Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Nurses to be trained to teach Buteyko Breathing Technique to asthmatics


A new course to train nurses how to teach the Buteyko Breathing Technique to people with asthma has been launched by Coventry University and the Buteyko Breathing Association.

Included in the British Guidelines on the Management of Asthma this year, the Buteyko Breathing Technique – or Buteyko – is recognised as an effective treatment for asthma, but this is the first time it has been taught in a university setting.

Buteyko is a system of breathing exercises and education based on clinical evidence that asthmatics tend to ‘over-breathe’. It aims to teach people how to breathe less by improving control over their respiratory muscles, increasing tolerance of the feeling of breathlessness, and relaxation.

The new six-day, masters-level course is designed to provide nurses and other health care professionals with the knowledge and experience to teach Buteyko.

Gillian Austin, a clinical specialist physiotherapist at the Lister Hospital in Hertfordshire, has been teaching the technique for more than four years.

‘It is my vision for Buteyko classes to be taught in every hospital, school and health club, and in order to meet this aim many more Buteyko teachers will need to be trained,’ she said.

Anyone interested in attending the six-day course – which will run in June - should contact course leader Julie Sellars or module leader Nicky Knowles


Readers' comments (5)

  • Christine Bauman

    As a Buteyko practitioner and trainer, I am deeply concerned that this program for nurses being developed is lacking. A very important component is using Buteyko for one's own health and improved breathing. After this, trainees observe and teach 30 - 50 patients under the trainer's supervision before they are considered safely trained. I urge you to re-visit the curriculum.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I am delighted to see progress in the provision of the Buteyko Method on the NHS and look forward to the day when every asthma patient may have this as a choice of route. However I do feel anxious about the severely reduced training being given compared with other establish courses.
    Perhaps this will be recognized on the course and follow up courses developed to close the gap?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • As a Buteyko Instructor since the early '90's, and author of 'The Buteyko Manual for Asthma - How to grow out of Asthma as quickly as humanly possible" in 1996 - I am very pleased to hear that mainstream medicine in picking up on this method.

    I wrote the Manual at a time when there was huge demand for the training - and a massive shortage of trained instructors. It was designed as a "not as good as a Workshop - but will still help" tool. At the time it was the first publication that explained clearly "how" to do the method rather than just talk about it.

    At the time there was significant outrage from the existing practitioners - as there existed the belief that ONLY trained instructors were both effective and safe.

    I disagreed with that assumption then - as I do now. Many thousands have benefited from my book - or from the free chapter of instructions that I give away for children's asthma. For the vast majority of people there is no risk if the simple protocols are followed.

    Having a trained instructor - even if only for 8 days - is a huge step up from a simple book.

    More importantly I see this as a significant early step in absorption of this information into "accepted" medicine - where it will spread simply because it works. I see the future "Buteyko Instructor" being the parents of infants and the teachers at Kindergartens. "This is how you brush your teeth - this is how you breathe after exertion.."

    If the asthmatic process of a 4 year lold can be stopped simply by showing her how to cough differently (and I have done this hundreds of times), and that changes her life from that point on - then bring it on!

    Congratulations to Coventry University and the BBA.

    James Hooper
    Townsville, Australia

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • For anyone wanting to refer patients to a free book source, I do have my book "Escape from Asthma" as a free download on my site As the previous writer says I too wanted to get this simple, effective aid for asthma patients across to as many as possible. There is at present only one Buteyko Practitioner per 50,000 asthma patients! PS has discounted courses for NHS staff, thereis no better way of understanding a therapy than using it oneself, we all need some breathing help.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Michael Lingard

    Two years have gone by since I commented on this subject. My views are still that there should be greater awareness among asthmatics of the Buteyko Method as a major aid to asthma management but I am concerned that the full understanding of Buteyko's work is being lost. It reminds me of the early days of nutritional therapy when the whole subject was reduced by many doctors as "a good mixed diet" is all you need.
    We now see the serious consequences of bad dietary habits and nutrition is being recognised as more significant in protecting against a wide range of diseases. Similarly breathing is currently seen as something we all do naturally and so long as we get plenty of air in our lungs all is well! It took Professor Buteyko to make us all recognise the vital significance of correct breathing in protecting us from serious illness.Let's hope our prejudices and habitual thinking do not mean we have to wait another 25 years before "breathing" is raised to the significance it surely deserves. The way forward has been well demonstrated by Buteyko, let's try to follow it.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.