I thought I would write a short message in relation to my experience with the Buteyko Breathing Method.
Approximately 5 years ago, I had an operation to remove my tonsils, open the nasal passage in both nasal cavities and had a portion of my soft palate at the back of my throat removed. This was an extraordinarily painful operation and I hope it would solve many of the symptoms of poor sleep etc. This was because my sleeping was very poor and I had serious snoring issues. I found I woke most mornings with a headache similar to a hangover (even though I have not had any alcohol and not before) and felt worse than I did when I went to bed. The operation definitely improved my health as my tonsils were in very poor condition and should have been removed when I was a child. The snoring did improve however, over time it appeared to return. My wife recommended that I have a sleep study conducted. I had a sleep study conducted in January 2011 and found that I suffered from moderate obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). The interesting part of this was that I was not overweight and I was only 35 years old so I did not fit into the normal patient criteria who was normally overweight and/or a lot older than I am. I trialled a CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure) to try to manage my sleep apnoea. The machine did wonders considering I have had poor (or no) sleep for so many years and the lack of sleep was starting to affect my life/health which is why I had the study conducted. I noticed a significant difference when I started having longer and higher quality sleep. Whilst the machine was great, I found it cumbersome and would easily wake if the mask moved when I rolled over etc. I also do a great deal of travel, which is part of my job, and found it a hassle having to pack it up in the morning and take it with me, unpack it each night and then repainted in the morning I was travelling overnight. I was also concerned about how that may affect travelling to less developed countries, which is something that my wife and I enjoyed immensely. By having to take this machine with me everywhere I had to go I was potentially restricting where we could travel.
I used this machine until August 2011 (approximately 6 months after all testing had been completed) when my wife was recommended the Buteyko course to help us with our son who has been having some development issues. My wife is a physiotherapist and when she came home after attending one of the Buteyko courses with my son she “suggested” that I should go to a course. She was convinced that this method had significant benefits and made a lot of sense but took a bit of time to understand what the objective was and how changing the breathing method to produce such amazing results. I must admit I was at first very sceptical as I am a mechanical engineer who likes to understand why things are the way they are and this was not mainstream or. I had been told that the only way to manage my sleeping/snoring was by operations and/or mechanical devices such as a CPAP machine. I struggled to understand how modifying my breathing technique (as well as other techniques centred around how we should be breathing) could make such a difference that over $10,000 (operation, sleep study and CPAP machine) had achieved some but not complete results.
How wrong was I as it turns out.
When I went to my first Buteyko Breathing course and Glenn explained to me what we were trying to achieve and how we would go about achieving it. I had a Eureka moment when all the information fell into place and made complete sense. As a result of the course, I have noticed significant changes in my moods (I am a lot happier), my teeth and general mouth hygiene has improved, I have lost some weight and I recover a lot quicker playing sports. I find that I have more “fuel in the tank” towards the end of the sports game as well as being able to concentrate for longer periods of time. I've also noticed that I am a lot healthier (I do attribute a portion of this to the removal of my tonsils) and have a greater ability to relax and focus through my breathing.
I would also like to point out that I now sleep without a CPAP machine and have done so for three months. All I do is tape my mouth closed at night and I have never slept as well as I do now. When I wake up in the morning it is no longer like a hangover it is now a feeling of being refreshed and ready to face the day.
The improvements I've noticed in three months have been astronomical compared to the six months that I was on the CPAP machine and I would recommend anybody, regardless of their health situation to try this method because it is made a huge difference in my life. I would definitely recommend anyone who suffers from poor sleep to consider conducting one of these courses before having a sleep study conducted. I wish I had done this years ago and not had such a painful combination of surgeries and spent a lot of money on a machine I no longer use that did not necessarily address the issues I suffered from.
Please phone the clinic on 09-360 6291 if you would like to contact Dan or any of the other Buteyko course attendees who have agreed to be contacted about their experiences in overcoming sleep apnoea and other breathing-related disorders.