Does Breathing Training Work for Asthma Management?

For years, there has been public interest in breathing modification techniques as an adjunct treatment of asthma. Surveys suggest that 30% of people with asthma use them, often without the knowledge of their physicians.

Many clinicians remain sceptical regarding breathing training in asthma, which may be due to some exaggerated claims linked to training 'packages' including the Buteyko method.

Recent trials have investigated a variety of breathing training programmes. Most of them focused on slow, regular, nasal, abdominal breathing and reduced ventilation.

Current evidence suggests that breathing training programmes can be effective in improving patient-reported outcomes such as symptoms, quality of life and psychological impact. It may also reduce the use of rescue bronchodilator medication (e.g. albuterol). However, there is little evidence that airways physiology, hyper-responsiveness or inflammation is affected by such training.


The Role of Breathing Training in Asthma Management. Anne Bruton; Mike Thomas. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011;11(1):53-57, Medscape, 2011.

A large Buteyko asthma study will be conducted in New Zealand in 2012

Image source: "Lung Plush from I Love Guts: I Lung You!" available from Toys & Games.

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