News and Research

The Buteyko Method: South African Journal of Natural Medicine:

Afrikaans article: The Physiological Benefits of Better Breathing:

Buteyko In South Africa:

Buteyko and Public Speaking:
Breathing technique has potential for Asthma sufferers

Source: ABC: The World Today (Thursday, October 23, 2003)

Buteyko for Runners:

Are you Breathing Correctly?

Mouth Taping:

Secrets of the Top Successful Entrepeneurs: Buteyko Breathing is number one:

Read about how this nurse turned Buteyko Educator earned herself these prestigious awards:
Jill McGowan: Great Scot Award 2001, Pride of Britain 2002

A Breathing Technique Offers Help for People With Asthma
Source: New York Times (Tuesday, November 10, 2009)

Regular use of asthma drugs poses respiratory, cardiac dangers
Source: Cornell News June 2004 (Thursday, June 17, 2004)

Life breathed into asthma control technique as alternative to Ventolin
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Thursday, October 23, 2003)

The Buteyko Institute of Breathing and Health is now certified by the BSI:

Clinical Review: Sleep apnoea - A survey of breathing retraining by Mary Birch
Source: Australian Nursing Journal October 2012, Vol 20, No. 4, pages 40-41. (Sunday, December 02, 2012

Over 11,000 people with sleep apnoea had been taught the method by the Buteyko Institute practitioners who participated in the survey. Practitioners estimated that the majority of clients with sleep apnoea had been able to improve sleep and reduce symptoms following breathing retraining using the Buteyko Institute Method. The survey results have been sent to sleep researchers in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and are also available as a downloadable PDF (linked above). It is hoped that making this data available will attract interest from sleep researchers to conduct independent trials of the Buteyko Institute Method of breathing retraining for sleep apnoea. Results from a comprehensive survey on breathing retraining and sleep apnoea Source: (Wednesday, May 09, 2012)

Source: Cowie RL, Conley DP, Underwood MF, Reader PG (2008) A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Buteyko Technique for Asthma Management. Respir Med, 102, 726-732.

"Main outcome measure: Asthma control, defined by a composite score based on the
Canadian asthma consensus report 6 months after completion of the intervention.

Results:...In the Buteyko group the proportion with asthma control increased from 40% to 79%... In addition the Buteyko group had significantly reduced their inhaled corticosteroid therapy compared with the control group (p ¼ 0.02).
Conclusions: Six months after completion of the interventions, a large majority of subjects in each group displayed control of their asthma with the additional benefit of reduction in inhaled corticosteroid use in the Buteyko group. The Buteyko technique, an established and widely recognised intervention... appear to provide additional benefit for adult patients with asthma who are being treated with inhaled corticosteroid."

Australian Doctor, 11 May 2001
"One-third of women and one-fifth of men had a complex of abnormal breathing symptoms suggestive of hyperventilation syndrome or dysfunctional breathing, according to the findings in the BMJ (5 May).
"There may be an important unrecognised diagnostic overlap between asthma and dysfunctional breathing," the researchers wrote.
The study found many patients might be experiencing avoidable morbidity because of inappropriate diagnosis and ineffective treatment.
And it suggested the findings might explain the reported success of the Buteyko method, which claims to treat asthma by retraining the breathing pattern to correct hyperventilation."


Source: Jill McGowan, Education and training consultant in Asthma Management.Thorax Vol 58, suppl III, page 28, December 2003.
Background: Anecdotal evidence suggests that the Buteyko Institute Method of Breathing Retraining can reduce asthma symptoms, medication and improve quality of life. This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of this method for individuals being treated for asthma.
Methods: 600 adult patients aged 18-69 years diagnosed and currently treated asthma with a symptom score > 1 per day was recruited to a randomized blinded controlled trial. This tested active Buteyko (Group 1) with asthma nurse education (Group 2) and continued medication control (Group 3). The main outcome measures were quality of life (SF36), activity, asthma symptoms, and medication reduction. Asthma symptoms and activity were measured by diary card scoring from 0-3.
Results: of all who commenced study, data were available on 500 after 6 months, 384 after 12 months, and 384 after 24 months.
Asthma Symptoms: Buteyko Group - decreased by 98%, 6 months and remained same at 12 months - Placebo and Control Groups - no significant change
Reliever Medication: Buteyko Group - decreased by 98%, 6 months, and remained same at 12 months - Placebo and Control Groups - no significant change
Preventer Medication: Buteyko Group - decreased by 92%, 6 months and remained same 12 months - Placebo and Control Groups - no significant change
Reliever Oral Preparations: Buteyko Group - decreased by 100%, 6 months and remained same at 12 months - Placebo and Control Groups - no significant change
Preventer Oral Preparations: Buteyko Group - decreased by 96%, 6 months and remained same at 12 months - Placebo and Control Groups - no significant change
Instance of cold or viral infection: Buteyko Group - decreased by 20%, 6 months and remained same at 12 months - Placebo and Control Groups - no significant change
The participants involved in this study all experienced significant improvement in asthma with a reduction in symptom, medication and improvement in quality of life. This was maintained over the duration of the study and is similar to the results of Brisbane Study (Bowler S 1998 BMU) and unpublished study by Dr G Spence G.P. in Shettleston Health Centre (Spence. G.).
The Buteyko Institute of Breathing and Health (BIBH) is certified by the B.S.I.

Patrick McHugh, Fergus Aitcheson, Bruce Duncan and Frank Houghton
Aim To assess the impact of the Buteyko Breathing Technique (BBT) on medication use in asthma.
Methods: A blinded randomised controlled trial comparing BBT with control was conducted in 38 people with asthma aged between 18 and 70. Participants were followed for six months following the intervention. Medication use and indices of ventilatory function were recorded.
Results No significant change in FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in one second) was recorded in either group. The BBT group exhibited a reduction in inhaled steroid use of 50% and β2-agonist use of 85% at six months from baseline. In the control group inhaled steroid use was unchanged and β2-agonist use was reduced by 37% from baseline. Investigator contact between the two groups was equal. There were no adverse events recorded in either group.
Conclusions: BBT is a safe and efficacious asthma management technique. BBT has clinical and potential pharmaco-economic benefits that merit further study.


These three studies showed that switching to mouth breathing contributed to decreased lung function and exacerbated asthma: and

The beneficial effect of nasal breathing on exercise-induced broncho-constriction

This study suggests that breathing through the mouth compared to breathing through the nose play important roles in the causation of exercise-induced asthma.

The authors state that children with nasal respiration, age 8 and above, present with better posture than those who continue oral breathing beyond age 8. The importance of picture documentation is stressed in order to provide the most information regarding postural changes. A review of research and literature is provided in the article. Int J Orofacial Myology. 2000 Nov;26:13-23.Relationship between mouth breathing and postural alterations of children: a descriptive analysis. Krakauer LH, Guilherme A.

In 2011, Brazilian researchers Okuro and colleagues from Campinas State University conducted a study to evaluate exercise tolerance, respiratory muscle strength and body posture in mouth breathing compared to nasal breathing children. Examination revealed that 80% of mouth breathing and 48.4% of nasal breathing children had abnormal cervical posture and breathing pattern. Researchers concluded that “mouth breathing children had cervical spine postural changes and decreased respiratory muscle strength compared with nasal breathing.”

Mouth breathing and forward head posture: effects on respiratory biomechanics and exercise capacity in children. Okuro RT, Morcillo AM, Ribeiro MÂ, Sakano E, Conti PB, Ribeiro JD.

Assessment of the body posture of mouth-breathing children and adolescents. Conti PB, Sakano E, Ribeiro MA, Schivinski CI, Ribeiro JD.

Relationship between oral breathing and nasal obstruction in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.Acta Otolaryngol Suppl. 1996;523:228-30.

How does open-mouth breathing influence upper airway anatomy? Laryngoscope. 2007 Jun;117(6):1102-6.

Habitual snoring in primary school children: prevalence and association with sleep-related disorders and school performance. Med Princ Pract. 2009;18(6):458-65. Epub 2009 Sep 30.

Sogut A, Yilmaz O, Dinc G, Yuksel H, Prevalence of habitual snoring and symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing in adolescents. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2009 Dec;73(12):1769-73. Epub 2009 Oct 20.

There is no doubt that mouth breathing is a significant causal factor for snoring and sleep apnea in both adults and children.

Study on the effects of mouth breathing and ADD:
"The vast majority of health care professionals are unaware of the negative impact of upper airway obstruction (mouth breathing) on normal facial growth and physiologic health. Children whose mouth breathing is untreated may develop long, narrow faces, narrow mouths, high palatal vaults, dental malocclusion, gummy smiles, and many other unattractive facial features, such as skeletal Class II or Class III facial profiles. These children do not sleep well at night due to obstructed airways; this lack of sleep can adversely affect their growth and academic performance. Many of these children are misdiagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and hyperactivity. It is important for the entire health care community (including general and pediatric dentists) to screen and diagnose for mouth breathing in adults and in children as young as 5 years of age. If mouth breathing is treated early, its negative effect on facial and dental development and the medical and social problems associated with it can be reduced or averted." (From Patrick McKeown's site

Authors of the paper entitled, "Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and sleep disorder," note that "there is a clear correlation between ADHD and sleep disorders" and "by improving these children's sleep, the symptoms of ADHD are diminished and thus avoid the need to administer psychostimulants, which have undesirable side effects that produce a great deal of anxiety in the parents of these children." (From Patrick McKeown's site

"Children undergoing evaluation for ADHD should be systematically assessed for sleep disturbances because treatment of sleep disorders is often associated with improved symptomatology and decreased need for stimulants." (From Patrick McKeown's site

In a paper entitled, "A practical approach to allergic rhinitis and sleep disturbance management," Davies et al. comments that "sleep quality can be significantly impacted by nasal congestion. This may lead to decreased learning ability, productivity at work or school, and a reduced quality of life." (From Patrick McKeown's site


    *Buteyko South Africa 5 day Adjunct health program runs for 2 hours per day over five consecutive days. This is highly recommended for serious illness requiring chronic medications.
    *Buteyko South Africa Intensive 3 day program runs for 2 hours per day over three consecutive days

    Click on each to contact via email:



    MONTAGU, (180km from Cape Town, near Robertson on R62).
    Buteyko SA founder:
    Melody Mitchell

    VILLIERSDORP: (2 hours from Cape Town, near Caledon via N2)
    Buteyko SA Educator:
    Erika Norrie
    Buteyko SA Associate Educator:
    Glenn Norrie

    STILBAAI: (2.5 Hrs from CT via N2)
    Buteyko SA Associate Educator:
    Laetitia Duminy

    BBA Educator and Buteyko SA Affiliate Educator
    Bea Coetzee

    By appointment only, please email to set up your personal assessment and tailored sessions

    Are you interested in a rewarding career as a trained Buteyko South Africa Educator? Buteyko South Africa offers Educator / Practitioner training in the Buteyko Method.

    May 2024
    Ten Day training in Montagu (for existing health practitioners):
    50 hour on site training course
    10 hrs observation
    3 years Mentorship
    membership of Buteyko South Africa Educator Association
    Additional CPD training annually
    Space limited
    Please email for more information.

    Melody Mitchell is available to speak at workplace health days, conferences or other wellness related events. Btwn R990 and R1990/hr or part thereof for upwards of five people..

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