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 http://www.wt.com.au/~pkolb/buteyko.htm. 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
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".