From:Patrick Galvin

Dear All,

It was a lovely soft day (as they say in Ireland) in the Niagara Peninsula. I went for a 3km. (+- 2 miles) walk in 44 minutes with one stop (to give directions 1+- minute) - breathing only through my nose - average 105 paces/minute (a low of 85 on slopes and high of 115). Was thinking of writing to give details of my 1st. year with Buteyko. Feel it may support/help/ encourage others with Emphysema (and Asthma as well I guess). Please bear with me. Its going to be a long epistle, but hope it will help Buteykoists trying so hard for success.

In June 1999 I attended the Asthma and Emphysema Centre (leading one in Canada I believe) at the Toronto Western Hospital as a volunteer guinea ping for a blind study research project re nitric oxide - prepared by the 1998 Nobel Prize Winner for Medicine. It lasted 7 weeks. Expecting final report shortly.

In August 1999, the Research Doctor recommended that I go on oxygen (only at nights she says. She prescribed Alpo-Solvent and Combivent o a regular basis - which I bought. I refused it all and never even opened the medications.

The following month my wife found "Breathing Free" by Teresa Hale in the local library. I read it 3 times and photocopied relevant pages. Then faxed the Hale Clinic in London. We were scheduled to go on our annual visit to England in October. The second day there I went and had a session with Sasha Stalmatski. Believe it was October 18. I had a CP8 and an MP16. Last week, on October 19, 2000, I felt really good - worked for 1.5 hours raking/bagging leaves (have you ever tried bending over shovelling leaves into a bag and keeping your mouth shut?!). Went for my afternoon walk of 40 minutes. Did my usual set of exercises. IT WAS A RED LETTER DAY; CP30 -MP60 - MP60 - CP32. I just couldn't believe the figures on my timer. IT PROVES BUTEYKO WORKS.

Last year I was out of breath within 2 blocks. Now I can walk 2 miles with little effort. I am 77+ years, and Sasha did tell me in London that would feel 20 years younger by last Christmas. He was partially right, as I think it was only 10 years younger!!!

En route to today - I had an infection at Christmas (at CP16), and another last April (at CP20-22). Antibiotics each time. For some unknown reason I stuck at CP20-22 for over 3 months. It was quite discouraging (advice: please don't be discouraged as you will eventually win through). In August last I felt very congested. Sasha was in Washington. I called him and said I may be having another infection (CP23-24) He said neither of the earlier ones were actual infections probably. The body was "Cleansing" within itself - and body "Adjusting" to Buteyko.

His advice: "Push harder. Work out any infection with Breathing. If after 3-4 days your CP goes down - only then go to the doctor for antibiotics". Unquote. I did my sets 5 times a day a really "pushed" like hell with my MPs. Within 2 days my congestion was completely cleared. He added: "For CP to go up, work to build up the muscles: walking ( gradually speeding up and walking up slopes) - but breathe very shallowly. Also weights - push ups/sit-ups.

After I returned from UK the Hale Clinic faxed me the name on another in NA with Emphysema, Ken Mickelsen. I contacted him. We became quite close E-mail buddies. We advised/discussed/encouraged , and commiserated with each other. He was of the greatest help in my progress with Buteyko.

For anyone reading this treatise, an important, and almost vital recommendation for success - is to use the "Buddy system" (as in underwater diving). I do sincerely believe it (virtually) saved both our lives - certainly our sanities!! Ken and I were almost on par starting Buteyko, though he was far more seriously ill, being on oxygen 24 hours/day. Note: a Buddy need not be on par. A more experienced person can help a novice - older help younger - and vice versa - regardless of what levels they are at.

Apart from my session with Sasha, we were both flying by the seat of our pants - DIY-ing. IMHO there is no doubt at all that one has to take a personal and calculated risk - and make the decision to DIY. We all know that both Professor Buteyko and Sasha strongly recommend that one should use a certified Practitioner. However, if you are too sick to travel - can't afford it - no Practitioner nearby - you have no real choice - or rather, you have 2 choices: DIY or DIE!!!!!!!!?

In the past 12 months I have only neglected to do my sets for 5 days (when I was sick) - though I did VSBs. And a further 10+- days when I only did one set /day. Otherwise have done 3 sets/day all the time: CP - MP - CP. Last winter when Sasha was in N. York, Bud very kindly gave him a list of questions I had prepared. His main recommendation for faster improvement in the "Curing" of my Emphysema was to do: CP - MP - MP - MP - CP - with 3 minute VSBs in between. This is what I have been doing for the past 6+ months for the most part.

The following may be of some value/guidance to those starting the Buteyko Method. The main thing is that it takes great discipline and consistency. I am NOT completely sure if I'm doing it correctly - but it does seem to be working FOR ME. I am quite prepared to stand corrected by anyone with more experience.

For some reason I usually round numbers upwards to the next even number. If I realise a problem I knock of 2 seconds. I still seem to need 7 hours sleep. Maybe my age I lost 16 lbs. in the first 6 months - but up 2-3 lbs. in past 3 months. Don't know why My stamina is sill not as much as I feel it should be with my improvement in CPs/MPs. Sasha said my pulse should be 76. Resting it runs at about 78-80 - but have got it down to as low as 64 after a set. After my second MP60 I did have an ache in the area of my root canal of 2 years ago. Sasha is very anti root canals. Had his pulled! A "secret" he gave me: If out of breath in any activity - hold your breath out for 5 seconds a couple of times. It works.

This is my programme: Sit up straight (I use my office chair with arms) - breathe normally with diaphragm - "let it all hang out (per Victor)- for 1 minute. Do a CP until it becomes a slight strain. Breathe normally again in 8-10 seconds (per Bud) or after 3 -4 breaths. With MPs it takes me 15-20 seconds to breathe normally again depending on how hard I push. I do three MPs with 3 minutes ++ VSBs in between each MP. My personal technique: I count to 25 as slowly and shallowly as possible. I find it helps greatly to concentrate, which is important. In my 25 count I have reached 3 + minutes to as high as 4.40 minutes. I sort of "flutter" - almost drifting of at times. My wife says I am reaching the Alpha Level (whatever that is!?). I start an MP on the third normal out breath. After the final VB I breathe out an start the CP on the fifth breath out (per Victor). Normal diaphragm breathing for one minute after the final CP (per Sasha). That's it.

Support and keen interest in my recovery from my wife, Mary, has been equally vital. Her constant reminders "Have you done your exercises".

CP 40 is the magic number. I have reached CP 34, and CP30s consistently on the second CP of a set. maybe in 3-6 months I could possibly reach CP40. (I remember when CP30 seemed like reaching for the moon!). Does this mean that my Emphysema is "Cured"??? I DON'T THINK SO. It just can't be. Its just too too easy.

Two days after my Red Letter day of CP32 and MP60 x 2 - I went for my usual walk. I could hardly move at any pace over 90/minute. Had to stop 3 times and rest - getting out of breath and tired - no stamina. The next day I had a slight pain in my chest, and still seemed short of stamina. I figured/guessed it, again, another "Cleansing". So I eased up on the MPs and did a lot of VSB-ing (per Peter). VSB-ing seemed to do the trick, and I felt much better. I am now back to normal - but only do two low MPs in the 40-50 range - not three and pushing - with a CP26. I am doing consistent first CP26 and second CP30 with relatively little effort. I won't allow myself to go above MP50 at this time - and/or until I get proper advice. I am quite happy to stay at this plateau for now, and for the next 2-3 months.

I have tried (hard) to condense this letter. It has taken a long time to type. I sincerely hope it will be of some value to at least one person, in which case it will have been worth the effort

I can help/advise anyone with my one year's experience - JUST YELL.

All going well I will update this report in a year.

Apologies for errors and typos, but haven't the energy to re-read it all - may not have sent it!!

The very best to all of you as always. Pat.

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