My daughter Tessa and I spent 2 years in Sydney - she was a student at Chiropractic College. The climate and a stressful job exacerbated my asthma. One day my chiropractor said she'd heard of the Buteyko Method and suggested I observe an Open Class with her. A couple of days following our return to Brisbane I saw a Buteyko introductory meeting advertised, so Tessa and I went along. I thought "I'll try this. What have I got to lose?" as I'd done countless times before.
So far as I know I was at the first Brisbane class (preceding the Mater Hospital Trial) in January 1994. A lady my own age in Sydney had told me "It's hard, but it works." It was and it did. After the second lesson I packed away my nebuliser. At last I had hope that I might overcome this dreadful Thing hovering over me like the Sword of Damocles from the age of 7.
I admit to frequent lapses. In 49 years my breathing pattern had become entrenched. Sometimes the exercises exhausted me. When the vicissitudes of life took over and I couldn't rid myself of a "tight chest", it was easier to take Ventolin, tape mouth, do "Hunger for Air" until I stabilized and promise myself I'd try harder tomorrow. Nevertheless I checked my Control Pause several times a day and made sure it got to 20. My nebuliser has remained in its box.
A few weeks ago I decided - yet again - to seriously embark upon the Method. Incredibly the very next day Tessa received a copy of Jennifer and Russell Stark's book in her mail. They explain the mechanism of hyperventilation so that it makes sense and their detailed information on the various medications - especially inhaled steroids - cleared up many misconceptions I had. Using their refined techniques it's much easier this time around. I stopped Ventolin on Day One.
A sentence in the handout from my initial Buteyko session has remained with me: "Maintain the momentum through the good times and the bad." Yes, there were bad times. But perseverance pays off. In these past 10 years I've only had 3 asthma attacks per se.
Above all - Dr Buteyko's Method took away my fear.
I hope that before long Buteyko will be standard treatment for asthmatics, especially for all those poor little children taking steroids so early in life.
Rita, age 65, Brisbane.