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
5. Scope of the BBBT Therapy
6. Details of John Wilson - Author of the BBBT
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.
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 usually an adjunct to one’s normal life’s work with healing*. If you are not a whole-health or well-being professional, you can still be certificated** as an Associate Educator. The main prerequisite for BBBT training is normally that any suffering the trainee has experienced themselves, or intimately witnessed in another, has been alleviated by the Buteyko Based Breathing Therapy. (*The word ‘healing’ must be understood here as Rudolf Steiner used the German word ‘heilen’ meaning ‘to heal (alternatively to cure)’ as used in the excerpt ‘Healing and the Breath’ in the Steiner folder of the online library. **‘Certificate of Completion The qualification given to Buteyko Based Breathing Educators and Associate Educators is based on the understanding that it is in reality largely achieved by the trainees themselves, supported by the trainer as in the following section b), and then finding their own way onwards).
The site and duration and of training will be arranged on an individual and online basis. It has evolved this way because trainees are increasingly dispersed geographically, and, more importantly, because of the ever-broadening scope of the BBBT based on Rudolf Steiner’s comment that 'All the healing forces originate in the human breathing system'. It has been proven that the only way such a large, and continuously updated amount of content can be suitably disseminated, is with the trainer: a) providing a readily accessible library (e.g. Google my-drive) of the total amount of information available and b) enabling the trainee to gradually learn how to navigate the library in order to gather all the information required on any specific matter at hand (e.g. Diagnosis of dysfunctional breathing). The pathway around the site to achieve this is available under set headings or provided on an ad hoc basis.
Wounded Healers. 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 the age of eighty. 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.’
From the doc ‘COPD-Patient results’ in the Illnesses folder of the Google my-drive site for trainees one can see that the medical history of the Author of the BBBT (J Wilson) is consistent with the above.
4.The role of the Buteyko Based Breathing Educator.
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 whole-health professional, or 'without' - as an Associate with the same training. 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'
6. Details of John G Wilson D.O.B. 01/08/1941 Teacher of the Buteyko-Based Breathing Therapy (BBBT)
1956 Diagnosed with asthma
1993 Attended a Buteyko Breathing Course with A Stalmanski in Melbourne.
1997 Together with Jocelyn Wilson became a Buteyko Breathing Practitioner
1999 Diagnosed with moderate OAD/Asthma.
2000 Buteyko Practitioner for the Monash University/Alfred Hospital Randomised Controlled Trial of the Buteyko Breathing Method for Asthma.
2003 Integrated the work of Dr Buteyko with the findings of the Karolinska Institute Sweden on nasal-sinus nitric oxide to form the BBBT .
2003 < Courses held regularly in Schools, Clinics and Church halls throughout Australia / New Zealand.
2005/6 Held Courses for Doctors and Therapists in Dornach/Basle Switzerland at the Anthroposophic Medical Conferences.
2008 Integrated the breath and pulse rhythms from Chronobiology into BBBT.
2010 Introductory presentations given to Doctors at the Filderklinik Hospital near Stuttgart Germany with the view to running a trial for childhood asthma in Southern Germany in 2014.
2010/12 Together with Jocelyn Wilson (Buteyko Practitioner) taught 3 BBBT pre-pilot studies for children with asthma in Australian Schools.
2011 Presentation of BBBT to the BBEA Conference in Toronto Canada.
2014 Introduced BBBT to the Medizinisches Seminar in Bad Boll Germany.
2014 With Jocelyn Wilson, taught the BBBT childhood asthma trial with 32 children (app. by Tübingen University Ethics Committee) at the Filderklinik Hospital in Stuttgart for ARCIM – Academic Research in Complementary and Integrative Medicine. Published in 2020 – see - https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2020.102582
2016 June 9-11th. Poster presentation of the results from the childhood asthma trial above at the International Congress for Integrative Health and Medicine in Stuttgart Germany.
2017 With Jocelyn, taught the BBBT Adult asthma Randomised Control Trial for ARCIM with 58 patients from the Stuttgart area. http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT03098849
Member ANZRS Aust-NZ Society for Respiratory Science.