A trial involving 39 asthmatics was conducted in Brisbane from January 1995 to April 1995. One group was taught Buteyko and the other was given conventional asthma education.
Results after 12 weeks showed a 96% reduction in reliever medication and 49% reduction in preventer medication for the Buteyko group. This compared with a 5% reduction in reliever medication and no reduction in preventer medication for the control group.
‘In conclusion, we found that those practising the Buteyko breathing technique (BBT) reduced hyperventilation and their use of beta2-agonists. A trend toward reduced inhaled steroid use and better quality of life was observed in these patients without changes in objective measures of airway calibre.’
Simon D Bowler, Amanda Green and Charles A Mitchell Buteyko breathing techniques in asthma: a blinded randomised controlled trial Medical Journal of Australia 1998; 169: 575-578
Read a commentary paper written by Tess Graham, physiotherapist, to raise awareness about the importance of these findings which were omitted from the final publication.
The paper explains the study findings and recommends that everyone involved with the management of asthma respond to its unequivocal results. In particular, there is a need to review traditional management practices which may encourage asthma sufferers to increase their breathing volume. This is inappropriate if their asthma arose from or is exacerbated by over-breathing.
Buteyko breathing techniques in asthma: a blinded randomised controlled trial [PDF]