Buteyko (and other) Breathing Theraphies

There is a fourth factor that can impact hypoxia that I did not mention in my last post: The ability of oxygen to be carried by the blood. This gets a little complicated so I will approach it backwards: from the method to why the method works.

During my 1999 CFS episode, I tried Teresa Hale’s Breathing (which was popular and new then). It caused some improvement but did not lead to remission. Today, Buteyko is what is often popular with some CFS patients. It appears to be effectively the same.

Cochrane’s review in 2013 found no evidence to support that it is effective in general. Some reports indicate some subjective improvement for asthma[2013].

The rationale for the improvement was the change of pH of the blood which also altered the pH of the digestive system. There is a Ying-Yang relationship between these two when it comes to pH. At that time. I recall that there was debate whether you want to increase or decrease the pH. Today — I have a good answer.


It may be unimportant if it increases or decreases — what is important is that it changes. Why? The acidity (pH) has a very significant impact on the microbiome (gut bacteria). The core of the model is that we have a dysfunctional cartel of bacteria and need to change them. We do not have tests for or knowledge of which bacteria are in the cartel.

Blood pH issue

For details, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood but the simple form is shown below. I read this as saying:

  • higher blood pH increases oxygen levels
  • lower temperature increases oxygen levels (is this why CFS patients often have temperatures < 98.6, even down to 96F?)

Oxyhaemoglobin dissociation curve

So what is the expected result: symptom reduction because you are reducing the degree of hypoxia.

If you are interested in following up on this, you may wish to read:

IMHO: It will help reduce some symptoms, it will not lead to remission. There is no harm in trying it (and it may provoke a placebo effect – which is always good).