I'm writing this to describe how Buteyko has helped me. I had a chronic feeling of anxiety and some depression for a year after getting carbon monoxide poisoning (which I now know makes you hyperventilate). I also felt that I couldn't seem to breathe enough and was taking enormous gulps of air and feeling exhausted.
Of course, this was seen as a psychological problem and I was referred to a psychologist through my company's health insurance. He gave me a relaxation tape and some exercises which I did religiously twice a day for a long time (don't think they did much good at all). Unfortunately, I had to give up work (I was a technical consultant for a software company) as my health was making it impossible to do very much at all. I went to see a counsellor several times, but beyond a few moderately upsetting incidents in my normal middle-class childhood, I just couldn't seem to find the sort of traumatic experiences in my past or present to explain why I might suddenly feel unable to cope and be having so many panic attacks!
This situation dragged on for just over a year. I moved to London (England) to move in with my fiancÚ and studied to be a reflexologist. Then, by chance, I saw a description of hyperventilation in a book about food allergies that fitted all my symptoms. I was now convinced that this was the cause of all my problems and tried to ignore the urge to breathe more that hyperventilating was causing. Soon after, I spoke to a friend (now a member of this group) who had read Stalmatski's book, and she pointed me in the right direction.
I did a workshop with Stalmatski and can honestly say that since about 4 weeks after starting Buteyko I haven't had any feelings of anxiety at all (except where appropriate, such as the day of my reflexology exam! But I was the calmest student there, and achieved the top mark of 98.5%!). Before I even got carbon monoxide poisoning I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and this, too, has greatly improved. I did feel a bit more emotional and anxious for a few days when I first started Buteyko; I think this is part of your body rebalancing itself, so don't worry if this happens to you.
My CP (Peter's website will explain how to measure this) has increased in just over a year from 3 to nearly 30, and I'm sure it would have gone up much more quickly if I had done the exercises as frequently as recommended.
When I moved in with my boyfriend in January 2001 I joined a new doctors' surgery, and the kind doctor referred me to the psychology department of the local hospital (she also tried to give me anti-depressants and beta-blockers which I refused to take). The National Health Service is so efficient that it only took 13 months to get an appointment! I phoned up and said that I felt a lot better and thought I would be wasting their time. The psychologist encouraged me to go, and as I'm very bad at turning down free stuff, especially when I have waited 13 months for it, I fixed an appointment.
During our brief session I told her that since the previous April (when I started Buteyko) I had:
I guess all this rambling is just trying to say that there IS hope, hyperventilation CAN make you feel horribly anxious and unsettled, and Buteyko CAN help you recover.
best wishes and happy breathing,