Do you suffer from asthma, snoring, recurrent colds and chest infections, panic attacks, wheezing, breathlessness, nasal drip or excessive sneezing? Yvonne Evans speaks to breathing expert Patrick McKeown ahead of his Cork appearance
Breathing expert Patrick McKeown is a consultant with Asthma Care Ireland, and an expert in the Buteyko breathing technique. The Buteyko breathing technique concentrates on reconditioning patients' breathing volumes to normal levels by making them aware of correct and incorrect breathing. Breathing can be corrected by unblocking the nose through a simple breath hold technique, switching from mouth breathing to nasal breathing permanently, along with small lifestyle changes.
Explaining the Buteyko method, Patrick McKeown told the Cork Independent:
“People do not realise how essential breathing is for maintaining good health as it’s such a natural automatic process. However, our modern lifestyle and stresses negatively influence breathing.
"Typical traits of dysfunctional breathing include breathing through the mouth, regular sighing and sniffing, upper chest breathing, audible breathing during rest and breathing a volume of air in excess of normal metabolic requirements. It is no coincidence that many people snore, wake up tired, and have difficulty concentrating after a night spent breathing through the mouth.
"Those with respiratory complaints such as asthma get wheezy or cough when their breathing gets heavier as during laughter, stress or exercise so it is not surprising that through learning corrective breathing techniques while on a Buteyko course you can significantly improve these type of conditions.”
David from Cork, a former client of Patrick’s, explained:
"Ireland is a bad place for asthmatics like myself. I get particularly bad hay fever in April and in September. My medications seemed to be getting stronger and stronger so I thought it was time to look at alternative treatments. I saw an advert about Patrick’s course and I booked myself in for it. There was a huge improvement after I participated in the course. My airways don’t feel as restricted."
The talk will concentrate on simple techniques to boost general well being and dramatically improve conditions such as asthma, hay fever, snoring, anxiety and sleep apnoea (a sleep disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or instances of abnormally low breathing, during sleep). As there are many ailments associated with incorrect breathing, there will also be ample opportunities to discuss any other issues you are suffering from after the talk ahead of a 3 week Buteyko course which takes place from the 23 September at Blackrock Hall Primary Care Centre.
Research shows a 90 per cent reduction in the need for reliever medication and a 50 per cent reduction in the need for a preventer steroid within three to six months. Thousands of adults and children throughout Ireland have experienced an elimination of nasal obstruction, puffy eyes, breathlessness, wheezing and coughing after attending a Buteyko course.
Not only does the course help those with breathing problems but other areas of concern.
“I brought my ten year old son to the course. He had problems wetting the bed and after he completed the course, the bed-wetting completely stopped. My son was known as a ‘mouth breather’, which in part caused the bedwetting. People who have problems with their teeth should also give this a try. Mouth breathing can cause all sorts of dentistry problems,” David said.
Snoring and sleep apnoea creates turbulence as a large volume of air is inhaled through the mouth, nose or both. All snorers are heavy breathers, and sleep apnoea is a progression of snoring. By correcting breathing volume to normal levels, snoring is reduced by at least by 50 per cent and significantly improves energy levels within two weeks.
Habitual mouth breathing or sighing can cause a 50 per cent constriction of the main carotid artery to the brain. According to Patrick, people who over-breathe often experience brain fog, racing mind, panic attacks, fatigue, excessive worry and poor concentration.
If you are interested in attending the free talk on Buteyko Breathing Techniques on 8 September at Blackrock Hall Primary Care Centre, contact 021-4231166 to book a place as there are limited spaces.