Buteyko breathing techniques in asthma: a blinded randomised controlled trial

Med J Aust. 1998 Dec;169(11-12):575-8. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.1998.tb123422.x.


Objective: To evaluate the effect of Buteyko breathing techniques (BBT) in the management of asthma.

Design: Prospective, blinded, randomised study comparing the effect of BBT with control classes in 39 subjects with asthma. The study was conducted from January 1995 to April 1995.

Participants and setting: Subjects recruited from the community, aged 12 to 70 years, with asthma and substantial medication use.

Main outcome measures: Medication use; morning peak expiratory flow (PEF); forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1); end-tidal (ET) CO2; resting minute volume (MV); and quality of life (QOL) score, measured at three months.

Results: No change in daily PEF or FEV1 was noted in either group. At three months, the BBT group had a median reduction in daily beta 2-agonist dose of 904 micrograms (range, 29 micrograms to 3129 micrograms), whereas the control group had a median reduction of 57 micrograms (range, -2343 micrograms to 1143 micrograms) (P = 0.002). Daily inhaled steroid dose fell 49% (range, -100% to 150%) for the BBT group and 0 (range, -82% to +100%) for the control group (P = 0.06). A trend towards greater improvement in QOL score was noted for BBT subjects (P = 0.09). Initial MV was high and similar in both groups; by three months, MV was lower in the BBT group than in the control group (P = 0.004). ET CO2 was low in both groups and did not change with treatment.

Conclusion: Those practising BBT reduced hyperventilation and their use of beta 2-agonists. A trend toward reduced inhaled steroid use and better quality of life was observed in these patients without objective changes in measures of airway calibre.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Albuterol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Albuterol / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Respiratory Therapy*
  • Salmeterol Xinafoate
  • Steroids / therapeutic use


  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Steroids
  • Salmeterol Xinafoate
  • Albuterol