by James Hughes-Onslow, The Daily Express, Tues 18th June 1996
A Hacking cough echoed throughout the service in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster. I apologised for my son's ashtmatic wheezing to MP Johnathon Aitken, who was sitting in the pew in front. An asthma sufferer himself, Mr. Aitken took a sympathetic view. He recommended me to Christopher Drake of London's Hale Clinic, where he learned the breathing exercises which enabled him to give up his inhaler. My son and myself (also an asthmatic) will be checking in there this week.
The former Treasury Minister has, it seems, persuaded a number of asthma sufferers to try the Buteyko Method.
"I read about Jonathon Aitken's asthma about a year ago," says Inrgid Beale, who used to run a decorating business in Suffolk until asthma forced her to give it up. "I was on Becotide and Ventolin inhalers and steroids. Despite all this medication, or perhaps because of it, I still had sleepless nights." But after attending Dr. Drakes clinic in London, Mrs. Beale's life has been transformed. "I can walk and swim and do things I couldn't do before. When I take a breath it's so fresh it's unbelievable." And since last August, Mrs Beale has used no medication at all.
Despite having helped thousands of sufferers, the Buteyko method is still criticised by the medical authorities and the National Asthma Campaign. When the Hale Clinic wrote to former Health Minister Edwina Currie, who also suffers from asthma, she wrote back saying: "I have all the help I need."
Drake says: "The official line is that there is no known cure. They are always looking for environmental causes, never physiological ones. A lot of people would be very embarrassed if the Buteyko Method is proved correct."