications, nasal sprays, anti histamines etc (you name it I took it). My system had practically become immune to all medication: my work was affected to the point where I had to reduce my hours. I frequently had to visit either the ‘walk-in’ centre or A&E which usually resulted in nebulisers, steroid injections and oral steroids. The period of relief between steroid courses was getting shorter and shorter and I was also getting awful side effects from the steroids. In addition I developed nasal polyps which resulted in my having to sleep in a chair in the kitchen most nights because I could not breathe if I lay down. My health problems also affected my husband: neither of us got much sleep and my constant coughing and nose blowing was fatiguing and distressing. I couldn’t walk more than a few steps without gasping and coughing, I coughed after every laugh. At work my cough was recognized all over the building, even my customers would comment on my breathing. A visit to A&E on my birthday in 2016 was the final straw: I needed three nebulisers, a steroid injection to get my oxygen levels up from 91 to 95 and the only remedy the hospital could offer was yet another course of oral steroids.
Apart from prescriptions from my GP I tried a succession of diets aimed at reducing mucus build up, vitamins and minerals that support lung health. In desperation I spent a fortune on a visit to an Iridologist and I did get some temporary relief but nothing lasting.
I had no real hesitation about trying Buteyko but I have to admit this was probably as much due to desperation as it was faith. I had been reading about Buteyko and had seen a number of videos on YouTube over a period of 2-3 years and from time to time I would re-visit the idea of Buteyko, but I knew it focused upon nasal breathing and until I had the operation to remove the nasal polyps I knew I’d struggle so I didn’t bother. In December 2015 I had the operation for the polyps and although I could now breathe better, my asthma had become almost uncontrollable. Some videos posted more recently by people like Patrick McKeown and others made me want to try it.
Within one week of doing the exercises I slept right through the night peacefully and best of all I slept in my own bed and not in a chair. My cough stopped after about three weeks and my breathing felt so much more peaceful and relaxed. Dark circles under my eyes went and my eyes are brighter. I can walk anywhere now and I can walk for hours on end. I no longer need combined asthma inhalers now and I have not used my blue inhaler in quite some time. My dose of the preventer puffer is down to one puff twice a day and I am about to reduce that again to one puff in the evening. I don’t use any nasal sprays and I have gone through the whole of the pollen season without any anti-histamines at all. My overall health and well-being cannot be overstated: I find it hard to imagine the dark days now: it’s a bit like I watched a film about a sick person. It’s hard to believe that was me. My husband, my family and friends all see huge improvements as do my colleagues at work. Being a well and healthy person changes my outlook on everything.
I am a much calmer person these days and I understand my triggers more. I don’t think I had fully appreciated how debilitating asthma is and the impact my poor health had on my husband: I see huge improvements in him too as he is not stressing about me. I would recommend Buteyko to anyone with any kind of breathing issue but particularly for people who are determined to get on the other side of asthma. I would also recommend it to people with anxiety issues too. Doing my own research beforehand was useful and understanding a little of the science behind it helped me pick myself up when my confidence was wavering. However, I can over think things and sometimes this caused tensions or anxiety that would slow my progress.
I wouldn’t suggest Buteyko to people who want a magic bullet and who are not prepared to take on the time commitment and daily discipline of the exercises. In my case it has been a bit like turning a tanker around: my progress has been slow and steady and aside from a couple of setbacks I have seen improvements every week. But it has required discipline, patience and above all commitment.
(Anni Clarke, retail/fashion, Manchester 2016)
It has been about 8 months since I did the Buteyko training and I’m breathing clearly pretty much all of the time.
I’m now doing Buteyko alongside the neti pot and (the practice of pouring saline fluid through one nostril and out the other) and the two practices together have so far been the answer to my constant nasal congestion. The thing is I had tried to do the neti pot before but my nose would get so blocked when I bent over to do it that it just felt frustrating. Now I do Buteyko with it and it feels great.
I was finding it very hard to breathe before the course and now I feel much more aware of what is happening and how to help it calm down.
I was concerned that it was a lot of money but everything I have learnt has been invaluable.
I have more awareness about my breathing, causes and solutions for when it is strained. I make more time to relax and see a direct relationship between stress and how easy I find it to breathe. I notice a direct link between tension in my stomach area and tight breathing/congestion in my nose and wheeziness. I tend to feel a tightness in my stomach when standing, talking, any movement and it’s becoming easier to relax any tension as soon as I notice it. I remember someone saying it takes about a year to really learn Buteyko. I’ve been doing it for about 8 months and I can really see how my body is getting more used to relaxing and breathing properly.
I wasn’t expecting for there to be such an emphasis on relaxation or that using the Buteyko technique would help me relax as much as it did.
I really appreciate all the support from you Janet. Your calming emails helped to ease out any stress I was feeling about the process and encouraged me to keep going. The Buteyko technique can feel like hard work at times but it has given me a solution when I was really losing hope. – Thank you
(Ella Harris, Actress Hebden Bridge, 2014)
I started visiting Janet 8 weeks ago so I am still working on improving my breathing. The reason for my starting the course was the frequent chest infections I have always been bothered with- and which seem to be lasting longer.
Before I took the Buteyko breathing course I was struggling to get over a type of viral bronchitis. My main problems were exhausting cough, blocked sinuses and poor sleep, with inevitable energy loss and low morale. The GP had advised me to give it time and rest.
I did hesitate before starting the course because of the financial commitment but the symptoms began to improve within the first few days of the breathing course, which was so encouraging. I was amazed how the nose breathing eased the mucus/sinus congestion and rapidly the coughing. Nose breathing at night also brought much improved sleeps.
It is a challenge to do the exercises regularly (and my breath control during speech is my biggest challenge) but I have been amazed at how much my whole quality of life has improved and the welcome sense of calm that comes with practicing the Buteyko breathing exercises.
Janet gave good clear guidance and kind support which made for an enjoyable and positive experience.
(Collette, High Peak 2013)
For years I have suffered with sinusitis and a number of other problems. In July 2010 I was finally diagnosed with M.E. and, like many other people suffering with M.E., I have tried several remedial therapies.
After hearing a talk at the Stockport ME Association, given by Dr Janet Winter on the Buteyko method of breathing, in May this year I booked on a one-to-one course at her Breathing Remedies Clinic, hoping that it would help ease my sinus problems and possibly help with the fatigue from M.E.
After practising the Buteyko method (which I continue to do each day) I soon found it helped to reduce the congestion in my nose and I have had no recurrence of sinusitis. In addition I have found that carrying out the breathing method helps to relax and calm my mind and this has definitely helped with my chronic fatigue. Dr Winter has been very supportive throughout and I know I am able to contact her at any time.
(Eric, Marple, Stockport, 2013)
I have had mild breathing problems all my life, I am borderline Asthmatic. Since leanring Buteyko the difference it has made to my life is amazing. I have been having very bad panic attacks at night for years. I have since learned that I must have been Hyperventilating at night and having a very bad nightmare. Since learning how to keep my mouth shut at night, the difference is amazing. No more nightmares, also I am not as thirsty. I must have been sleeping with my mouth open and it made me very thirsty. Also I had a very bad persistant cough which I could not get rid of. I was given a Reliever Inhalor to use when I needed it. Since learning the Breathing Exercises, my cough has gone and I no longer need to use an Inhalor. I could certainly recommend Janet to anyone, with Asthma and with many other problems.
Philippa Knight, Care assistant High Peak 2009