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Breathing Technique Helps Reduce Asthma Symptoms

Breathing Technique Helps Reduce Asthma Symptoms

Friday, August 8th 2003

The Russian Buteyko technique, which involves reduction in the frequency and depth of breathing, can improve symptoms and reduce bronchodilator use in patients with asthma, UK researchers report in the August 1st issue of Thorax.

Susan Cooper and colleagues at City Hospital, Nottingham, note that the approach, based on the belief that asthma is caused by hyperventilation and hypercapnia, is used worldwide and has sparked patient interest in the UK.

To investigate, the researchers studied 90 asthmatics who were randomized to use of the Eucapnic Buteyko technique (an adaptation of the original Buteyko technique), use of a device which mimicked the breath restriction employed in the pranayama yoga breathing technique, or to a placebo device which offered no resistance to breathing.

Buteyko patients were given five 2-hour training sessions by a certified practitioner and were told to use the technique twice daily and to relieve asthma symptoms. They were also instructed to employ tape to avoid mouth breathing when asleep and to avoid stress and certain foods.

In the 69 patients who completed the 6-month study, no between-group differences were seen in lung function (FEV1), bronchial responsiveness, the number of exacerbations or in the ability to reduce dosages of inhaled corticosteroids.

However, there was a median reduction of 3 in symptom scores in the Buteyko group, compared to 1 in the pranayama group and 0 in the placebo group. Buteyko patients also managed to reduce bronchodilator use by 2 puffs a day. No change was seen in the other 2 groups.

In a statement, Ms. Cooper observed that the "the Buteyko technique appeared to help these patients adapt to their asthma and feel more in control of their treatment. However, we didn't find evidence to suggest that the underlying disease is altered."

Given these findings, the researchers conclude that the approach "may be worth trying in patients who are sympathetic to the ethos and are willing to commit to the time required."

In an accompanying editorial, Dr. M. Thomas of Stroud Hospital agrees that many patients wish to explore non-pharmacological treatments, and that although progress is being made, "further controlled studies are required to confirm effectiveness and clarify mechanisms of benefit if found."

Thorax 2003;58:674-679

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all helpful in severe respiratory conditions:

Go Breathe Clear
Echinacea with Astragalus and Reishi
Immune Boost
Golden Seal Root
Herbal Throat Formula
Herbal Chest Syrup
Superior Olive Leaf
Vitamin C with Hesperidin Complex

Related health information can be found here:

Common Cold
Echinacea - a potent weapon against infection
Echinacea - natures natural immune tonic
Vitamin C is essential for fighting infections, wound healing and coping with stress
Winter ailments and immune boosting

Related articles can be found here:

Behind the Science of Sambucol Virologist Developed Clinically Tested
Doctors Recommend a Multi-Vitamin a Day
Don't Let the Winter Bug Get You!
Olive Leaf Extract - For Winter Ills and Much More
The Echinacea Experts
The Winter First Aid Kit in a Bottle
Year Round Immune Building

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

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