Benefits of Mastering the Buteyko Breathing Method

It is a serious challenge to improve one's automatic or unconscious breathing pattern



The Buteyko technique is not only for asthma. The target of the Buteyko therapy is to increase cell oxygen content and maintain it at highest level day and night. Hence, to learn the Buteyko method means to permanently normalize one’s breathing pattern. Better body oxygenation produces a huge impact on life quality and health.

The Buteyko breathing technique is not only for asthma. All people need normal level of oxygen in body cells. However, sick people with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and many other chronic diseases do not have normal oxygen level in cells.

The target of the Buteyko breath therapy is to increase cell oxygen content and maintain it at highest workable level day and night. Hence, to learn the Buteyko method means to permanently normalize one’s breathing pattern.

The core test of the Buteyko system is called the CP (control pause), which is the cell oxygenation index. This simple DIY breath-holding time test is done after usual expiration and only until the initial stress. (After your usual exhalations, measure your breath hold, but only until the initial stress.)

This test estimates an individual’s cell oxygen content and health according to the Buteyko Table of Health Zones. Sick people generally have less than 20 s for the body oxygen test, very sick – less than 10 s, normal people between 20 and 30 s CP. A hundred years ago, it was common that ordinary people had about 40-50 s for the same body oxygen test.

How should we breathe for better body oxygenation?

Modern individuals assume that large, deep, or heavy breathing is able to improve oxygen concentration in body cells. This superstition has no any evidence. Countless medical research studies have validated that heavy breathing (or hyperventilation) decreases tissue oxygenation. Do modern people breathe normally?

As it is proven beyond doubt by medical research science, modern day individuals breathe approximately 2 times more air at rest than the therapeutic standard. The physiological norm for breathing is considered 6 liters of air per minute at rest, and this is a minuscule volume. Actually, it is so small that healthy adults commonly do not experience or feel their breath.

Consequently, if you can feel your basal respiration at rest, your respiratory pattern is way too heavy. What exactly is wrong with over-breathing (hyperventilation)? There are three known major effects of overbreathing on oxygen delivery.

Firstly, the normal breathing pattern is only nasal and diaphragmatic. It provides us with virtually ideal oxygen content in the arterial blood (approximately 98-99 per cent). Meanwhile, deep or heavy breathing is executed with the chest muscles. (Just observe people around you, and you will find out that over 80% of modern people are chest breathers.) Lower segments of our lungs do not acquire fresh air with greater oxygen content. Consequently, oxygenation of the arterial blood, for chest breathing, is decreased.

In the second instance, CO2, the ingredient that we exhale out, is a potent vasodilator. Hence, heavy breathing lowers blood availability or perfusion of all tissues and organs in the human body.

Lastly, CO2 is in fact necessary for discharge of O2 from red blood cells to organs (the Bohr effect). When CO2 gets low red blood cells cannot release oxygen in tissues due to their increased affinity.

If you are still not convinced about negative effects of chronic hyperventilation, you can try the Hyperventilation Provocation Test.

Breathing problems: when they are worse
As scientific data demonstrates terminally sick patients are most likely to die during early morning hours (about 4-7 am), when our breathing is deepest and cells oxygenation lowest. (You can find many medical studies related to this Sleep Heavy Breathing Effect.) This result has been demonstrated and confirmed for asthma, COPD, heart disease, stroke, epilepsy, diabetes, and many other conditions.

Why do sick people feel worse in the morning? During nights we cannot control or regulate our breath. Even for the healthy, breathing is usually heaviest between about 4 and 7 am and their body oxygen level is lowest (often less than 20 s CP) during these times. Hence, the major harm to the human organism (growth of tumors, tissue and cell destruction, pathological changes in tissues, more inflammation, mucus production, cholesterol increase and so forth), with resetting of the breathing centre back to chronic over-breathing (hyperventilation), occurs during these times. The effects are demoralizing.

Hence, just mastering Buteyko breathing exercises is not sufficient. You should correct your automatic or basal breathing pattern and control your breathing 24/7. Why?

If someone has a dry mouth every morning (due to oral breathing during sleep), this person will never fix his health and his body oxygen content and the body oxygen level will remain low. If another individual sleeps each night on her back, her disease signs and typical breathing pattern will be almost unchanged even after many hours of best breathing retraining exercises. Hence, it is important to learn the main lifestyle ideas of the Buteyko program. Before you start any breath retraining work, you should have a very clear understanding that you should reduce, restrain, and calm your breath. (The same words are used in ancient yoga manuscripts in relation to breath.)

What to know before the journey

Hence, an individual should understand the following major topics before learning the therapy:
– What is the main purpose of Buteyko breathing retraining exercises?
– What are the normal and ideal breathing patterns?
– How should we breathe for maximum tissues oxygenation?
– How can one measure one’s oxygenation of the body using the body oxygen test?
– What are the properties of CO2?

As about advantages of the breathing retraining exercises, according to numerous medical research papers, Western and Russian trials, these are the major findings:
– Chronic disorders are based on low body oxygenation.
– Sick people breathe much more than the norm (tens of medical studies, visit my website for specific parameters).
– Breathing more than the norm LOWERS oxygenation of the body
– Restoration of normal respiratory numbers day and night eliminates symptoms of chronic health problems and needs for medication. In addition, all clinical trials report improved quality of life (better sleep, more energy, and so on). Want to set yourself free? Learn Buteyko.

There is another breathing therapy which is now even more popular in Russia. During the last decade more than 2 million Frolov breathing devices have been sold through pharmacies in Russia. Hundreds of Russian MDs endorse and encourage their patients to use this technique (Frolov Breathing Device Therapy) to boost their body oxygen levels. This technique had successful trials on asthma, bronchitis, stroke, hypertension, and diabetes.

Want to know what medical doctors say about the Buteyko method? Read Buteyko Testimonials.

Now you can learn all main Buteyko breathing exercises and most important lifestyle modules (how to tape mouth during sleep, how to prevent supine sleep, how to exercise, etc.) online at

Konstantin Buteyko web page is about history of the Buteyko breathing method and life of a leading Soviet physiologist Dr. Konstantin Buteyko.

Dr. Artour Rakhimov is a health educator. He is the author of books and the educational website The website has hundreds of medical quotes, tables, charts, graphs, references, results of clinical trials, analysis of respiratory techniques, free breathing exercises, manuals, techniques, lifestyle modules and other resources for better cells oxygen content and health. Normal Breathing defeats chronic diseases!