What Is the Buteyko Breathing Technique?

In the 1950s, a Ukrainian doctor named Konstantin Buteyko developed the Buteyko breathing technique (BBT). Breathing retention exercises are used in this therapeutic breathing method to control the speed and volume of your breath. This teaches you how to breathe more slowly, calmly, and efficiently.

The advantages of Buteyko breathing include improved breath control, which aids in the prevention of shortness of breath and promotes proper breathing patterns. It is used to treat and manage a wide range of conditions, including asthma, anxiety, and sleep problems.

Benefits of Buteyko Breathing Technique

Buteyko Breathing

Buteyko breathing has a number of advantages, including the ability to improve breath awareness, encourage nostril breathing, and limit over-breathing.

While there is no evidence that Buteyko breathing improves lung function or changes bronchial responsiveness (the way the body responds to asthma triggers), some studies show that it may relieve symptoms of an attack and reduce—rather than replace—the requirement for a bronchodilator.

People who practise the technique frequently report a higher sense of well-being and a higher overall quality of life. This is due, in part, to the beneficial relationship between self-healing and self-control. 

By using the technique, you will learn to breathe properly and efficiently, which will help you avoid problems like wheezing, coughing, and feeling out of breath. It can also help to relieve coughing and clear blocked nasal passages.

Controls breathing

Buteyko Breathing

Buteyko breathing is ideal for people who over breathe or hyperventilate, which is common in people with asthma and anxiety.

It is also beneficial for people who struggle to breathe while participating in strenuous activities. Furthermore, Buteyko breathing can help relieve stress, improve athletic performance, and improve sleep quality by promoting deep sleep, reducing snoring, and relieving sleep apnea.

Aids in the treatment of asthma and anxiety

Asthma Specialist In Mumbai | Pulmonologist | Dr Parthiv Shah

Buteyko inhaling is frequently used to treat and manage asthma because it aids in the prevention of over-breathing, which is linked to the condition. Hyperventilation can cause hypocapnia, resulting in low carbon dioxide levels.

By lowering your tidal volume and respiratory rate, you can learn to stabilise your breathing patterns by practising BBT. It also aids in the regulation of carbon dioxide levels and the reduction of anxiety.

Several older studies show that Buteyko breathing can help with asthma symptoms. People who watched a video of Buteyko breathing exercises improved their quality of life and reduced their need for bronchodilators more than those who watched a placebo video, according to a small 2000 study.

According to a 2008 study, people who practised Buteyko breathing were able to better control their asthma symptoms. They also needed less inhaled corticosteroid therapy.

Eustachian tube issues are alleviated

A small study conducted in 2019, the Buteyko breathing technique was found to be effective in treating people with obstructive Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD), which causes symptoms due to pressure concerns in the middle ear.

The group that did the breathing exercises while also using nasal steroids improved more than the group that just used nasal steroids.

How to do it?

Buteyko | SoulAdvisor

Buteyko breathing teaches you to breathe more slowly and gently. You’ll learn to breathe more slowly and deeply, which will help to balance your breathing rhythms.

It consists of exercises that teach you to hold your breath and not breathe. The breathing technique is said to become a natural part of your daily life over time.

How can I start?

Seek out an instructor who has been trained to teach Buteyko breathing for the best results.

  • The Buteyko Breathing Association recommends at least 5 hours of in-person training.
  • They also advise you to practise for 15 to 20 minutes three times a day for at least six weeks.

Preparation for Buteyko Breathing

  1. Take a seat on the floor or in a chair.
  2. Maintain an upright posture by elongating your spine.
  3. Relax your breathing muscles.
  4. For a few minutes, breathe normally.

The Control Interval

  1. Hold your breath after a relaxed exhale.
  2. Plug your nose with your index and thumb.
  3. Hold your breath until you feel the urge to breathe again, which may include an involuntary movement of your diaphragm, and then inhale.
  4. For at least 10 seconds, breathe normally.
  5. Rep several times more.

The Longest Possible Pause

  1. Hold your breath after a relaxed exhale.
  2. Plug your nose with your index and thumb.
  3. Keep your breath as long as you can, which is usually twice the length of the Control Pause.
  4. Inhale once you’ve reached a point of moderate discomfort.
  5. For at least 10 seconds, breathe normally.
  6. Rep several times more.

Beginner’s Guide

  • Always breathe in and out through your nose when practising Buteyko breathing.
  • If you experience anxiety, shortness of breath, or severe discomfort, stop the practice and breathe normally.
  • You may be able to hold your breath for longer periods of time as you progress. You may be able to hold the Control Pause for 1 minute and the Maximum Pause for 2 minutes with practice.


While Buteyko breathing has many advantages, it is not for everyone, and it is not a replacement for your doctor’s treatment plan. Before beginning breathing exercises, always consult with your healthcare provider.

If you have any of the following conditions, you should avoid BBT:

  • hypertension
  • coronary heart disease
  • epilepsy
  • a serious medical issue


Buteyko breathing is a complementary therapy that should be used alongside your other treatments. You can also look into clinical treatments if you have asthma or anxiety.

If the Buteyko breathing method is not for you, you may want to try other breathing exercises. These techniques can still help your breathing patterns and overall health.

Other breathing techniques are as follows:

  • 4-7-8 box breathing technique diaphragmatic breathing
  • the Papworth procedure
  • breathing through the nose
  • tummy breathing
  • breathing with pursed lips
  • resonant respiration
  • breathing through both nostrils alternately (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama)
  • bee breathe that hums (Bhramari Pranayama)
  • three-part respiration
  • a fire’s breath (Kapalbhati breathing)
  • the breath of a lion

Wrapping It Up

Buteyko breathing can benefit your health and well-being in a variety of ways. It is especially helpful in alleviating asthma symptoms, reducing anxiety, and improving sleep quality.

In stressful or strenuous situations, you can learn to limit over-breathing, allowing you to breathe more easily and effectively. Furthermore, you may find it easier to unwind.

Before beginning any new breathing practice, consult with your doctor, especially if you are taking any medications or have any medical concerns.

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