Optimal breathing, Buteyko?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 04, 2011 at 9:59 AM

What's the scientific view on the optimal breathing and best ways to achieve it? The most scientific method I could find is Buteyko method that basically challenges conventional wisdom seriously stating that in fact shallow slow breathing is healthy and deep breathing is the worst thing somebody can do to their health. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buteyko_method

But again, I'm not sure whether scientific basis is sufficient. I tried searching at pub med but as I'm not a qualified MD, it would be great to read some short (but credible) summary. Did anybody in Paleo community covered the topic of breathing? One thing that everybody seems to agree upon is that it's better to breathe through nose instead of mouth.

Update: I'm trying to figure out the healthiest way to breathe in a situation when you don't have any issues like asthma not in a situation when you need to mitigate the symptoms. I personally notice that throughout a day I sometimes start breathing deeper & quicker which is bad according to Buteyko theory. But is it really so?

Also, what's your personal experience?

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6 Answers


on September 13, 2011
at 02:14 AM

Really interesting question

Buteyko made a huge difference to me when I found out about it 5 years, ago attemting to improve my asthma (though coincidently that has completely cured itself, since I've been eating Paleo).

Breathing seems to be a huge issue - I saw Orthodontist Mike Mews do this fantastic lecture at the AHS (watch the second half) where he talks about how mouth breathing changes the shape of your jaw, leading to overcrowding and crooked teeth.

I think breathing is something we should not have to think about - there are obviously reasons why we do it wrong. I think allergies are worthy of investigation, as that seems to be a key factor in why a lot of people mouth breath.

Nose breathing I'm sure gives a far better nights sleep and many other benefits.

Buteyko encourages you to nose breathe by taping your mouth at night - and in Orthotropics I believe they actually fix something to a childs jaws to make mouth breathing very difficult to do. So perhaps some kind of physical intervention is necessary to change a long-term breathing habit?



on September 12, 2011
at 08:41 PM

Yes there is actual evidence, summarized in this article http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/03/health/03brod.html

Good for anyone no matter what their health, as well.


on September 12, 2011
at 05:19 PM

Buteyko changed my life. I haven't taken asthma medication in 5 years, and I had been taking it 5 times a day.

Google it and try it ... Konstantin Buteyko, the developer of the method, thought it was refined foods that were causing bronchodilation in people with a genetic susceptibility.



on September 12, 2011
at 08:29 PM

I've heard references to scientific backing for diaphragmatic breathing, which intersects with the emphasis in the Far Eastern traditions of breathing from the energetic center below the navel (dantien/tanden). Crucial to properly practicing this is to focus on breathing out more than you breathe in, allowing the inbreath to be relatively effortless and the outbreath to be long, deliberate and slow. The belly rises and falls and the chest stays relaxed. My experience with this in martial arts, zen meditation and athletic practice is nothing but positive. Moshe Feldenkrais said we should breathe like babies, who breathe with their bellies... However we have a versatile body... that there is more than one technique out there doesn't mean any one of them is "the one."



on August 04, 2011
at 01:11 PM

Optimal beathing - the Alexander Technique



on August 04, 2011
at 11:44 AM

i encurage you to do so. i find breathing very good. and get off a lot tensions.

you will probably also find studies on yoga taichi and other popular asian breathing movements.

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