From:Norman Back

My name is Norman Back. I am a 52 year old Computer Consultant. I have suffered with asthma since the age of 2, I believe it was triggered by measles. My asthma was diagnosed at the age of 4, I can still remember being in hospital while the tests were done.

Asthma interfered with my schooling. My doctor would not allow me to start school until the age of 6, it would normally have been 5. I also had many days off sick, throughout my school days, due to asthma. During my school years I was under a chest Consultant. He forbade the use of drugs for asthma, except for emergencies, he believed I would be more likely to grow out of it without them. He did prescribed deep breathing exercises. These I found 'unhelpful', so I soon refused to do them. Otherwise I had to survive as best I could.

Since leaving school at the age of 16 I have used, in chronological order, a puffer bronchodilator (I can not recall the details), Intal Compound, Intal, Ventolin, prednisolone, Becotide. The dosage/strength of medication increasing, over the years, as my asthma got out of control with each drug.

Before starting the Buteyko method my regular medication was, 2 puffs of Ventolin and 2 puffs of Becotide-200 in the morning and the same again in the evening. That is a total of 4 Ventolin and 4 Becotide-200 per day. Also, before participating in any exercise I would take an additional 2 puffs of Ventolin.

In August '98 I watched the broadcast of the BBC QED program on Buteyko. I was very sceptical and nearly did not watch the program, thinking it was probably a sick joke. However I'm glad I did, it made enough sense (and fitted my asthma experience) to provoke me into investigating further via the Internet.

At first it was difficult to get enough information from the Internet, until I found It was then easy to learn, difficult to do properly, but the benefits were immediate. I was able to clear my nose and did not feel the need for, or use, any Ventolin that same night. For the next 3 days I needed quite a lot of Buteyko breathing (shallow breathing and pauses) to control my asthma but each time I succeeded, without using Ventolin.

Controlling my asthma with Buteyko breathing has become progressively easier and since starting the Buteyko Method I have not used any Ventolin. Even during a bout of flu just before Christmas and being diagnosed with bronchitis at the end of January (anti-biotics cleared this up), my breathing was controlled with Buteyko and Ventolin was not used. I have now, with my doctor's agreement started to reduce my Becotide and am now down to 3 puffs of Becotide-200 per day with no adverse effects. On all occasions that I have felt asthmatic (and then only mildly) the Buteyko breathing method has fixed it. I have not felt the need for any Ventolin since starting to use the Buteyko method.

I have always enjoyed walking and swimming when my asthma has not restricted it. Now when walking I always breath through my nose even when walking up steep hills but I have not been yet been able to do the same when swimming and just try to restrict my breathing to a similar level.

Everybody seems to adapt the Buteyko method to suit their own condition. Some using MP's, some checking their pulse and some not. I have MP's used occasionally but find them uncomfortable. So I have restricted myself to CPs, EPs and lots of VSB (Very Shallow Breathing). I VSB at almost every opportunity, typing at computer (I'm doing it now), driving, watching TV.

I'm now starting to try to eat only when hungry, I hope this will reduce my excessive weight. I was always hungry before starting Buteyko but now find that I do not always need 3 meals a days and sometimes skip a meal without any discomfort. I've previously tried dieting but always failed.

I wish I had been able to use the Buteyko method 50 years ago. It would have changed my life. I am sure many other people using the method will say the same. I can remember about three previous times in my life when I did not feel the need for a bronchodilator for months at a time.
* When I was 14 I spend 6 months in a special boarding (live-in) school. I was asthma free, without medication, while I was there. I remember it being a revelation not to have to struggle to breathe. But asthma returned when I caught a cold after returning home.
* At the age of 21 I had a major traffic accident. I broke 8 ribs, required intensive care for 2 weeks and I had to stay in hospital for 3 months. However I was free of asthma, without medication, for about 6 months. Asthma returned at about the time I returned to full fitness.
* At the age of 29 while physically very active repairing (rebuilding?) an old house I was free of asthma (using one Intal Compound Capsule per day, maintenance dose) for about 6 months. Since then my asthma has been under various degrees of control but, very slowly, progressively worsening and the medication strength/dosage increasing.

I have never been hospitalised for asthma (but came very close to it in Oct 1991, my doctor offered it but I declined). I have now been free of the need for bronchodilators since August 1998. About 7 months. This is the first time any treatment has been this successful and is already as long as all previous remissions.

Before using Buteyko I was making regular, daily, use of Ventolin. Previous experience has been that Ventolin becomes less effective for emergency treatment when it has been in daily use. Now that I am using Buteyko instead, I have greatly increased confidence that, should I need it Ventolin will be effective during an asthma attack.

I can not claim to understand how Buteyko works. Chemistry is not my best subject and biochemistry even less! However I don't understand how Ventolin or Becotide works (but sometimes fails to work!) either. I'm just happy to have found something that works for me. I would recommend that every asthmatic try Buteyko, preferably with a proper training course followed by ongoing support. I now feel well, sleep better and due to a reduced appetite, I'm beginning to address my excessive weight.

In the text above I have stated that I have not required 'bronchodilators' to control my asthma. When I look in my dictionary for a definition, I find that my experience of the Buteyko infers that it could be described as a bronchodilator itself. So perhaps the above should read "Since August '98 the only bronchodilator I have used has been the Buteyko breathing method".


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