The Buteyko method or Buteyko Breathing Technique is a practice used for the treatment of asthma and assist with other respiratory relate conditions. The method takes its name from the late Ukrainian doctor Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko who first formulated its principles during the 1960s. The method is a physical therapy and several small clinical trials have shown that it can safely reduce asthma symptoms and the need for rescue medication, as well as increasing quality of life scores. However, improvement takes time and commitment, requiring daily exercises over a period of weeks or months.
At the core of the Buteyko method is a series of breathing exercises that focus on nasal-breathing, breath-holding and relaxation. Buteyko's theory was that asthmatics "chronically overbreathe" and the exercises are designed to teach asthmatics to breathe less. The goal is to retrain breathing to a normal pattern, akin to certain forms of Yoga.
The British Guideline on the Management of Asthma 2008 grants permission for health professionals in the United Kingdom to recommend Buteyko, stating that the method "may be considered to help patients control the symptoms of asthma". The guideline also grades clinical research on Buteyko with a 'B' classification - indicating that high quality supporting clinical trials are available. No other complementary therapy has been endorsed by this body for the treatment of asthma.