History of Buteyko Outside Russia

In the late 1940's, Russian medical student Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko made an observation that has changed the treatment and lifestyle of thousands of Asthmatics. Buteyko noticed that the condition of patients in the acute respiratory ward deteriorated when their breathing rate increased. He noticed that as they approached death their breatning deepened markedly. He also noticed that those who reduced or normalized their breathing rate began to recover. This fact had been noted long before, but Buteyko's subsequent research and application of these observations allowed him to developed the breathing techniques that bear his name.

For more than thirty years Dr Buteyko researched hyperventilation and the effect it has on the human body. Buteyko linked hyperventilation to several conditions, including asthma, and set about developing techniques to normalize breathing patterns, reversing symptoms and lessening the need for medication.

Buteyko's research describes why people hyperventilate, why it continues to self-perpetuate, and finally, how to reverse the cycle. Initially treated with a great deal of skepticism by Soviet authorities, Buteyko was unable to get his method accepted as a viable alternative to allopathic treatment of asthma.

Buteyko's persistent research over a number of decades, and the possibility of a great reduction in medication costs for a strained Soviet health budget enabled him to have the method accepted as a mainstream treatment for Asthma. It is reputed that the technique has been successfully taught to over one million citizens of the states that made up the Soviet Union (as of the early 1990's).

An Australian businessman who was hospitalized during a business trip to Russia introduced Buteyko Breathing Techniques to Australia. While in the hospital, he was taught the Buteyko Method, which dramatically improved his condition. Convinced there was a market for Buteyko in Australia, he arranged for the immigration of a Russian Buteyko expert, Alexander Stalmatski, in the early 90's.

Stalmatski taught a large number of Buteyko courses around Australia. A number of people who had attended his courses, and had gained a great deal of benefit from the Buteyko Method, were trained to teach the Buteyko Method. This ensured the proliferation of Buteyko around Australia. Buteyko was introduced to New Zealand from Australia in early 1994 by Russell and Jennifer Stark. who own and manage Buteyko New Zealand. Since giving the first course in Napier, New Zealand, the Starks have taught more than 4000 people the Buteyko Method (as of 1999).

From this extensive experience the Starks developed a user-friendly method of learning the Buteyko method without the need for lengthy practice sessions, restricted diets or added mineral supplements. The Buteyko New Zealand education program has spread across the world, and a partnership was formed with Susan Neves to promote this method in the US in 1998. Buteyko Asthma Education provides drug-free management to help asthmatics understand and control their condition.