The Buteyko Breathing Technique (BBT) is promoted as a drug-free asthma therapy. It is based on the premise that asthma is a disease of hypocapnia, resulting from hyperventilation. The BBT involves shallow breathing exercises, which raise the p.COî. We are aware of only one previous randomised controlled trial examining the effects of the BBT on asthma. The limited amount of scientific research into the Technique prompted us to further investigate whether the BBT may have a role in asthma therapy. Methods: A single-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial of the BBT over four weeks was conducted, amongst 36 adults with asthma recruited from the community. The subjects were asked to watch either a BBT or Placebo video twice daily. Asthma-related Quality of Life (QOL), Peak expiratory flow, drug intake and asthma symptoms were assessed before and after intervention. Results: Mean (SEM) total QOL improvement of 1.29 (0.61) out of 10 (p=0.043) as well as statistically significant improvements in the Breathlessness and Mood Disturbance subscales were demonstrated amongst those assigned to the BBT compared with Placebo. Overall inhaled reliever intake decreased by a mean of 2.02 inhalations per day amongst the BBT subjects, when compared with placebo (p=0.003). Improvements were also noted among the BBT subjects in daytime and night-time symptoms and peak expiratory flow rates, as well a decrease in inhaled steroid intake, but the differences were not found to be statistically significant compared to the control group. Conclusion: The BBT appears to improve asthma related quality of life, and reduce intake of inhaled reliever medication for asthma. Further research into the BBT is required to further define its role in asthma management.
- Buteyko breathing technique
- Randomised controlled trial