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News and articles about Buteyko and BIBH members.

Fad remedy for asthma wins favour
Source: Melbourne Age (Thursday, October 23, 2003)
Link: http://newsstore.theage.com.au/apps/viewDocument.ac?docID=AGE031023F2KGP11ETE4

Fad remedy for asthma wins favour
By Julie Robotham
Melbourne Age October 23, 2003

A controversial alternative technique to control the symptoms of asthma by restricting air intake may be about to be reconsidered by the medical establishment that had condemned it.
Doctors in Sydney and at Melbourne's Alfred hospital are investigating whether the debilitating lung constrictions of asthma can be controlled by breathing differently - the cornerstone of the Buteyko method, which had been written off as a dangerous fad.
Study leader Christine Jenkins said that in early results, patients in Australia's first mainstream investigation of controlled breathing in asthma were reducing their reliance on medicines such as Ventolin. "Patients are loving the study because they're feeling better," said Dr Jenkins, head of the Targeting Treatment project at the Co-operative Research Centre for Asthma.
Participants were being trained to use various techniques, including nasal or mouth breathing, different depths and frequencies of breathing and altered muscle use. They are taught everyday techniques, along with others to use during an asthma attack. Dr Jenkins, who wants to recruit more people for the six-month trial, said the doctors who examined patients did not know which method they had been taught.
But one thing was already clear: a high proportion of the 40 who had already graduated were healthier than when they started.
"A lot of our subjects are doing very well. They're reducing their Ventolin use...," said Dr Jenkins, who described the results as unexpected.
She said that over the past five to 10 years there had been bitter and longstanding acrimony between respiratory physicians and teachers of the yoga-like Buteyko.
The Buteyko cause had been undermined by its proponents' "zealotry" and early claims that converts would be able to dispense with their medication, which had "alienated scientists rather than help them come to grips with what might be the kernels of truth in it". Some asthma doctors had also been prejudiced against the techniques.
"It's been difficult to persuade everyone (the study) needed to be done," Dr Jenkins said. And pharmaceutical industry agendas, which emphasised drug approaches over natural techniques, had also been a factor in researchers' neglect of breathing methods.
Sydney Buteyko practitioner Roger Price said Dr Jenkins's study was "good news". Buteyko raised a patient's carbon dioxide levels, meaning muscle could not go into spasm. The technique could cut medication use by 96 per cent, he said.
Mr Price said doctors already tacitly acknowledged Buteyko's theory by recommending swimming, which limited breathing while consuming oxygen through body movement.
Alfred respiratory specialist Frank Thien, a member of the study team, said it was too early to draw conclusions but certain patients would find breathing techniques useful to control asthma.
- with Sasha Shtargot

Original link: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/10/22/1066631498886.htm (Has since been moved to Age Archive)

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