Doctor Buteyko Discovery Trilogy Volume 1
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Summary of Volume 1
The Ukrainian scientist Dr Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko believed that many of the commonest diseases today (such as asthma, angina pectoris and hypertension) were caused by insufficient levels of carbon dioxide in the body. Patients therefore had to be taught to breathe more appropriately to improve their health, in contrast to the frequently heard injunction to ‘breathe deeply’.
Dr Buteyko developed a unique piece of equipment, his ‘combine complexator’, which could measure multiple physiological parameters at the same time. He collected empirical data from hundreds of patients confirming his theories, and from this data drew up charts and equations linking carbon dioxide levels and disease. A key discovery was the ‘control pause’ – the amount of time that a person can comfortably hold his or her breath after a normal expiration. The length of the control pause gives an approximate measurement of the level of carbon dioxide in the body and hence is a good indicator, according to Dr Buteyko, of the patient’s state of health. This is clearly illustrated by Buteyko’s ‘Table of Pulmonary Ventilation Criteria’, which shows the correlation between a patient’s control pause, alveolar carbon dioxide levels, depth of breathing and physiological condition.
Dr Buteyko’s theories did not go down well with the medical establishment, which preferred to treat diseases with surgery or drugs. When he was eventually allowed to conduct an official trial of his Method, results were falsified, leading to the closure of his laboratory. There were even mysterious attempts on his life by a car accident and poisoning. Eventually his discovery was recognized in 1983 by the USSR Committee on Inventions and Discoveries and a patent was at last issued for his Method. Today his Method is taught by professionals throughout Russia.
Volume 1 of the trilogy describes Dr Buteyko’s childhood in 1930s Soviet Ukraine and his experiences in World War II. It recounts how Buteyko’s own experience of malignant hypertension as a medical student led him to his discovery, and describes his constant fight for recognition, including his difficulties in gaining a PhD on the basis of his research. The book details his struggle to keep open his Laboratory of Functional Diagnostics on a shoe-string budget in the teeth of strong opposition from the medical establishment. The stories of his closest collaborators at the Laboratory are also recounted.
Guide to Volume 1
Doctor Buteyko’s Discovery: Volume 1 contains 11 charts illustrating the VEDB Method:
Figure 1: Pulmonary ventilation criteria (p. 51, p. 151, p. 179)
Figure 2: Evolution of the atmosphere (p. 52)
Figure 3: Respiration in the human fetus (p. 52)
Figure 4: Diagrams used in the 1964 manual (p. 92)
Figure 5: Spirogram of an asthma attack (p. 134)
Figure 6: Equations linking respiratory parameters (p. 216)
Figure 7: Buteyko’s VEDB Method (p. 229)
Figure 8: Alveolar CO2 in mmHg (p. 229)
Figure 9: Respiration (p. 230)
Figure 10: The effects of hyperventilation (p. 230)
Figure 11: Protective mechanisms (p. 231)
The most important of Buteyko’s practical teachings are contained in the following sections:
Training Khodakevich (a patient with heart disease) in the Method
(Chapter 13, pp. 65-70)
Stopping an asthma attack in a celebrated school teacher
(Chapter 16, pp. 83-88)
The recipe for Buteyko’s famous ‘borsch and porridge’
(Chapter 20, pp. 116-120)
Stopping an asthma attack in a World War 1 veteran
(Chapter 23, pp. 142-145)
Victory of Sablin (a patient) over ischaemic heart disease
(Chapter 24, pp. 150-152)
An account of a complete lesson in the Buteyko Method given as part of the 1968 Leningrad trial
(Chapter 24, pp. 147-157)
Gudzenko (a patient) learns to control his angina pectoris
(Chapter 25, pp. 165-167)
It is important to remember that even the best book is no substitute for training by a Buteyko practitioner, but these practical sections provide a wealth of information.
by Sergey Altukhov (Author),
Marjorie Farquharson (Translator),
Fiona Paterson (Translator), Heather
Denise Steele (Translator)