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specialist respiratory physiotherapy


Until 1994, all research into the Buteyko method was carried out in Russia where the technique originated. As the technique was introduced to Australia the first serious trial outside Russia was carried out. In Brisbane, Dr. Simon Bowler, a consultant chest physician, concluded that following the Buteyko regime for 3 months led to a reduction in bronchodilator use by an average of 90%. He also found that using Buteyko did not reduce quality of life.

A later trial in Gisbourne, New Zealand resulted in similar findings with significantly less bronchodilator and steroid being required.

The largest trial of Buteyko was conducted more recently by Jill McGowan in Glasgow, where again a significant reduction in asthma medication, both reliever and preventor, was seen.

Over the last 10 years, there has been an increasing amount of research into the effects of breathing and relaxation techniques to help reduce asthma symptoms. So far no trial of the Buteyko method has shown a negative outcome. It remains the most effective drug-free method in the relief of asthma symptoms.

Buteyko is now recommended by the British Thoracic Society and is documented in the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN guidelines).


  1. McFadden ERJ, Lyons HA ‘Arterial blood gas tension in asthma’ N Engl J Med 1968 278:1027-32
  2. Hurwitz K et al ‘Interpretation of Eucapnic Voluntary Hyperventilation in the Diagnosis of Asthma’ Chest 1995; 108:1240-45
  3. Bowler SD et al ‘Buteyko breathing techniques in asthma: a blinded randomised controlled trial’ Med J Aust 1998 169:575-578
  4. Opat AJ et al ‘A clinical trial of the Buteyko Breathing Technique in Asthma as taught by a video’ J Asthma 2000 37:557-564
  5. Cooper S et al ‘Effect of two breathing exercises (Buteyko and pranayama) in asthma: a randomised controlled trial’ Thorax 2003 58:674-679
  6. McHugh P et al ‘Buteyko Breathing Technique for asthma: an effective intervention’ N Z Med J 2003 116 : U710
  7. Slader CA. et al ‘Double blind randomised controlled trial of two different breathing techniques in the management of asthma’. Thorax 2006 61(8):651-6
  8. Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network + British Thoracic Society ‘British Guideline on the Management of Asthma’ 2003. (available at