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
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
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
were trained to teach the Buteyko Method. This ensured the proliferation of
Buteyko around Australia. Buteyko was introduced to New Zealand from Australia
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.