1. Philosophy behind changing one's breathing.

2. Brief history of the basic components of the BBBT

3. Who will bear the BBBT into the future?

4.The role of the Buteyko Based Breathing Educator within or without current Medical Science.

5. Scope of the BBBT Therapy




1. Philosophy behind changing one's breathing.


'Breathing is meant to be sub-conscious, except if one is unwell'*. The lungs are the only vital organ which have both manual and automatic controls, voluntary and involuntary. This is why Konstantin Buteyko called his method the Deliberate Voluntary Breathing Method DVBM. Any intermittent conscious interventions to the breathing pattern should be seen in this light. 

This however only applies to adults. For children that are ill the therapy is mostly taught via games involving limb movement with the parents learning at the same time the concepts around which the games are designed.

*Rudolph Steiner

2. Brief history of the basic components of the BBBT

The Buteyko Based Breathing Therapy started in 2004 and is a combination of a number of fields of research over the last 100 years which complement each other sufficiently to make it possible to now offer a good understanding of how incorrect breathing can be a cause, and therefore corrected breathing a remedy, of many illnesses. 

The BBBT works with:

- preferred breathing volumes (nearly always reduced) in order to optimize the processing of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitric oxide,

- the preferred locations in the head, thorax and abdomen for strengthening, or alternatively constraining, the breathing process,

- the best rhythms of breath and pulse for each individual,    

- regularly performing prescribed breathing  exercises in order to ensure any return to health, and

-  assisting, as required, a gradual return to sub-conscious breathing once an ideal breathing pattern has been achieved. 

Interestingly there can be found a single common thread throughout all these fields of research, and that is the need for enhanced concentrations of retained, own-produced carbon dioxide which has become depleted as a result of over-breathing. This was at the centre of Dr Buteyko’s life's work. Discovered in 2000, nasal-sinus produced nitric oxide is also an important part of the BBBT therapy, however, again, with its proper use depending on adequate levels of carbon dioxide.

An outline of the main fields of research which combine to form the BBBT is here presented chronologically:

•  Prof. B F Verigo (Russia 1860 - 1925). At the end of the 19th century Prof Verigo discovered that  ‘As a result of a fall of carbon dioxide in the blood, the bond between oxygen and haemoglobin becomes stronger.’

•  •Christian Bohr (Denmark 1855 - 1911) first stated in 1904 that ’Haemoglobin's oxygen binding affinity is inversely related both to acidity and to the concentration of carbon dioxide’.

Regarding the above two items, in his book Dr Buteyko states “This particular law, not very well known so far, underlies our discovery. As the Verigo law was left under wraps, the same discovery was made by a Swedish Scientist and named the Bohr Effect. Being unfamiliar with this law would have resulted in great difficulties in understanding and accepting the theory offered by us”

• • Dr Konstantin Buteyko (Ukraine  1923 - 2003). Dr Buteyko's Breathing Method is predominantly concerned with the illnesses associated with carbon dioxide depletion in the body as a result of unrecognized chronic over-breathing together with the body’s defence mechanisms (so-called illnesses) against such depletion. Of immense value also is his breath-holding time technique for use as a guide to alveolar carbon dioxide concentrations.

 Dr Rudolf Steiner (Austria/Germany 1861 - 1925) 'Our life would be much shorter if we absorbed more oxygen. The more the carbonic acid (water + carbon dioxide) formation process of the blood counters the absorption of oxygen in the breathing process, the longer our life will be'.

'Everywhere, in the animal and plant kingdoms, and also in the interior of the earth, the bridge between oxygen and carbon is provided by nitrogen'.

 Valborg Werbeck-Svärdström (Sweden 1879 - 1972). ‘Uncovering the voice’ First published in German in 1938. Chapter 8. ‘The art of breathing’. “The unified, healthy and proper movement of the breathing process begins in the region of the solar plexus, which has a very close functional connection with the musculature of the diaphragm. Hence it is only these muscles which concern us, as well as the abdominal muscles, which as bearers of movement are intimately connected with the diaphragmatic muscles.”

 •  Prof.G.Hildebrandt (1922 – 2005). Regarding respiratory rhythms, Prof Hildebrandt reported in 1967 that the peak incidences in a relatively large group of people was a breath rate of ~18pm and a pulse rate of ~72pm.                                                  These  two numbers give a quotient of 4:1 which, since it was observed in most people between 12 and 3 in the morning, can be used as a guide during breath re-patterning.

Regardless of what an individuals subconscious breath rate may be at any time, during breath re-training the Buteyko Based Breathing Therapy recommends breath rates for adults at rest of ~14-18 per minute be tried. This is slightly faster than the textbook norm of 12 breaths per minute. These faster rates make the best use of anatomical dead space in further limiting alveolar ventilation.  


•  The Karolinska Institute (Sweden) in 2000 discovered that ‘ a lot of nitric oxide is normally formed in the sinuses (respiratory) of humans’ and later (in 2009) published that ‘Previous work has already described the biological significance of nasal breathing, which improved peripheral oxygenation by 5 –- 15% in healthy volunteers compared with oral breathing.’


• • Case Western University School of Medicine Cleveland 2015. Prof J Stamler MD. A new view of the respiratory cycle. . <medicalxpress.com Basis established for nitric oxide…> ‘The bottom line is that we have discovered the molecular basis of blood flow control in the respiratory cycle loop,’ Stamler said. ‘It's in the haemoglobin protein itself, which has the ability to deliver the nitric oxide together with oxygen. The simplified textbook view of two gases carried by haemoglobin is missing an essential element - nitric oxide - because blood flow to tissues is actually more important in most circumstances than how much oxygen is carried by haemoglobin. So the respiratory cycle is actually a three-gas system'.

3. Who will bear the BBBT into the future?

The concept of ‘Wounded Healers'                                                          


Being a Buteyko Based Breathing Educator is an adjunct to one’s normal life’s work with healing. If you are not a health professional you can still be certificated as an Associate Educator. The main prerequisite for BBBT training is that any suffering or pain the trainee has experienced, or intimately witnessed in another has been alleviated by the Buteyko Based Breathing Therapy.

With respect to Dr Buteyko it can be noted: It is widely reported that the young Dr Buteyko had quite serious high blood pressure and, at the age of 29yrs, after recognizing his own habit of hyperventilation and reversing it in accordance with the breathing method he was developing at the time, was able to achieve normal levels, living an active life until age 80.                                                                               In Dr Buteyko’s book an article by Dr.S.S.Souliagen states ‘We consider it a serious mistake when a Doctor or Therapist starts to treat patients by the Buteyko Breathing Method if they have not first treated themselves.’                 

From Rudolf Steiner Schmidt Number: S-2060  Lecture 6:

‘If a Being is to awaken certain feelings in mankind the conditions of his earthly incarnation must be such that his body too is able to endure whatever is the object of his mission... A Being whose mission it is to proclaim the possibility of the healing of pain and release from suffering must himself taste the very depths of suffering in order to find the right words applicable to it in the human sense.’



4.The role of the Buteyko Based Breathing Educator within or without current Medical Science.


After attending a presentation of the Buteyko Based Breathing Therapy in 2017, a leading Respiratory Physician in Europe commented that ‘Everything you said today is the opposite of what we have been taught’. This is the reason why it is necessary at this time to have the 'within' Medical Science - as a health professional, or 'without' - as an Associate with the same training, in the heading. This ‘opposite’ may be understood when one takes the central aim of gold standard asthma medications, which is to make breathing easier by ‘maximal reversal of airway inflammation and obstruction’ using ‘reliever’ and ‘preventer’ medications, and compares it with the comments below from the two  central pillars of the BBBT philosophy, Dr’s Buteyko and Steiner:                                                  Dr Buteyko said that ‘The more you breathe the sooner you die, the less you breathe the longer you live’                                            ‘Rudolf Steiner made a very special remark in his lecture to Doctors when speaking about the sphere of life in connection with the lung. He said the overpowering forces must be continually hemmed in, and what is hemmed in is the power of mercury*’. Karl Koenig’s lecture 11 from ‘Earth and Man’ called ‘The Lung’ Oct 31st 1938, discussion section para 9.’

(*Mercurial can best be understood here by the synonym ‘expansive’ which means ‘able or tending to expand’, particularly with reference to the capacity of the lungs where the normal resting tidal volume (~500ml) is only a small fraction of total lung capacity (~6,000ml).


5. Scope of the Buteyko Based Breathing Therapy


Since the therapy is all about the best possible oxygenation of tissues - albeit thanks to adequate carbon dioxide and the Bohr Effect, but also in the light of the following three points, the BBBT may be considered for any illness:

Firstly, Prof Buteyko 'Conceived and utilized the theory that hyperventilation  is the cause of some 150 medical conditions' *

Secondly, Dr Steiner said 'For this is a great secret: all the healing forces reside originally in the human breathing system' (GA 229)

Thirdly, by referencing the Lancet article 'A plea to abandon asthma as a disease concept' Editorial August 26th 2006 where the suggestion is made that asthma and fever can be compared **


* Dr P J Ameison's book 'Every breath you take'.

** The BBBT information sheet 'Asthma - Fever - full article'


Ed. See also the BBBT information sheets 'Fever' and 'Homeostasis'