Glenn White, a registered Buteyko Institute practitioner/practitioner trainer, runs the Buteyko Breathing Clinic in Freemans Bay, Auckland. He has helped thousands with breathing disorders since 2001.
Glenn White was himself a 'lifelong' asthma sufferer. He tells a story that people with asthma and their families will relate to. They know that living with asthma is often debilitating and frightening.
'In 2000 my asthma deteriorated dramatically. The scary thing was that despite taking higher and higher doses of my brown and blue inhalers, I was finding it harder and harder to breathe. It got to the point where every breath was an effort. On three occasions I was rushed to hospital and put on a nebuliser. The third time I was sure I was going to die. My health had deteriorated to such a degree that I was unable to return to my job directing mineral exploration projects in South East Asia.'
Six months prior to this a friend had told Glenn how her 11-year-old son overcame his asthma after attending a Buteyko course. Increasingly desperate and researching on the net, Glenn tracked down a Buteyko practitioner in the UK.
'At that stage I was experiencing constant symptoms, fighting for every breath and despite taking daily oral and inhaled steroids was still sucking constantly on my blue puffer. I really thought my asthma was too far gone for Buteyko to help, but after a lifetime of symptoms and three near-death experiences in one month I was prepared to try anything.'
Glenn describes the first two sessions of the Buteyko course and the sensation of breathing without effort as simply incredible.
'I was sceptical of the advice to breathe less because at that time I was feeling constantly breathless. However, by the third session I was no longer experiencing symptoms and had not needed to use my blue inhaler since day two. For the first time in years I was able to sleep right through the night without waking and needing to use my blue inhaler.'
Glenn has been asthma and drug free ever since. This life-changing experience inspired him to turn his back on a 25-year career in mineral exploration and train as a Buteyko practitioner to help promote this self-management approach to health and wellness. He now runs the Buteyko Breathing Clinic in Freemans Bay, Auckland, teaching both basic breathing skills and the Buteyko technique. Glenn set up his clinic primarily to help people with asthma but his practice has expanded to include a wide range of breathing related disorders including snoring, sleep apnoea, insomnia, hay fever, COPD, chronic fatigue and stress-related conditions.
A great many of Glenn's clients feel they have run out of conventional options to control their symptoms. The results are nothing short of miraculous for these patients. Even a one-hour session learning basic breathing skills will achieve a noticeable reduction in symptoms.
Those who think Glenn may be some sort of 'natural health crank' may draw comfort from the more than 12 published studies to date of the Buteyko technique for asthma. Two of these were carried out in New Zealand. These have shown staggering reductions in both reliever and preventer medication. This is achieved without loss of lung function. Medication reduction is matched by significant improvements in asthma symptoms. These studies all recognise the safety of the Buteyko Method as a complementary technique that compliments conventional asthma management.
Glenn constantly hears, 'Why isn’t this part of mainstream medicine?’ from his patients and feels New Zealand asthma sufferers deserve to be better informed about developments such as Buteyko that can help improve their lives.
Glenn stresses he is not against the use of asthma medication. His patients are instructed to use their preventer medications as prescribed and their reliever medications as needed. Reduction in preventer medication is always discussed with the patient’s GP.
So the challenge for those working in the field of asthma is to recognise the relationship between dysfunctional breathing and asthma and to investigate non-drug interventions such as Buteyko to help reduce the social and economic burden of asthma in New Zealand and globally.
Read the full version of Glenn's life-changing experience through Buteyko here »