Breathing Exercises: Buteyko vs. NormalBreathing Course


A. Historical observations related to durations of breathing sessions

First, in the 1960s and 1970s, after inventions of breathing exercises for VEDB method (now known as the Buteyko method), Dr. KP Buteyko used short sessions of about 10-12 minutes long done every one hour in a hospital setting for severely sick patients usually with asthma and heart disease.

Later, in the 1980s, breathing sessions were taught outside the hospital setting to visiting patients. The duration of Buteyko breathing exercise sessions were increased up to 30-40 minutes.

But more recently, during the first decade of the 21 century, breathing sessions again became shorter: 15-20 minutes (as in the Moscow Buteyko Clinic).

Evolvement of teaching breathing exercises for the NormalBreathing course

Students start with respiratory devices (such as the Frolov breathing device or the Amazing DIY device) and later, they progress to learning the Buteyko breathing exercises.

The original idea to combine the Buteyko method with breathing devices (the Frolov device, in particular) was suggested by Leo Volkov, a Buteyko teacher from New Zealand who was a translator for the 1st BIBH Conference in New Zealand in 2000 (with participation of Dr. Buteyko and Ludmila Buteyko).Leo Volkov sent to me (Artour Rakhimov) an email with his positive experience with the Frolov device. Soon later, I was buying 24-piece boxes of Frolov breathing devices from Russia (in about 2008-2010). Later, this resulted in the development of the Amazing DIY Breathing Device that can be made with simple pieces of a tube and bottles.

Advantages of starting breathing retraining (first sessions) with breathing devices:

– easier to teach and learn too (with the diaphragm too, due to large amplitude)

– higher final CPs (better body oxygen test results after sessions)

– faster overall weekly progress.

Next innovations and differences related to the NormalBreathing course:

Teaching Buteyko breathing exercises with 6 preliminary requirements and numerous temporary restrictions, and contraindications. In the past, only hypertension, pregnancy,Insulin-dependent diabetes (type 2 diabetes), and panic attacks were mentioned in Soviet Buteyko sources.

3 effects related to overtraining were introduced: overtraining, lost CO2 sensitivity and blunted CO2 sensitivity.

Extra contra-indications include following groups of people who have:

  • presence of transplanted organs
  • brain traumas and acute bleeding injuries
  • blood clots
  • acute stages (exacerbations) of life-threatening conditions (infarct, stroke, cardiac ischemia, severe asthma attack, metastasizing cancer, septic shock, multiple organ failure, near-death experience, etc.)
  • loss of CO2 sensitivity
  • low weight or underweight students.

Students of the NormalBreathing course:

1) are screened for temporary restrictions and contra-indications to ensure safety of breathing exercises

2) systematically learn crucial requirements for practicing breathwork

3) gradually progress to more difficult breathing exercises

4) are informed and monitored for prevention of potential problems due to:

– general overtraining due to breathing exercises

– a loss of CO2 sensitivity

– blunted CO2 sensitivity.