Buteykohead was set up by Ciaran McKeown and Patrick McKeown to provide one to one online learning of the Buteyko method and also to teach the method together with cognitive and mindfulness-based techniques through an Integrated Buteyko course.
Over the past eighteen years, they have provided instruction to thousands of children and adults. They also work directly with health care professionals in the implementation of the method. Find out more about this here (external link)
What We Teach
The Buteyko Breathing Method (For a more detailed description please read our About Buteyko page.)
The Buteyko breathing method is a breath re-education method. Through a series of exercises and guidelines there will be three major changes to your breathing:
Your breathing will be nasal: Nasal breathing influences the parasympathetic nervous system which controls rest and digestion (1) you feel calmer consistently. Mouth breathing, on the other hand, impacts the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the fight or flight response (2), this way of breathing contributes to us being agitated. Everything seems like a chore.
Your breathing will be diaphragmatic or from your belly, this means that the most efficient muscle that you have for pushing and pulling air into your lungs will be used as opposed to using your chest-thoracic breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing helps you relax, lowering the harmful effects of the stress hormone cortisol on your body (3). It also lowers your heart rate and helps to lower your blood pressure (4).
You will be able to prevent and control hyperventilation: The main aim of learning Buteyko breathing is to be able to reduce the urge to over-breathe and in doing so reset your breathing centre/respiratory centre so that you breathe less. This results in your body becoming better oxygenated and you will be able to prevent hyperventilation during rest and in times of stress. Hyperventilation amongst other symptoms occurs in response to Fight Freeze or Flight driven-emotional states, such as heightened stress, depression, anxiety, or irritability (5). When hyperventilation is a frequent occurrence, it’s known as Hyperventilation Syndrome. It is indicated by a faster than normal breathing pattern that can cause light-headedness and poor concentration. It has also been shown to prolong, and increase felt levels of anxiety and perceived autonomic arousal (6).
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) For a more detailed description read our About CBT page
CBT is thought re-education: Sometimes, even if we are relatively calm a very familiar thought pattern creeps up on us and repeats again and again. It might be a put-down, a fear, or an embarrassment. You may not realise it but this kind of rumination hugely influences us in how we feel and act during our day to day experiences.
The type of thoughts that CBT helps with are usually what we refer to as racing: One thought leads to another and another. This self-talk can come anytime; some people experience it more at night, others throughout their day. Without us having the tools to deal with these thoughts they may not go away so easily. This kind of noise day after day can leave us feeling exhausted.
If this resonates with you, then you should know that using CBT is currently more effective than any other means for managing and maintaining well being (7,8,9). This is why it is known as the gold standard of self-help talk therapy.
In 2002, Patrick completed his clinical training in the Buteyko Breathing Method at the Buteyko Clinic, Moscow, Russia. This training was accredited by Professor Konstantin Buteyko. Having suffered from asthma, rhinitis and sleep-disordered breathing for over 20 years, Patrick is able to offer both theoretical knowledge and his own experiences to help his students to overcome similar challenges. To date, Patrick has written eight books and produced four DVD sets on the Buteyko Method, including three Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk bestsellers: Close Your Mouth, Asthma-Free Naturally, and Anxiety Free: Stop Worrying and Quieten your Mind. The Buteyko self-help manual Close Your Mouth has been translated into ten different languages including French, German, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian and Russian. His latest book is titled “The Oxygen Advantage” and improves sports performance by addressing dysfunctional breathing patterns and simulating high altitude training: www.oxygenadvantage.com.
Patrick is Director of Education and Training at the Buteyko Clinic: www.buteykoclinic.com. His professional memberships include Fellow of The Royal Society of Biology, Full Member of the Physiological Society and Academy of Applied Myofunctional Sciences. Patrick holds regular workshops and talks on dysfunctional breathing in countries worldwide including the USA, Canada, Australia, Israel, Denmark, France, Holland, the UK, and his native Ireland. He has trained Buteyko practitioners from 32 countries and regularly provides Buteyko breathing courses in Dublin, Galway, London, Sydney and the USA.
In 2013, Patrick collaborated in a clinical trial investigating the Buteyko Method as a treatment for rhinosinusitis in asthma patients with the University of Limerick, Ireland. Results from a three-month follow-up with participants showed a 72% reduction of nasal symptoms including snoring, inability to get a satisfying breath, nasal congestion and more. An abstract of the trial was published in the April 2013 issue of the Journal Clinical Otolaryngology.
Ciaran McKeown learnt and practised the Buteyko breathing method at an early age as a way of controlling his asthma and anxiety. Ciaran’s initial interest in the method came from observing his brother’s (Patrick McKeown) progress in alleviating his symptoms. He recalls that at the start the exercises were tough but easily achievable. Impressed at the results, he worked with his brother to incorporate the Buteyko method in his practice for over 15 years.
A registered counsellor and psychotherapist, he considers a holistic approach as being essential to improving our health and reducing stress. This view, along with his personal experiences make him able to relate to his students’ particular needs and work in collaboration in finding solutions that fit them.
He believes that the Buteyko breathing method works so well because it provides the necessary physiological or somatic calming that may not come habitually to us but that we all need.
(1) Scientific American: Proper Breathing Brings Better Health
(2) Cureus: The Influence of Breathing on the Central Nervous System
(3) Frontiers in psychology: The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults
(4) Frontiers in Public Health:The Impact of Resonance Frequency Breathing on Measures of Heart Rate Variability, Blood Pressure, and Mood
(5) Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences: Hyperventilation and exhaustion syndrome
(7) Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience: Cognitive behavioral therapy in anxiety disorders: current state of the evidence
(8) The Efficacy of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: A Review of Meta-analyses
(9)Brain volume changes after cognitive behavioral therapy.