About the courses
The Buteyko method is not about throwing away medicine, it is about gaining control.
Safety is of first priority; Buteyko does not suggest asthmatics discard their prescribed medication. Course attendees are instructed to carry bronchodilators with them at all times, and to continue taking preventive medication as prescribed by their doctor.
In the event of an attack, course attendees are told to try the Buteyko exercises at the first sign of symptoms. If this is not successful they are to use their medication as soon as possible, rather than waiting for the attack to become severe. If the attack does become severe they are instructed to seek medical attention immediately.
The reduction of preventive drug use is carried out gradually and carefully under the advice of the person's doctor. Buteyko does not interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and it encourages asthmatics to seek medical advice before reducing preventer medication or if their condition is deteriorating.
How is the method taught?
Professor Buteyko developed a series of special breathing exercises, techniques and lifestyle changes that are taught over a minimum of five consecutive one-two hour daily sessions. Some patients will require more than five sessions, depending on their individual condition.
The Buteyko Practitioner can teach groups or see individuals privately.
You will be required to adhere to some basic lifestyle changes and to perform some breathing exercises two to four times a day. Depending on your progress, you'll find you can practice Buteyko's method with little or no intrusion on your normal routine. In fact, most patients find they can enjoy a level of sports and fitness they previously thought impossible.
Patients are first taught to overcome symptoms using Buteyko's techniques. For asthmatics this quickly results in the ability to overcome asthma attacks by restoring a more normal level of carbon dioxide, which dilates the bronchial tubes. Wheezes, coughs and breathlessness also succumb to these techniques. In the course of time and with practice the average breathing pattern becomes more normal and symptoms occur with less frequency and severity. Naturally the requirement for 'rescue' medication is substantially reduced or eliminated. A doctor can provide the proper advice regarding preventative medication as the condition continues to improve.
Patients with emphysema (who generally take the same drugs as asthmatics) will quickly find they can walk further before becoming breathless and those with allergies, bronchitis, coughs and snoring also find their symptoms are first reduced then removed.
Generally all patients are delighted to find an increase in vigour, concentration and the elimination of many symptoms that one would not necessarily attribute to improved breathing.
What about my doctor?
Tell your doctor what you are doing so he/she may monitor your progress. The Buteyko Practitioner will be pleased to discuss, explain or send appropriate literature upon request. Most doctors are pleased to see their patients' reliance on drugs of any kind reduced or diminished. However, they are often sceptical (with good reason), at first, of any new method that claims such unprecedented results.
Children's courses are usually run separately from adults. For people who live a long distance away, and for younger children, weekend courses are sometimes available.
The course fee is payable on the fourth day of the course, so you can try the Buteyko method before you pay. Once you have attended a course you can return and repeat the whole course or part of it, at no further cost. People with chronic asthma, severe asthma, lung damage, etc, may need to do more than one course, but they don't pay extra for this.
What will the course do for me?