Asthma, Breathing Exercises & Steroid Use

Reference:Bowler SD, Green A, Mitchell CA. Buteyko breathing techniques in asthma: a blinded randomized controlled trial. Med J Aust. 1998 Dec 7-21;169(11-12):575-8.

Buteyko breathing technique (BBT) is a controversial method of helping children and adults deal with symptoms of asthma. Although this method is well known in Australia, New Zealand and Europe, it hasn’t gained popularity in North America quite yet.

This was one of the first blinded RCTs that evaluated the effects of Buteyko breathing. The study was funded by the Australian Association of Asthma Foundation and compared the effects of BBT with control classes in patients aged 12 to 70 years with asthma.

Summary of Results at 3-months:



  • Daily inhaled steroid dose fell by 49% for the BBT group and 0% for the control group 
  • Beta-agonist use (i.e. Puffer use) decreased by 90% for the BBT group and 9% for the control group

    Clinical Relevance: A relatively simple breathing exercise program involving education on nose breathing and reducing the depth of breathing has been demonstrated to be effective in some individuals with Asthma.

    Personal Comment:There are no adverse effects associated with the Buteyko approach and no equipment, gadgets or product is required for the exercises. (i.e. no 3 easy payments of $49.99)

    Example of an advise/exercise: Resist the urge to cough. If you absolutely must cough, instead of opening your mouth wide, keep your moth closed to minimize CO2 loss. Cough as if you are just clearing your throat!

    Posted on: December 03, 2009


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