Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko

The instruction of breathing correctly can be traced back to the earliest signs of civilization. It seems human continuously realize the importance of proper breathing only to forget soon after. Then come along new pioneers who through personal research and experience bring it back to the forefront in human health.

Konstantin Buteyko was one of these pioneers who has shaped how we understand breathing today.

If you currently work with us or have seen videos on our social media you have likely already heard the name Buteyko. I want to share who this man was, what he taught us, and how breathing saved his own life.

Buteyko was born in January 1923 in Ukraine. Like his dad he became a mechanical engineer. During World War 2 he used these skills while on the front line of the fighting. After the war, however, he changed course and began studying medicine.

When the War ended, I decided to start researching the most complex machine, the Man. I thought if I learnt him, I’d be able to diagnose his diseases as easily as I had diagnosed machine disorders.

—  Professor Buteyko, Interview in 1982

Buteyko Method is Born

His first step on a path leading to the development of the Buteyko Method was when he was assigned to compare the breath rate of patients with the severity of their various illnesses. In doing so he recognized hyperventilation increased as patients’ health declined.

Around this same time he suffered from malignant hypertension and doctors predicted he had 12 months to live. He experimented on himself by reducing his breathing volume. Soon he was cured of his pain. From both of these discoveries he began recommending controlled breath practices to reverse illnesses. After clinical research this method spread throughout Russia. Eventually it caught on in other areas of the world as well.

The various practices surrounding the elimination of over-breathing (breathing too much) is known as the Buteyko Method. It includes nose breathing, creating slight air hunger through breath holds, and other small lifestyle changes. Recently this method has gained greater popularity through Patrick McKeown (a student of Buteyko) and his Oxygen Advantage Program.

Curious to hear how these practices can change your health and boost your performance? Sign up for a strategy session with a coach here!

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