The Buteyko Breathing Technique: Breathing Deeper is Not Always Better

The Buteyko Breathing Technique: Breathing Deeper is Not Always Better


| By Scharon
In a world where deep breathing is often touted as a healthy habit, the Buteyko method introduces a counterintuitive approach. According to this Russian breathing technique, developed by physician Konstantin Buteyko, the key to wellness lies not in breathing deeper, but rather in reducing breathing. Find out what Buteyko breathing is, how it works and who it is suitable for.

How does Buteyko Breathing work?

Buteyko breathing focuses on reducing excessive breathing and retraining the body to breathe more efficiently and calmly. Contrary to the common belief that we need more oxygen, Buteyko believes that our bodies actually need less oxygen. Breathing less changes carbon dioxide tolerance, which restores acid-base balance and stimulates red blood cell production.

Jerome Wehrens, certified breathing coach and founder of B-Mind, compares Buteyko breathing to altitude training that athletes use to improve their performance. Although it may initially feel uncomfortable to breathe more shallowly, the body learns to adapt and be comfortable with less air.

The Buteyko Breathing in Practice

The basis of the Buteyko technique is simple: breathe less. This means consciously trying to slow down and make the breath less deep. Unlike other breathing techniques, Buteyko often uses creative instructions, such as "Breathe like a mouse" or "Hold a feather under your nose without moving it while breathing." While this may sound unusual, it helps visualize less deep breathing.

To be effective, it is recommended to actively use the Buteyko technique three times a day for about 20 minutes per session. Although it requires dedication initially, the results can be worth the effort. Guidance in the beginning may be helpful, but once you master the technique, you will experience the benefits.

Disclaimer: The Buteyko Method may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with hyperventilation, panic attacks or severe breathing problems. Consult a doctor or Buteyko therapist if you have any doubts.

Why Buteyko?

According to Wehrens, the Buteyko method offers more than just a breathing technique; it is a holistic approach to health and vitality. The method reduces cortisol levels, which can improve stress-related symptoms. People who regularly practice Buteyko breathing can experience a wide range of health benefits.

Buteyko breathing can potentially provide relief for a variety of complaints, including:

  • Respiratory problems such as asthma or chronic bronchitis
  • Allergies
  • Burn-out
  • Stress and related complaints such as headaches, tension, anxiety or abdominal complaints

Wehrens stresses, however, that variety is essential. Just as you wouldn't eat broccoli every day, it's important to try different breathing techniques and discover what works for you. The Buteyko method offers a unique approach that may be appropriate for those striving for healthier breathing and overall well-being.

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