HOW TO STOP COUGHING AND WHEEZING WITH MANY SMALL BUTEYKO BREATH HOLDS
This exercise suits everybody. It is especially suited to older people and those with severe asthma, emphysema or any of the conditions in category 2. It is very useful during panic attacks, stress and asthma attacks. It will produce results similar to the old brown paper bag exercise but is a lot safer as oxygen levels are maintained.
Many small buteyko breath holds can be practiced thousands of time per day. In fact a severe asthmatic or person with emphysema should practice this all day and into the night. It is gentle, suits older people and will dramatically reduce symptoms.
Many small buteyko breath holds to reduce symptoms (attack)
Do many small buteyko breath holds of 2-5 seconds each.
- Breathe in, breathe out and hold your breath.
- Hold your breath for 2-5 seconds. Do not try to hold your breath for longer than 2 to 5 seconds because it would only increase breathing, which may aggravate your symptoms. Your maximum breath hold should be no greater than half your Control Pause at that time. (For example if your CP is 4 seconds, then do small breath hold for 2 seconds only)
- After each breath hold, breathe normally for 10 to 15 seconds. Donâ€™t interfere with your breathing.
- Continue to do a small breath hold followed by gentle breathing for 10 to 15 seconds until symptoms have passed.
Generally an asthma attack, which is a period of breathing difficulty, does not occur without advanced notice. In most situations, the person will feel a gradual tightness of the airways, an increased blocked nose, and/or the beginnings of a wheeze etc. When one feels the first symptoms of an attack, it is very helpful to do Many small buteyko breath holds straight away.
VERY IMPORTANT: TAKE MEDICATION
Buteyko breathing exercises will only alleviate asthma when applied during the early stages of symptoms. If an asthma attack has been occurring for more than five minutes it will be a lot more difficult to control using Buteyko breathing exercises, especially if your normal CP is less than 20 seconds.
After 5 minutes of an attack take your medication. (If you are having a severe attack – take your medication immediately). If you are not responding to your medication within 5 minutes, seek medical attention immediately.
Very important: these techniques are to be used in conjunction with normal day-to-day treatment. Make sure to continue your preventative medication and take relievers when necessary.
Part B. Many small buteyko breath holds used to stop Coughing Attack One of the symptoms of asthma is coughing. There is no such thing as a â€œproductive coughâ€ as commonly perceived. All coughing is a stress to the body, can cause vomiting, broken ribs and other symptoms. If you wish to expectorate mucus from your lungs, practice EXERCISE 1 or 6, depending on what suits you.
Some people are more prone to bouts of coughing than others. The problem is not with a once-off cough, but an episode of coughing which can be difficult to stop. Coughing attacks tend to be more frequent at night or early morning. Frequent coughing is very disruptive of breathing.
Through the Buteyko courses, I have worked with hundreds of people who spend a large part of their day coughing and for the vast majority the cause was over breathing. When these people were taught to correct their breathing and increase their Buteyko CP, their coughing was eliminated. It does not matter what type of cough you have – it can be a wet cough or a dry bark – nor does it matter when the cough takes place; it might be during the middle of the night, or while talking or during any other activity. In all cases, the frequency and duration of coughing should improve as your CP increases. You will frequently cough until your morning Buteyko CP is 20 seconds or your Steps score is greater than 60. You will have symptoms with a trigger until your morning CP is 40 seconds and/or your Steps score is 80-100.
The Coughing Cycle:
Prior to coughing, you take a big breath and then cough resulting in a forced expiration of air.
This forced expiration increases breathing volume, which will result in another cough. The cycle has begun: another big breath, another cough, and another forced expiration and so the merry-go-round continues.
This cycle can be broken by taking the following approach:
- Try to suppress your cough and not to cough at all. You will experience a ticklish feeling in your throat, but after a while the urge to cough should decline. Swallowing or holding your breath will help to curb your urge to cough.
- Do not force mucus from your lungs. Mucus protects your airways and is part of your bodyâ€™s defense against Carbon Dioxide loss. Forcing it to come up without addressing your breathing will lead to the creation of more mucus.
- Instead, reduce your breathing or hold your breath and the mucus will come up naturally due to the dilation of your airways. It can then be swallowed and will dissolve harmlessly in the acid of your stomach, or you can spit it out if the circumstances are appropriate.
- If you need to cough, try to cough only through your nose.
The main point to remember is that the big breath and forced exhalation that constitutes a cough will only perpetuate your cycle of coughing. Being conscious of this will reduce the attack.
Remember, the more you cough, the more you will need to cough.
Do Many small buteyko breath holds as described above until the coughing attack has stopped. This may take a few hours, especially if the cough is persistent. You will find that this exercise will greatly shorten the duration of your cough and will reduce the need for oral steroid intervention.
In my clinic, I have been able to stop the coughing attacks of many people with this exercise. It is important that you make deliberate efforts to try and calm or suppress the cough. During fits, do as many small buteyko breath holds as possible to get the cough under control.
Similar to having a wheezing attack, if you are having a severe attack, take your medication and/or seek medical attention immediately.