History of Buteyko and Advanced Buteyko

Buteyko Breathing was originally developed in the 1950s and 1960s by Professor Buteyko, with research financed by the Soviet Space Program. Results of the research were groundbreaking:

  • 1) People with perfect breathing are in perfect health and have no chronic diseases.

  • 2) People with bad breathing are in bad health and often suffer from any of over 200 chronic diseases.

  • 3) Improving breathing reverts many chronic diseases and makes people stronger, healthier & fitter and helps achieve super-performance.

Early History

Professor Buteyko worked for nearly 20 years as a medical specialist and head of the department of respiratory diseases in a large government hospital. He had started developing his approach to improve breathing after noticing how people with severe chronic illnesses both hyperventilate and exhibit the classical symptoms of a lack of oxygen in cells, and he thought: "Shouldn't these people have plenty of oxygen since they breathe so much?" He started a respiratory research laboratory to do extensive research to improve breathing for optimal health and reversal of many kinds of chronic disease.

In the hospital, patients who were taught Buteyko Breathing frequently got excellent results with chronic diseases not traditionally treated in the respiratory department. For example, patients with cardiovascular diseases could often greatly improve their symptoms using Buteyko Breathing so that surgeries planned at other departments wouldn't need to be performed any more. It led to a conflict between hospital departments and in the end, Professor Buteyko's research laboratory was shut down by the hospital and he was relieved from his function as the head of department.

Luckily for Professor Buteyko, by that time he had already built up an excellent reputation in the wider academic world (gaining the elite rank of academician) and enjoyed close connections with people working high up in the Air Force and Space Program who were very interested in his respiratory expertise and research. They financed a large-scale computerized research laboratory for Professor Buteyko to continue his research, help astronauts and high-altitude pilots be as fit as possible and make various contributions to the space program.

When Professor Buteyko's research was finally complete and the results published in 1968, it was ignored by the medical establishment. Despite the excellent research results, the overwhelming majority of Russian doctors did not refer patients to do Buteyko Breathing.

1977: A New Path

In 1977, Alexander Stalmatski became one of the first former patients (non-doctors) to be trained as a Buteyko teacher by Professor Buteyko. More teachers followed and they started traveling Russia and teaching wherever they were invited. Since Buteyko Breathing was largely ignored by the medical establishment, they needed to prove to the public that Buteyko Breathing did in fact work and was a valid treatment option. So although Buteyko Breathing works for many chronic diseases, they temporarily focused their attention on teaching asthma patients since they could easily get quick and excellent results with asthma.

And they did get great results teaching asthma patients all over Russia: Buteyko appeared on national TV and in newspapers and the publicity and gratitude of former patients made it obvious to everyone that Buteyko Breathing was very beneficial for asthma. The government financed a study to be done on the effectiveness of Buteyko for asthma and in 1981 the Health Ministry officially prescribed Buteyko Breathing for all asthma patients.

1990: To the West

When Buteyko Breathing was brought to Australia by Alexander Stalmatski in 1990, he again focused on teaching asthma patients to establish legitimacy for Buteyko Breathing. Soon after opening his Buteyko clinic however, the Australian Asthma Foundation reported Alexander as a fraud to the well-known national TV program 'A Current Affair'. When the TV crew walked with rolling cameras into Alexander's clinic to investigate, they found (to their surprise) that the asthma patients were very satisfied and had achieved great improvements in symptoms while decreasing their dependency on asthma medications. The TV crew wondered why the Australian Asthma Foundation was so critical of Buteyko while asthma patients got so many benefits? The result of their inquiry was a series of three prime-time TV broadcasts on Buteyko Breathing, putting the Australian Asthma Foundation and its associated doctors in a bad light and bringing massive positive national publicity to Buteyko Breathing (view the video below).

For the next several years, Buteyko courses in Australia were fully booked with asthma patients and a growing number of former asthma patients received basic teacher training so they could teach Buteyko to help other asthma patients. The publicity also led to Western scientific studies that confirmed the effectiveness of Buteyko for asthma. These studies helped Buteyko Breathing to be officially recognized as an effective treatment for asthma in Australia and the UK (no studies were done on any other diseases).

There was also a downside to the overwhelming interest by Australian asthma patients: it came too early, too strongly and too easily. In the 1970s in Russia, the oldest generation of teachers received many years of teacher training for a large number of diseases and achieved success gradually through hard work. While the first Australian Buteyko teachers did do both basic and advanced teacher training as was normal in Russia, due to overwhelming national media attention for Buteyko Breathing as an asthma treatment in 1993, the much larger second generation of teachers were satisfied with basic teacher training only to treat the large numbers of asthma patients: they never continued with advanced teacher training. In the end, only a small handful of Australian teachers did advanced teacher training with Alexander Stalmatski to learn how to improve breathing further and revert many other diseases. The basic teachers were the big majority and soon they went their own way, with some of them traveling to Europe and the USA to give short teacher training courses for asthma only. In this way, due to enormous early media attention in Australia, Advanced Buteyko was completely overtaken by basic Buteyko in the West.

Buteyko Has Changed

In the 1970s, teachers like Alexander Stalmatski were trained by Professor Buteyko himself for over 5 years in treating more than 200 chronic diseases, using powerful and sophisticated Advanced Buteyko techniques to achieve the optimal standard of breathing and get great results with a large variety of students.

Nowadays however, very few Buteyko teachers in Europe and the USA have been trained according to these standards: nearly all Buteyko teachers teach a basic and simplified version of Buteyko to achieve relatively minor improvements in breathing for asthma patients.

The difference between the 1970s and the present could hardly be greater: due to the focus on asthma, Buteyko Breathing has become a basic and simplified version of itself that for many people lacks the power and sophistication needed to improve breathing to the levels recommended by Professor Buteyko himself.

Advanced Buteyko

The Advanced Buteyko Institute teaches in the direct lineage of Professor Buteyko and Alexander Stalmatski. Like the earliest generation of Buteyko teachers in the 1970s, teachers at the Advanced Buteyko Institute receive years of teacher training and coaching and teach all the methods and exercises to improve their students' breathing to excellent levels for health and performance - as recommended by Professor Buteyko.

We help students practice Buteyko Breathing at a very high level successfully, achieving optimal breathing and health, reversal of chronic diseases and higher performance.

Proper instruction and guidance is critical for getting results. Assistance by a skilled and experienced Advanced Buteyko instructor is absolutely essential for good results, safety and satisfaction.


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