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Buteyko Exercises FAQ

Buteyko breathing exercises should not be performed during pregnancy. The best option is for mothers to learn the method and have a high Control Pause prior to becoming pregnant.

Persons having the following conditions, unfortunately,  are not suitable candidates for learning the Buteyko method: Sickle cell anaemia; arterial aneurysm; very high uncontrolled blood pressure; any heart problems in the past three months; uncontrolled hyperthyroidism; a known brain tumour or kidney disease. Buteyko breathing exercises should also not be taken up during pregnancy.

Persons suffering from diabetes: a reversal of hyperventilation will reduce blood sugar levels which may, in turn, lead to a diabetic coma, exercises must be performed only under the direct supervision of a healthcare professional such as an endocrinologist or diabetes nurse. Supervision when performing Buteyko exercises is also required for sufferers of severe asthma, emphysema, epilepsy, and schizophrenia.

The Buteyko breathing method has been shown to be effective in any condition where hyperventilation/over-breathing is a factor. Studies and results from persons suffering from conditions such as anxiety, panic and stress disorders, sleep apnea, snoring and allergies show an efficacy.

Both Patrick and Ciaran Mckeown have deviated septums! Septal deviations are common. About 70 to 80 percent of people have a septal deviation that’s noticeable. Having a deviated septum has not stopped the thousands of people whom we have trained from applying the method.

Panic attacks and anxiety begin with the feeling of fight, freeze or flight symptoms. Think of this as being the body’s fire alarm going off, however, there is no fire. Then what happens is that these symptoms are interpreted as being proof that there is indeed some danger. This in turn causes an even greater fear response and more strongly felt symptoms. This is what is known as the panic cycle. When you learn to breathe optimally and prevent hyperventilation these fight, freeze or flight symptoms get turned down.

The standard test for measuring airway obstruction is the peak flow or spirometry. Spirometry measures your forced expiratory volume or in more simple terms how much air you can blow out in one second. However, as many asthmatics experience the test itself is enough to bring on a cough, wheeze or chest tightness. As the test itself causes airways to obstruct, it is not a reliable indicator. A more reliable indicator of asthma symptoms is the Control Pause.

Your nose is blocked because you were breathing heavy through your mouth and using your upper chest. Find out more about what you can do here.

We advise all our students to stick with the method for at least 2 weeks. For those with asthma: you will have less wheezing and coughing and quieter breathing. Allergy sufferers, you will have less congestion, less fatigue and you will begin to notice how your consumption of tissue has gone down!
If you have anxiety or stress while your triggers may not go away they will be more easily managed. This is because the fight or flight symptoms that are generated by your triggers are lessened. In simpler terms: the levels at which you feel anxiety, irritability or sadness will be much less extreme.

Yes. Regardless of your respiratory condition- the Buteyko method is very effective for stopping wheezing, coughing or breathless. The Buteyko Method is practically 100% successful in dealing with these symptoms. Chronic hyperventilation is the cause of coughing, wheezing and excess mucus. The Buteyko method reverses chronic hyperventilation thereby reversing these symptoms.

Central to the Buteyko Method is a breath hold measurement called the Control Pause. This measurement is a breath hold time until you feel the first hunger for air or first involuntary movements of your breathing muscles. You can apply this test from here. The lower your control pause, the greater your breathing volume.

The objective of the Buteyko Method is to change breathing volume from being too much to the required four to six litres per minute. During normal breathing of four to six litres, the blood is saturated with 95 to 98% oxygen.

Breathing more air than normal does not increase the saturation of oxygen in the blood. Instead it causes the removal of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is not just a waste gas. We need a certain amount of it for normal bodily function. A reduced partial pressure of carbon dioxide causes blood vessels and airways to constrict, changes pH of the blood in an alkaline direction and impairs the release of oxygen from haemoglobin. When you bring your breathing volume to normal, organs and systems receive more oxygen. Chronic hyperventilation reduces oxygenation of organs and systems. You are chronically hyperventilating until your CP is forty seconds.

Your breathing throughout the day should be relaxed. The objective is not to reduce breathing by constricting tummy muscles. The objective is to create a tolerable air shortage by relaxation of the respiratory muscles. It is very helpful to feel relaxation of the chest and tummy throughout the day. Bringing relaxation to the body will reduce breathing volume. Everyone says breathe deeper- these people do not know about respiratory physiology. You have a stomach but you don’t fill it with food at every moment of the day. In the same way our lungs should not be filled with air by deliberately breathing heavy. There needs to be a match between our breathing volume and metabolic requirements.

Apart from infants the Buteyko method can be learnt at any age. It is simple, safe and effective.

Roughly two thirds of those who apply Buteyko will experience a cleansing reaction within the first two weeks. Cleansing reactions are indicative of the powerful physiological change which the body undergoes. For people with asthma, the most common reaction is excess mucus from the nose and airways. For a few days and weeks, the nose may be runny, especially during physical activity with nasal breathing. It is also possible to experience an increased amount of mucus moving up from the lower airways. In addition, there may be other symptoms such as a slight headache, diarrhoea, increased yawning, and cold like symptoms or a general feeling of being unwell. Symptoms are, in general, not disruptive and will pass in two or three days. Like any detoxifying process of the body, there is a short adjustment phase. On a positive note, everyone will experience signs of health improvement including: fewer asthma symptoms; less coughing, wheezing and congestion especially in the mornings; increased calmness and concentration; better sleep and more energy, and reduced appetite and cravings for chocolate and other foodstuffs.

Yes, expected reduction of coughing , wheezing, breathlessness is 50% within two weeks. This is a standard expectation and is regardless of how long one has had symptoms for. Mild to moderate asthmatics can expect to significantly reduce or eliminate their need for reliever and steroid medication following correct application of the Buteyko Method.

Pure Buteyko Learning FAQ

This course is for any suitable candidates wishing to learn the Buteyko breathing method. Whether you want to learn Buteyko as a way of managing your asthma, rhinitis, anxiety, poor sleep or stress. Your session will be tailored to your needs.

Persons having the following conditions, unfortunately,  are not suitable candidates for learning the Buteyko method: Sickle cell anaemia; arterial aneurysm; very high uncontrolled blood pressure; any heart problems in the past three months; uncontrolled hyperthyroidism; a known brain tumour or kidney disease. Buteyko breathing exercises should also not be taken up during pregnancy. The best option is for mothers to learn the method and have a high Control Pause prior to becoming pregnant.

Persons suffering from diabetes: a reversal of hyperventilation will reduce blood sugar levels which may, in turn, lead to a diabetic coma, exercises must be performed only under the direct supervision of a healthcare professional such as an endocrinologist or diabetes nurse. Supervision when performing Buteyko exercises is also required for sufferers of severe asthma, emphysema, epilepsy, and schizophrenia.

You will learn techniques and guidelines that will allow you to retrain your breathing.

All Buteykohead online sessions are taught by Ciaran Mckeown.

The Buteyko breathing method is a series of exercises that retrains your breathing so that your breathing is continually: Effortless, slow and gentle, that it is nasal, driven by your diaphragm with your mouth closed and with a correct tongue posture. And finally that there is a natural pause after each exhalation.

Nasal diaphragmatic breathing influences the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest and digestion state. It is shown to reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. It is also proven to lower heart rates and blood pressure. For anxiety sufferers, the greatest benefit is that it prevents the onset of hyperventilation and fight or flight symptoms.

Each session is ninety minutes long. 

For most students, it takes just one session to learn all of the techniques involved. After your session is completed we will provide you with refresher notes. You may if you wish, book a follow-up session later on.

Each 90-minute online session costs $150 USD. There are no other fees.

 

You can book a session with us at any available time slot. All time slots are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Yes, you may change your session time here, however, please let us know at least 1 day in advance.

A mobile phone, tablet or computer with Skype or Zoom installed. We will ask you for your Skype Name during your booking. Then we will reach out to you using that Skype Name when it is time for your appointment. If you are using Zoom we will Whats App and e-mail you an invitation ten minutes before your session. You will also need a notebook and a pen. When your session is completed we will email you notes from your session.

We will email and Whats App you an invitation to join the online session ten minutes before it begins. We will also send you an SMS reminder and email the day before your session is due to start.

Integrated Buteyko Learning FAQ

This course is for any suitable candidates wishing to learn the Buteyko method and CBT.  The techniques in this course are for growing and maintaining well being. They are also especially suited for anxiety/panic disorder and depression sufferers.

Persons having the following conditions, unfortunately, are not suitable candidates for learning the Buteyko method: Sickle cell anaemia; arterial aneurysm; very high uncontrolled blood pressure; any heart problems in the past three months; uncontrolled hyperthyroidism; a known brain tumour or kidney disease. Buteyko breathing exercises should also not be taken up during pregnancy. The best option is for mothers to learn the method and have a high Control Pause prior to becoming pregnant.

Persons suffering from diabetes: a reversal of hyperventilation will reduce blood sugar levels which may, in turn, lead to a diabetic coma, exercises must be performed only under the direct supervision of a healthcare professional such as an endocrinologist or diabetes nurse. Supervision when performing Buteyko exercises is also required for sufferers of severe asthma, emphysema, epilepsy, and schizophrenia.

You will learn Buteyko breathing, mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy methods that will help you deal with anxiety, depression, poor sleep or other stress disorders. Whether you are bothered by one or all of these our sessions will be unique to your needs.

All Buteykohead online sessions are taught by Ciaran Mckeown.

The Buteyko breathing method is a series of exercises that retrains your breathing so that your breathing is continually: Effortless, slow and gentle, that it is nasal, driven by your diaphragm with your mouth closed and with a correct tongue posture. And finally that there is a natural pause after each exhalation.

Nasal diaphragmatic breathing influences the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest and digestion state. It is shown to reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. It is also proven to lower heart rates and blood pressure. For anxiety sufferers, the greatest benefit is that it prevents the onset of hyperventilation.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is considered to be the gold standard treatment in mental health improvement. It posits that outside of real threats or loss it is repetitive negative thoughts and beliefs that cause anxiety, depression, rage and other extreme emotions. CBT seeks to address this unhelpful thinking by analysing and changing thought patterns.

Quite simply Mindfulness-Based Therapy is a way of recognising in the moment when negative thoughts are creeping up and learning to direct attention away from them. The purpose is not to stop these thoughts from occurring, but to be able to separate from them and treat them as entities that can be observed. This in turn has the effect of quietening the mind.

Each session is ninety minutes long. 

It will take you 3 sessions to learn all of the techniques involved. You may if you wish, book a follow up session later on.

Each 90 minute online session costs $125 USD. You only need to pay for one session when you book with us. There are no other fees. 

You can book a session with us at any available time slot. All time slots are allocated on a first come first served basis.

We are completely flexible as to when you might like to book, however we do suggest that you book your sessions at least 2 days apart. This is so that you have time to practice the exercises at home.

Yes, you may change your session time here, however, please let us know at least 1 day in advance.

A mobile phone, tablet or computer with Skype or Zoom installed. We will ask you for your Skype Name during your booking. Then we will reach out to you using that Skype Name when it is time for your appointment. If you are using Zoom we will Whats App and e-mail you an invitation ten minutes before your session. You will also need a notebook and a pen. When your session is completed we will email you notes from the session.

We will email and Whats App you an invitation to join the online session ten minutes before it begins. We will also send you an SMS reminder and email the day before your session is due to start.

Better Well-Being FAQ

The difference between healthy negative emotions and unhealthy negative emotions lie in how we think, feel and act. Unhealthy emotions feel overwhelming and are accompanied by incessant repetitive negative thoughts that don’t help us to resolve or cope with the situation, instead, we may avoid taking helpful action or engage in harmful behaviour. Healthy negative emotions although unpleasant don’t consume us. Our thoughts and actions are focused primarily on processing and dealing with the situation in a constructive manner.

The fight freeze or flight response is a physical reaction that occurs in response to what we perceive to be a harmful event or threat to our survival. It is thought that this state prepares us for these events by triggering our sympathetic nervous system which takes rapid charge of many of our bodily functions for either running from the danger, going into combat, playing dead or hiding. Stress hormones such as cortisol, norepinephrine and epinephrine are released in large quantities. Physical effects of this state include: hyperventilation, an increase in heart rate, shaking, tunnel vision, flushed (red) face, dry mouth and slowed digestion. If your fight freeze or flight is continually triggered by harmless things that are going on with you, it might mean that you are suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Hyperventilation is simply over-breathing. This over-breathing can be fast – taking in many breaths or it can be deep – taking in large breaths. Acute or short term hyperventilation is caused by anxiety or panic, while chronic or long term hyperventilation is caused by poor breathing habits.

The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for bringing the body to a state of calm allowing it to relax, recover, and repair. When the parasympathetic system is activated, digestive enzymes are released, your heart rate lowers, breath rate decreases, your muscles relax, your pupils constrict. It is the bodies way of preparing for resting.

Although the parasympathetic state occurs automatically we can induce it through Buteyko slow breathing exercises.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a chronic anxiety disorder that is not triggered by anything specifically. Like the name suggests it can be brought on by many different things. Sufferers may be overly concerned with money, health, family, work, or other issues. Frequent, seemingly uncontrollable worry and tension are typically present in people who have GAD.

Panic Disorder is when there are unexpected and repeated episodes (panic attacks) of extreme fear/panic. This feeling can be accompanied by hyperventilation, chest pain, nausea, dizziness and abdominal pain. These episodes are usually triggered by irrational catastrophic thoughts that surround a situation and make the sufferer feel like they are in immediate danger. There is a fire alarm going off but there is no fire and the accompanying symptoms such as hyperventilation can contribute to the severity or prolong the episode.

Social phobia or social anxiety is experienced by having extreme fear and hypersensitivity towards everyday social events. It can be limited to only one type of event – such as a fear of speaking in formal or casual situations, or eating or drinking in front of others. In its most severe form, it may be so overwhelming that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people, which can result in agoraphobia.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition that causes people to have unwanted thoughts, and fears that are called obsessions. Examples of such obsessions include:
• that they or someone else will get sick, hurt, or die,
• that their environment is hazardous to their health
• that they are going to lose control
These obsessions cause sufferers to create rituals/compulsions in order to feel relief from their fears.
Examples of compulsions are:
• becoming hyper-alert to bodily functions
• excessive washing and cleaning
• hoarding
• checking and rechecking

People suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) usually develop it after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Examples of these events could be violent or sexual assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, military action, and serious accidents.

Anxiety that serves a purpose like alerting and preparing us for real dangers should not be considered as something that needs to be stopped. Anxiety that is triggered by everyday harmless events serves no purpose. This anxiety can stop us from leading an enjoyable happy life. We can reduce this disordered anxiety by doing 2 things:
• Reducing the physical symptoms of anxiety through better breathing using the Buteyko method
• Finding and replacing the negative thought and behaviour components of anxiety through cognitive behavioural therapy
Find out more here

Many of the things that we feel anxious about may be outside of our awareness. Here are some of them:
• Your work – anxiety is a feeling we get when there is a threat to our survival, for some people they consider their work as part of their survival and can engage in catastrophic thinking about minor occurrences that happened to them while on the job.
• Ready for change- you are not feeling fulfilled in life, your body is telling you that something needs to change.
• Unprocessed trauma- something from your past that you have not dealt with or have avoided thinking about may be triggering you to feel anxious in an effort to get you to slow down and process what happened.
• A Build Up – many things can happen to us throughout our day that can cause us to feel mildly anxious but not know it. Being late, traffic, public transport, multitasking, rude colleagues, etc.. these micro-threats can build up easily.
• Bad Lifestyle: junk food, lots of caffeine, no exercise, excessive amounts of time spent on social media or scrolling news feeds.
• Hyperventilation – how you breathe can make it very easy to be triggered into feeling anxious.
• If you habitually over breathe, your brain is not getting the oxygen it needs. This is because when you over-breathe an excessive amount of carbon dioxide is lost which is required to offload oxygen to your bodies tissues.
• Values: you may be doing something that is not compatible with your values. Is there anything that you are doing that you don’t feel comfortable with? It could be something that is harmful to other people or something that you perceive to be unethical.

 

 

Sadness is a healthy response to a disappointment, rejection, a loss, or other difficult situation that we find ourselves experiencing in life. Being sad like this from time to time and getting over it is a part of existence. However, if you find yourself becoming down when there is no supposed reason and staying that way for a lengthy period of time then you may be suffering from depression. Depression can make you feel worthless, hopeless, or guilty along with feeling irritable or angry. You may not feel pleasure in any of the things that you used to find pleasurable. Depression robs you of your natural happiness. Along with feeling this way your thoughts about yourself, others and the world will be consistently negative. You may also experience physical symptoms like poor appetite, aches and pains. You may feel continuously exhausted because depression makes our sleep cycle erratic.

Depression much like anxiety can be treated by dealing with the thinking patterns and behaviours that trigger these spells. Better sleep, more helpful self-beliefs and planned behavioural changes work to stop and prevent depression.
Find out more here

Many people experience bouts of anxiety and depression together.
The symptoms of anxiety and depression can be similar in that they both cause us to become irritable, sleep poorly, have decreased concentration, poor appetites and feel hopeless.
Often the triggering or bringing on of anxiety and depression can be the same – rumination and poor self-regard come before both. Lastly, we avoid doing things that are beneficial to us and can engage in things that are harmful when we are depressed or anxious.

For many people, depression and anxiety are brought on slowly by incessant repetitive negative thinking about themselves and others. It is at this stage that sleep will become poor and that people will lose interest in doing things that they previously enjoyed. They may also feel irritable and act out in extreme ways against people close to them. This erratic behaviour and avoidance of positive action then actually increases the feelings of anxiety or depression. Without doing anything about their mental health over time the self-esteem and coping skills of a person going through anxiety and depression will become lowered.

Many people confuse confidence with self-esteem however self-esteem is much more important than that. Self-esteem is having a sense of self-worth, it is considering yourself to be just as good as other people. When you have self-esteem the triggering thoughts that can cause anxiety and depression don’t stick. Improving mental health is about growing self-esteem, maintaining your mental health is about keeping the self-esteem that you have.

In many instances procrastination can precede depression and anxiety. If you learn to recognise when you are procrastinating and work through the reasons why very often you will find underlying anxiety about how the completed task will be perceived by others. Left unchecked you will avoid doing the task or you will leave it to the last minute and produce poor quality work. Both of these situations are forms of avoidance which cause the rumination that leads to further anxiety depression and irritability.

Safety behaviours are things we do to feel relief from anxiety. Think of them as providing short term comfort but in the long run, they contribute to a loss of control over our feelings. They may prevent us from ever addressing our fears and living a full life. Some examples of safety behaviours are:
1.Avoiding any task that is harmless but might make us feel anxious.
2.Scrolling on your phone when you wish to avoid social situations
3.Excessively trying to please people as a way of avoiding judgement or rejection
4.Consuming alcohol as a way of numbing your anxiety

For most people, negative emotions both healthy and unhealthy cannot be changed by trying to become positive. This is especially true of intensely felt anxiety. To change or lessen our felt negative emotions it is better to investigate our triggers and the self-talk behind them. Looking at our physiology and actions when we feel on edge or down is also beneficial to us in the long term.