The Buteyko Breathing Technique is a privately conducted program of breathing which is run by individuals trained in the Buteyko Breathing method.
Asthma Australia recognises the article published in the Medical Journal of Australia (7/21 December 1998, Vol 169, No 11/12) concerning the Buteyko Breathing Technique. The article suggests that the Buteyko Breathing Technique can improve symptoms and allow people with Asthma to reduce medication use, particularly reliever medication.
There is no evidence that the Buteyko Breathing Technique improves control of asthma. The study did not show an improvement in lung function or reduction in asthma attacks. Whilst this small study has produced some encouraging results, it does not give us the confidence to unreservedly suggest it as a method for managing asthma. That could only come after much more comprehensive independent research into the breathing method. However, we can at this stage say that it may assist some people to reduce their levels of asthma medication, and thus provide a better quality of life.
Asthma Australia recognises that it is the right of the individual to pursue different asthma management techniques, whether these be conventional medicine, alternative or complementary therapies. We also recognise that any therapy or combination of therapies may produce differing results between individuals.
We encourage people considering Buteyko Breathing Technique to inform their medical practitioner before they start the program, so that their progress can be monitored and evaluated. Asthma Australia strongly recommends that under no circumstance should people change the dosage of their asthma medication, without consulting their medical practitioner. Stopping asthma medication can lead to severe attacks of asthma.
Asthma Australia remains committed to encouraging high quality research into the causes, prevention and treatment of Asthma. We believe it is in the best interest of people with asthma for further studies to be conducted to investigate the Buteyko Breathing Technique involving a much greater number of participants and conducted over a longer period of time, to answer questions raised by the initial study. Such a study is beyond the resources of Asthma Australia.