Mark Reardon
I was diagnosed as having asthma at aprroximately 3 years of age in 1967. After which I was given cortisone. Since then I have used Intal, Ventolin and other medicines to prevent or control asthmatic attacks.

My earliest memory of being taken to the doctor resulted in the bad news that I should avoid all dairy products and swim a lot to "build up my lungs". My parents duly erected a swimming pool and all dairy products were kept well away from me.

Since then, despite the swimming, I continued to suffer from general wheezing and asthma attacks especially at night. Although I was never hospitalized at any time, I was becoming quite dependent on drugs to keep the attacks at bay. I also tried the usual air ionizers and anti-dustmite pillow cases and sheets but my asthma was still causing me problems, especially at night.

I gave up swimming as a means to overcoming asthma when I heard in 1980 that the Australian Olympic Swimming team were 'up in arms' over the news that using their prescribed asthma medications would result in them being disqualified from the Moscow games. I believe the decision was later overturned. I didn't seem logical to me how anyone could prescribe swimming as a recommended exercise for asthmatics if these swimmers were swimming to olympic standard for 36 hours a week and still needed medications.

I then began to look to diet as a trigger cause for my asthma attacks and experimented with a vegetarian/fruitarian type diet, again avoiding all dairy products. I was lucky to come across a book by Arnold Ehret called The Mucusless Diet Healing System. With my nose constantly blocked and my chest constantly fealing 'heavy' from, I presumed, mucus, the title caught my eye immediately. After reading the book, I decided to give it a try. Although this diet is long and very hard work, for me, it worked remarkably well and I was able to go for long periods (at least a season of the year) without needing any medication at all. Soon I was able to give up medicines altogether.

At the age of 22 I moved from Sydney to London. I found the special diet to be quite difficult to keep up and particularly unsociable and so I slowly changed back to my old dietary ways. After several years of living in London I was back on the Ventolin/Becotide and my chest was feeling heavy again. With another concerted effort to restart the diet, I was able to get myself to a level whereby I was able again to leave behind my ventolin and becotide for long periods except during spring-time when I begun to suffer terribly from hay fever each year. At this point my streaming nose became quite intolerable for 3 to 4 weeks per year and the ventolin spray (and some hay fever drugs) were in use constantly until the hay fever season ended. Then I felt "perfectly OK" until the same time next year.

It was at this point, as spring approached, that I chanced apon an article entitled A Shorter Intake of Breath in The Independent - a national newspaper here in the UK.

I rang the The Hale Clinic and booked myself into an introductory lecture night.I was most impressed by the speaker, Christopher Drake, and the ideas he put forward. They seemed to me, to be most contradictory to the "orthodox" medical treatment I had received already.

As I had already given up on "orthodox" medicine, I was quite intrigued. However, I was still a little sceptical as my experience of asthma attacks told me that I was definitely not getting enough oxygen. How could I really be breathing too much?

I was especially reluctant to hand over any money until I had researched the idea a little more on my own until Chris offered everyone in the room a money back guarantee. I wanted to try out the information and now I had nothing to lose, so I signed up for the 5-night-course there and then. Most people were still sceptical though and did not take up the course. He even offered them the chance to come back on the last night of our course and ask the people who had done the course what they thought. Interestingly none came to ask at the end. I would say approximately a third of the people in the room decided to attend the course, and these seemed to be the worse cases in the room.

I wanted to attend because my hay-fever season was soon approaching and the ideas seemed logical. After all, the "build your lungs up" with swimming approach clearly didn't work, there was even exercise-induced asthma among some of the olympians swimming at the Atlanta games - Tom Dolan being one of them. Perhaps it was time to look at the possibility that my lungs were already doing too good a job at taking in all that air.

I attended the same course as the reporter who wrote the two articles Wonder Cure from Russia is Ahead by a nose and Stop This Asthma Disgrace. During the course I was taught how to measure my control pause, which I measured to be about 17 seconds at the beginning of the course. I was also told to practise the following things:

At the end of the 5-day course I felt wonderful. The difference was obvious, also, in the other people who had attended the course. No-one asked for their money back.

The big test for me was the hay-fever season. I sailed through it without a sniffle and felt great. This when I would have had to take time off work yet again.

I can now get my control pause to between 45 and 60 seconds after a few attempts without much trouble, and I use this as a regular check to see if I am breathing OK.

There were two warnings I was given at the end of the course.

  1. Never do the maximum pause after a big meal as this can cause vomiting.
  2. As I got better at the exercises through practice, my control pause measurement would slowly rise. At roughly 10 second intervals above my starting control pause (which was 17) I could expect to experience some physiological changes like diarrhoea, coughing up large quantities of mucus (that word again) and other cleansing actions etc. I have certainly experienced some of these "physiological changes".

I will spare you my stories about how I am able to focus at work and at sport more easily, and how I need less sleep and have increased endurance. :-)))