By sheer chance the day I am writing this blog post is also World Asthma Day.
Provision, support and expertise for asthma in the NHS always seem far better than for other conditions, like eczema and allergies. Asthma can kill, quite quickly if not controlled and managed well, so this makes sense and coupled with allergies as well, if asthma is stable any allergic reaction will be less severe and easier to treat.
It’s woven into other conditions like hay fever, which can cause asthma and breathing problems as well as itchy eyes and nose as well as allergies which can trigger asthma reactions so it’s vitally important it’s under control. The immune system of someone with asthma is highly sensitive and can be affected by many air borne allergens and other stimuli such as stress and foods.
Are you a mouth breather?
Every time I visit my local asthma nurse I learn something new. They remind me to book a visit regularly, at least every six months and often more frequently when peak flow and asthma are worryingly not controlled.
Compare that to allergy treatment and it’s so far removed it’s not real. I have to BEG to get seen about my allergies but that’s another story. I am finally getting better treatment on that front, in another county…
Thankfully my asthma is improving at the moment, a combination of identifying one of my asthma triggers as soya milk and also managing to get fitter, not always easy when you fear an asthma attack or struggle to breathe when your heart rate is up. Spring and summer are always better for my asthma, I think the cold and damp don’t help my symptoms.
This visit was no different. Fiona, my asthma nurse, informed me that I was a ‘mouth breather’.
Which makes me think of nuisance callers and heavy breathers! Are you a mouth breather?
I’ve never heard this phrase before, but I most definitely am. This is probably a learnt habit from childhood when my sinuses were always blocked, making nose breathing almost impossible anyway. When hay fever strikes or an allergen affects your breathing, the nose often becomes blocked, but we then begin to favour mouth breathing, which is not good.
The nose is stuffed (get the pun?) with little hairs which filter out allergens and stop a lot of stuff we breath in from getting into the body, hence why it does sometimes get blocked up – it is the first line of defence against air borne allergens.
But atopic people who have hay fever, asthma and allergies have a habit of bypassing that unreliable nose and breathing through our mouths. What this means is that allergens go straight into your body and reach the blood stream much more quickly, cause asthma and generally make everything worse.
So how do we change this habit?
What is Buteyko breathing
This is what it says on the Buteyko Centre website:
“The Buteyko Method is a set of breathing exercises developed by Dr K P Buteyko to develop healthy breathing patterns, which help to maintain the correct ratio of oxygen and carbon dioxide within the bloodstream.
According to his research, some 150 diseases are linked to dysfunctional breathing: asthma, allergies and emphysema are just a few examples. More than 40 years of research have produced the Buteyko Method, which can recondition and normalise the breathing and restore the body’s most important function.
Many thousands of asthmatics and those with breathing difficulties have experienced remarkable improvement in their condition with this amazing Method, which has allowed them to reduce their dependency on medication and enjoy a quality of life they previously thought impossible.
Asthma – intrinsic, extrinsic, allergic and Exercise Induced. Responds very well to the Buteyko method. Clinical trials showed that asthmatics can expect up to 96% reduction in reliever medication within three months of starting a course of intruction. “
You can watch a video showing you how to do Buteyko Breathing on YouTube here:
If you search YouTube there are loads of videos to watch which will give you an idea what this technique is all about.
There is a Buteyko Breathing centre which runs courses if you’re interested at http://www.buteyko.co.uk/
Now I don’t know if this technique works or whether the video above is going to help anyone but the more I read about this technique the more intrigued I am.
Has anyone else tried it? It looks like you need to either pay for a training session or buy a DVD showing you how to do it.