The Buteyko Method For Snoring
Today, snoring happens to be a real and tangible issue among most people, yet still remains one of the most ignored and overlooked .Left untreated a snoring condition can actually progress to develop into a more complex health complication like high blood pressure, heart attack and sleep apnea. Most people think that snoring is a condition that can’t be controlled but what most people don’t actually realise is that with the right solutions, snoring may be controlled or even better eliminated altogether.
You may or may not have heard of this unique method before. At first the Buteyko method for snoring may appear to be a little unusual and indeed you may be wondering how it actually works and if it’s even that effective.
However, the major issue that most people always have with snoring remedies is using inferior and indeed incorrect anti-snore devices to begin with. Many of these devices especially the cheaper types can be rather uncomfortable and rudimentary in their design. So if you don’t like the idea of using an anti-snore device, there are still other methods of controlling snoring naturally. One of the methods that piqued our interest during some research was the Buteyko breathing method for snoring.
If you have heard about this breathing method and felt a little sceptical you are probably not alone many others have probably felt the same way. We were too on first reading however the buteyko method has been proven to treat many different disorders in many people by simply focussing on breathing techniques!
The Buteyko method is a common remedy for many asthma patients however it actually helps with snoring patients and has even helped people with anxiety issues too. The Buteyko therapy features a great deal of exercises that are aimed at improving the person’s breathing patterns and lifestyle changes that support lighter breathing. And the best part is that you don’t have to use any medication or anti-snore products to see the benefits of this method. Buteyko is a natural remedy and can help your snoring condition, so it’s certainly worth considering. Many people are unaware that there is a right and a wrong way to breathe. Breathing the wrong way can lead to future health issues and can cause symptoms like anxiety and even effect your immune system.
Background Information on Dr. Buteyko and His Theory
Konstantin Buteyko is a Ukrainian doctor who in the 1950s developed a series of breathing exercises that were aimed addressing a couple of medical conditions that he believed were associated with Chronic Hyperventilation. Although there’s not much about his medical research on the same, there was some evidence that his assumptions were somehow right and his methods could actually benefit especially asthma patients.
The patients through using this method were able to control and maintain their lung function in order to facilitate better functioning and efficiency. The Buteyko breathing exercises have endured with many advocates of his theory taking it upon themselves to promote the usefulness of his methods. We might not necessarily subscribe to all the theories introduced by Buteyko but there is a whole lot of anecdotal evidence that supports his work.
According to Dr. Buteyko’s methods, nasal breathing is a preferred thing during most exercises. This is because it keeps the rate of the body’s heart beat down and increases the endurance and leads to better oxygenation of the blood in the body. This is a method that traces its roots back from the Tarahumara tribe who are known for their abilities to run for long distances and in many cases have led a higher quality of life for these people. This is because they focused on breathing through their noses during all their long runs.
This breathing theory is also supported by yoga practitioners as they advocate for what is called the Pranayama Nasal Passage Breathing. This is on the basis that nasal breathing promotes optimal oxygenation in the brain as well as the lungs and blood the two theories drive towards the same point.
The bottom line on this issue is that when you fine tune your breathing and embrace the breathing exercises our bodies were designed for, you are bound to have positive outcomes with your snoring situation and indeed improve your overall wellbeing also.
What is the Buteyko Method?
Now that we have finally arrived at the real question, what really is the Buteyko method? Well in its most basic form, this is a technique that includes a compiled list of breathing exercises and techniques that are aimed at improving your breathing.
Most of the exercises involved in the Buteyko method emphasize the importance that patients breathe through the nose instead of using the mouth.
Other exercises used in the Buteyko method are meant to ensure that you breathe with controlled pauses in between the exercises, so that your body gets used to less breathing. By training yourself to breathe less, you are also training your body to stop having panic attacks and you begin to control and reduce the level of anxiety you feel as a result.
It has been proven that using the Buteyko method techniques will make your body more relaxed on a regular basis. The key principles that govern the Buteyko methods is that over breathing is believed to have a high negative effect on people’s health and wellbeing.
Every time you over breathe your body will tend to expel most of the essential gases needed for optimum balance. The imbalance in oxygen and carbon dioxide levels means you are essentially exposing your body to deprivation by over breathing.
Signs That You Might Be Over Breathing
There are some common signs that you might not be breathing the correct way which may be contributing to your snoring and indeed perhaps other associated conditions. These signs of incorrect breathing are often taken for granted until they are pointed out. They include the following;
- Loud breathing during your resting period
- Deep breathing prior to having a conversation
- Deep breathes via the upper chest
Therefore, the Buteyko principles argue that when you make it a habit to over breathe, your body will always experience chronic deprivation of oxygen. This in most cases may lead to certain health complications such as a vulnerability to certain diseases and impairment of certain organs in the body.
In short the Buteyko principles on over breathing argues that habitual excessive breathing is one of the major contributors of chronic health problems that our bodies may be experiencing today. This theory argues that when a patient learns how to fine tune their breathing mechanisms, they can finally counter most of these associated health complications.
Generally, the Buteyko method is not just a method that tries to limit someone from over breathing. It is actually a method that tries to actively involve the body in the right breathing procedures through the following ways;
- Unblocking of the nasal passages by using breathing exercises that focus on holding the breathe
- Relaxation of the diaphragm in order to create air affinity in the lungs
- Practice of the mouth to nose techniques of breathing
- The use of the breathe hold tests which measures and tracks the progress of less breathing challenge
- Improving a patient’s long term breathing habits through changing their lifestyle positively
So how exactly can the Buteyko method actually benefit snorers and people with sleep problems like insomnia? Keep reading to find out;
Understanding the Buteyko Method Exercises
Snoring is a condition that is caused by the turbulent flow of air through very narrow nasal passages. However, since the human body is naturally set to be adaptive, it is capable of making necessary transformations to itself with training and habit forming practices.
Snorers are not always able to close their mouths completely while breathing during sleep. So when awake, you can practice the nasal breathing techniques using the Buteyko exercises. This will enable you to gain control of breathing entirely through your nasal passages which will also form the habit while you sleep at night and so eliminate your mouth snoring.
The exercises undertaken with the Buteyko methods are not some exerting gymnastics like jumping up and down or push-ups. They are more of natural yet simple exercises that are used to focus one’s control over how they breathe. They also focus on how you can reprogram and adapt your brain for it to adapt to slower breathing.
The best thing about these exercise is that you don’t have to necessarily set a schedule and a room for it. It’s something you can do from the convenience of wherever you are at any time during the day. The exercises are generally taught to a target group by an expert practitioner. They can be learnt in precisely 5 different 90 minute sessions within a period of 4 and 8 weeks.
The practitioner simply gives you the guidelines and outline on how to perform all of these exercises, while giving you the space to practice all of them to perfection. Your practitioner will keep tabs of the progress you make over a period of a few weeks in order to see how much control you have gained over your breathing.
Some of the Buteyko Breathing Exercises include;
- Nose unlocking exercises
- Breathe volume normalisation exercises. Includes placing hands on the chest and tummy
- Finger blocking the nostril for normalising your breathing volume
- Hands cupping the face for normalising the breathing volume
- Walking with the diaphragm breathing exercise
- Walking while making breathe holds. This creates a form of light air hunger in the body
- Walking while making breathe holds to create a stronger air hunger
- Light air hunger steps for anxiety, asthma and panic attacks patients
- Medium or strong air hunger steps for teenagers and small children
- Many small mini pauses\breathe holds
- Relaxation of the body to create some level of air hunger
If the above list at first seems a little complicated don’t worry. There are books and indeed practitioners that will explain each one so you will get the most out of them.
Besides the list of exercises that you should undertake to eliminate snoring using the Buteyko method, you should also maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine to achieve ultimate results. By eating a well-balanced diet and exercising your body on a daily basis while avoiding any forms of air pollution, you will get prompt and measurable results.
Most of the patients who are placed on a Buteyko exercise plan tend to recover from snoring faster when there is involvement of physical exercises, and healthy dieting too.
Ways in which Buteyko Stops Snoring
Buteyko operates under the basic idea that your body is capable of thriving and remaining healthy by embracing the nasal breathing exercises outlined. These exercises help to clear your nasal passages of any obstructions that may result in restrictions and indeed snoring.
It is worth pointing out that this method is not 100% documented and clinically approved that it can be used to treat sleep apnea or indeed even stop snoring. There are many non-invasive treatments for snoring that can be used to help you have a good night sleep. Most of these products include snoring mouthpieces and nasal dilators.
However, despite the option of treatment that you happen to choose you should try to make sure that you consult with a doctor so that you can come up with a personalized effective treatment plan. In most severe cases, patients who suffer from snoring are more likely to suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea too. Here are some of the signs that what you might be dealing with might actually be OSA.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
As some of you might be aware sleep apnea can be a potentially very serious condition. It has strong links with chronic snoring and as a result if you are experiencing excessively loud habitual snoring spells it may be best, to get assessed by a suitably qualified sleep or indeed a snoring specialist. Some of the most common signals for sleep apnea include;
Disruptive Loud Snoring
This is a nightmare for many people. You literary cannot catch any sleep when sleeping beside a person who is suffering from such a sleep disorder. The loud snores could be keeping both you and your bed partner awake throughout the night. If your snores are becoming too much, that is not entirely normal. Especially if it happens on a regular basis.
Drowsiness During the Day
If you are always feeling sleepy and tired during the day, this might actually be a red flag. Most of the people who experience drowsiness in the middle of the day are victims of severe snoring. This is a sign that they never get enough night rest due to snoring.
Dry Mouth in the Morning
Dry mouth in the morning is also another sign of sleep apnea or rather severe snoring. Snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea and in cases where you snore using your mouth, your mouth as well as your throat becomes dry. This is one of the most common indicators that you are chronic snorer at night.
One of the worst things to experience in the morning is waking up to a ramming headache. In most cases, the headache is caused by a lack of enough oxygen in the brain and body during the night. Sleep apnea patients tend to experience short lapses where they totally stop breathing for a few seconds.
This may occur once or indeed may even happen a hundred times during the night. Due to the lack of oxygen in the other parts in your body there might be an urgent need to address this issue before it leads to other related complications like heart attacks.
For you to solve your snoring problems in most case, you may be best to identify the root cause of the abnormal breathing patterns in your body. When this issue is addressed you essentially don’t have to breathe forcefully at night as you sleep. Correct breathing patterns ensure that your upper air way is never narrowed hence allowing your body to have a free air flow with or without the use of machines or devices.
The Buteyko technique proves to be one of the best ways to recalibrate the automatic breathing pattern we develop so that it can operate at the right level. Instead of ditching your CPAP machine if you suffer from sleep apnea, it is advisable that you use them alongside the Buteyko exercises since in the case of sleep apnea it is a severe condition that will require you to use treatment devices at the very beginning.
If you would like to learn more about the Buteyko method there are some good resources like books and even people who teach the process first hand. It may be worthwhile considering this method for your snoring condition especially if you have any of the disorders it has proven to be effective with like asthma, anxiety and a whole host of others including insomnia.
With regards to snoring we know that most anti-snoring devices and products focus on adjusting the airflow into the body whether it is using a nasal dilator or an anti-snoring mouthpiece or chin strap. The Buteyko breathing methods are just another natural way to control this airflow using the correct breathing techniques. The Buteyko methods may take a little time to perfect and master so if you are looking for instant stop snoring results you might be better trying on of the various anti snore products mentioned. First you should determine What Type of Snorer you are. Then you will be able to select the best product and anti snore solution available to help you eliminate or at worst, tone down your snoring. It is also worth noting that by understanding and using the Buteyko methods will almost certainly help when combined with an anti-snore product or device.
Check out the Snorefocus Blog for more useful posts to help you solve your snoring issue and indeed improve your sleep.