Medical Trials of the Buteyko Method

In this modern world everyone is agreed that scientific proof of any remedial system or drug is essential before it is made freely available within a health care system. There are two key problems arising from this assumption that both affect the recognition of the effectiveness of the Buteyko Method; the first questions the trust we place in current clinical trials and the way they are constructed and the second is more fundamental, in that the overwhelming majority of clinical trials are funded by drug companies who are unwilling to fund research into a system that has already been shown to considerably reduce the need for drugs.

Despite these reservations there have been a number of trials funded by independent bodies. Some of these are shown below:

Research & Clinical Trials on The Buteyko Method

The most extensive research into the effects on health of breathing was the life’s work of Professor Konstantin Buteyko & much of this early work is being published on the internet. In the West there have been a number of clinical trials that have substantiated the relationship between chronic hidden hyperventilation and asthma.

The Mater Hospital Trial Brisbane 1998
“Those practising the Buteyko Breathing Technique reduced hyperventilation and their use of beta2-agonists. A trend toward reduced inhaled steroid use and better quality of life……”

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The Gisborne Trial New Zealand 2003

“The magnitude of effect in both studies was remarkably similar to the Mater trial, 85% reduction in reliever medication & 37% reduction in steroids.”

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The Calgary Trial Canada 2007

“I’ve been astonished and also very pleased with the excellent result. There is no disruption of their life at all by their disease: normal activities; not waking at night; not needing to use any reliever medications. It’s just great…75% control is about as good as anyone has got in any study of asthma. The neat thing about it is that it has no side effects. It’s very safe. The Buteyko technique certainly has been shown to be an important adjunct to treatment.”….Dr. Robert Cowie Respirologist.

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All these trials & others have shown
approximately 90% reduction in reliever medication
approximately 50% reduction of steroid inhalers
reduction in coughing & wheezing
improvement of sleep and general improved quality of life
All without adverse side effects.

Research & Clinical Trials on The Buteyko Method

Buteyko breathing technique improves exercise capacity and control of breathing in uncontrolled asthma [Abstract]
Austin G, Brown C, Watson T, Chakravorty I 2009

Buteyko breathing technique reduces hyperventilation-induced hypocaponea and dyspnoea after exercise in asthma [Abstract]
Austin G, Brown C, Watson T, Chakravorty I 2009

Effect of mouth taping at night on asthma control–a randomised single-blind crossover study.
Cooper S, Oborne J, Harrison T, Tattersfield A 2009

A randomised controlled trial of the Buteyko technique as an adjunct to conventional management of asthma.
Cowie RL, Conley DP, Underwood MF, Reader PG 2008

A randomized controlled trial of buteyko technique for asthma management [Abstract]
Cowie RL, Conley DP, Underwood MF, Reader PG 2006

Buteyko Breathing Technique for asthma: an effective intervention.
McHugh P, Aitcheson F, Duncan B, Houghton F 2003

Effect of two breathing exercises (Buteyko and pranayama) in asthma: a randomised controlled trial.
Cooper S, Oborne J, Newton S, Harrison V, Thompson Coon J, Lewis S, Tattersfield A 2003

Health education in asthma management – does the Buteyko Institute method make a difference? [Abstract]
McGowan J 2003

The effect of two breathing exercises (Buteyko and Pranayama) on the ability to reduce inhaled corticosteroids in asthma: a randomised controlled trial [abstract]
Cooper SE, Oborne J, Newton S, Harrison V, Thompson Coon J, Lewis S, Tattersfield AE 2003

Do breathing exercises (buteyko and pranayama) help to control asthma: a randomised controlled trial [abstract]
Cooper S, Oborne J, Newton S, Harrison V, Thompson Coon J, Lewis S, Tattersfield AE 2002

The effects of carbon dioxide on exercise-induced asthma: an unlikely explanation for the effects of Buteyko breathing training.
Al-Delaimy WK, Hay SM, Gain KR, Jones DT, Crane J 2001

A clinical trial of the Buteyko Breathing Technique in asthma as taught by a video.
Opat AJ, Cohen MM, Bailey MJ, Abramson MJ 2000

Positive evidence of the effectiveness of Buteyko breathing techniques in asthma
Bowler SD, Green A, Mitchell CA 1999

The Buteyko breathing techniques in asthma: a clinical trial
Opat A, Cohen M, Bailey M, Abramason M 1999

Buteyko breathing techniques in asthma: a blinded randomised controlled trial.
Bowler SD, Green A, Mitchell CA 1998

  Hypoventilation exercises buteyko breathing and asthma: a controlled trial.
Bowler S, Green A, Mitchell C, Graham T 1995

Soviet medical approbations and trials of the Buteyko Method and health conditions addressed:
· 1981, Sechenov’s Med Inst, Moscow, USSR (asthma, with pneumonia, rhinitis, chronic tonsillitis)
· 1990, Shevchenko’s Central Hospital, Kiev, Ukraine (radiation disease)
· 1991, Kiev Scientific and Research Instit of Epidemiol and Infect Diseases, Ukraine (HIV-AIDS)
· 1991, Kiev Scient and Res Inst of Epidemiol and Infect Diseases, Ukraine (hepatitis B and liver cirrhosis)
· 2001 Zaporozhsky State Institute of Further Medical Education, Zaporozhie, Ukraine (cancer)

Hyperventilation syndrome (chronic hyperventilation) is a physiological state characterized by chronic over-breathing or breathing more air than the medical norm.

Normal minute ventilation at rest is about 6-7 L/min for a 70-kg man, as it was found in numerous studies done on healthy subjects (see the links and Table below).

Hyperventilation syndrome leads to reduced CO2 content in the alveoli of the lungs or alveolar hypocapnia. For most people, it also causes arterial hypocapnia (or CO2 deficiency in the arterial blood).

Minute ventilation rates (chronic diseases)

Condition Minute
Number of
All references or
click below for abstracts
Normal breathing 6 L/min Medical textbooks
Healthy Subjects 6-7 L/min >400 Results of 14 studies
Heart disease 15 (±4) L/min 22 Dimopoulou et al, 2001
Heart disease 16 (±2) L/min 11 Johnson et al, 2000
Heart disease 12 (±3) L/min 132 Fanfulla et al, 1998
Heart disease 15 (±4) L/min 55 Clark et al, 1997
Heart disease 13 (±4) L/min 15 Banning et al, 1995
Heart disease 15 (±4) L/min 88 Clark et al, 1995
Heart disease 14 (±2) L/min 30 Buller et al, 1990
Heart disease 16 (±6) L/min 20 Elborn et al, 1990
Pulm hypertension 12 (±2) L/min 11 D’Alonzo et al, 1987
Cancer 12 (±2) L/min 40 Travers et al, 2008
Diabetes 12-17 L/min 26 Bottini et al, 2003
Diabetes 15 (±2) L/min 45 Tantucci et al, 2001
Diabetes 12 (±2) L/min 8 Mancini et al, 1999
Diabetes 10-20 L/min 28 Tantucci et al, 1997
Diabetes 13 (±2) L/min 20 Tantucci et al, 1996
Asthma 13 (±2) L/min 16 Chalupa et al, 2004
Asthma 15 L/min 8 Johnson et al, 1995
Asthma 14 (±6) L/min 39 Bowler et al, 1998
Asthma 13 (±4) L/min 17 Kassabian et al, 1982
Asthma 12 L/min 101 McFadden & Lyons, 1968
COPD 14 (±2) L/min 12 Palange et al, 2001
COPD 12 (±2) L/min 10 Sinderby et al, 2001
COPD 14 L/min 3 Stulbarg et al, 2001
Sleep apnea 15 (±3) L/min 20 Radwan et al, 2001
Liver cirrhosis 11-18 L/min 24 Epstein et al, 1998
Hyperthyroidism 15 (±1) L/min 42 Kahaly, 1998
Cystic fibrosis 15 L/min 15 Fauroux et al, 2006
Cystic fibrosis 10 L/min 11 Browning et al, 1990
Cystic fibrosis* 10 L/min 10 Ward et al, 1999
CF and diabetes* 10 L/min 7 Ward et al, 1999
Cystic fibrosis 16 L/min 7 Dodd et al, 2006
Cystic fibrosis 18 L/min 9 McKone et al, 2005
Cystic fibrosis* 13 (±2) L/min 10 Bell et al, 1996
Cystic fibrosis 11-14 L/min 6 Tepper et al, 1983
Epilepsy 13 L/min 12 Esquivel et al, 1991
CHV 13 (±2) L/min 134 Han et al, 1997
Panic disorder 12 (±5) L/min 12 Pain et al, 1991
Bipolar disorder 11 (±2) L/min 16 MacKinnon et al, 2007
Dystrophia myotonica 16 (±4) L/min 12 Clague et al, 1994