I've had asthma since infancy and on top of that smoked for 31 years before finally quitting a couple of years ago.

Immediately after quitting smoking, I gained about 50 pounds and started having all kinds of horrible breathing problems. It was to the point that I'd be winded walking from my bed to the bathroom in the morning. I was on three different inhalers (10-15 times a day) and nebulizers (1-2 a day) and my whole family was miserable because I quite truly and honestly and totally HATE being sick.

Of course, I hate doctors and hospitals almost as much, so I'd usually wait and see if it would get better on its own before finally giving up and going to the emergency room. At this time, I'd be in the ER every 2-3 weeks, and it would take me a good 10 minutes to walk from my car to the hospital door. Everyone there knew me and it was getting pretty disgusting all around.

Then I chanced on a mention of Buteyko in an issue of Nature magazine and jotted the name down for reference. That evening I went on the Internet and found about 1,000 hits when I searched for Buteyko. That got me started, and the next week my wife bought me a copy of Teresa Hale's book.

Okay, so now I had something that might help. I read the book and took a CP - 7 seconds. Hmm. Then I tried to figure out what course of treatment would be most applicable for someone in my condition. Being a lazy guy, I opted for the shortest one and began doing it once or twice a day.

What happened, of course, was that my CP went up to about 20 after a week and a half. I was still taking the inhalers (about once a WEEK) and I'd basically kissed my doctor and the ER goodbye. The point is that I did NOT do the Buteyko treatment according to the book. Not even close. I fudged this and fudged that and I've got a HUGE jones for doughnuts so there went the diet and some days I forgot altogether but even though all this corruption was present in the treatment regimen, it still worked.

Amazing, I thought to myself, well and truly amazed.

Now I feel like I'm actually in control of my personal well-being again, and I don't have to dope myself up with anything and I sure as hell don't have to stagger around like a drunk any more because if I ever feel like the condition is coming back, I can just hop back on the wagon again.

So this all happened about 8 months ago, and for the last 8 months things have been going fairly well. I'm not doing Buteyko any more - not even occasionally - because I found that doing it, even as sporadically as I did, for a few weeks actually changed my breathing habits in a fundamental way and to the good. I can exercise fully (in the last month I've dug up and removed a half-dozen fairly large trees from my back yard) absolutely without fear of negative repercussions.

Except when I'm doing hard labor, I can breathe shallowly all day long through my nose, and that seems to be the key that opens the door to being able to successfully handle the problem I had. Since then I've loaned the Hale book to a couple of asthmatic friends of mine, both of whom have experienced total relief from their symptoms.

If I never use my inhaler again, it's totally OK with me.


- Dave

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