Some of the most common signs include:

  • Catching yourself with your mouth open or mouth breathing
  • Dry mouth during day or when you wake up
  • Blocked or congested nose
  • Audible breathing – people hear you
  • Noticing movement in your upper chest with breathing
  • Feeling as though you are not getting enough air, needing to take big breaths to try and compensate
  • Frequent sighing and/or yawning
  • Frequent need to clear the throat and frequent coughing
  • Breathlessness even when at rest or with very little exercise

Having one of these conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Allergies, hay fever, eczema
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Snoring
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Anxiety, stress
  • Panic attacks
  • Chronic cough or sinusitis

All of these indicate you could likely improve your breathing and alleviate some of these signs and symptoms.

You can certainly learn a lot online or from some great books out there.

You can also get yourself into trouble depending on your state of health and medical history and the standard of teaching being given. It is usually best to have someone coaching and supervising you especially if you have any health issues.

For a breathing method to work, it should correct your baseline breathing habits – if it doesn’t, it is likely to be what we call a ‘special effects’ method which will only work for you temporarily and when you stop doing it you will be no better off.

As with anything, the rule of thumb is that you get what you pay for.

The Buteyko Method is grounded in science and proven to work. It has also now been endorsed by a wide range of health professionals. If you choose to learn from a practitioner, make sure they have credentials from and belong to a professional body such as the BIBH (Buteyko Institute of Breathing and Health), or BBEA (Buteyko Breathing Educators Home).

Capnography is an important biofeedback tool used as part of our breathing assessments. It is not available online nor with most breathing teachers.

Ages 5 to 80 plus years.

Children under the age of 15 need to be accompanied by an adult.

Note: Whatever the age, individuals need the desire to learn and ability to take on instructions and be motivated to make changes if needed.

Most people feel change within the first week or two, sometimes clients tell us they have had a better sleep within the first few days. Frequently we hear they have experienced less nasal congestion, longer sleeps, lowered heart rate and feeling calmer for example.

How fast and the degree of change you feel will depend on a number of factors such as your current level of breathing dysfunction, overall health, age, fitness and lifestyle.

In general and as long as the required practice is put in, symptoms of dysfunctional breathing will improve significantly on average by 65-75%  within the 6 weeks of the course.

Keeping up practice for another 3 to 6 months is recommended to help reinforce your new breathing habits and avoid slipping back into old ways.

In the first weeks of the course we encourage making time at least 3 or 4 times a day to consciously practice and each practice will be up to 15 minutes.

If you don’t have time for this, there are still ways to improve your breathing.  On average people are breathing faster than they need at a rate of between 14 and 22 breaths per minute.

Even if you are breathing at the lower end at 14 breaths per minute, you have over 13,000 opportunities whilst awake to change your breathing habits. On the course, we not only give you practice to do – for adults sitting quietly; but also teach you breathing awareness and how to manage your breathing with the activities of daily living.

Once you have changed your daily breathing habits to the point of healthy functional breathing, you should no longer have to practice daily - it will have become automatic.

You will however have the awareness and tools to help yourself for life.

This is important because just as your breathing originally became dysfunctional, stress, hormonal changes, illness or medication can all challenge your breathing patterns again. You will be able to use what you learnt to help maintain or restore your breathing health.

You can also book a breathing coaching session or assessment at any time following your course.

It depends on what is meant by shallow – there is a lot of misunderstanding with the use of the words shallow and deep. For many, shallow means breathing small and when they say deep they’re mean breathing big.

Biomechanically, shallow means breathing into the upper chest in terms of depth whereas deep means breathing into the diaphragm. Neither terms relate to the size or volume of the breath; however this is the way breathing has been interpreted by many disciplines teaching breathing.

Because of the confusion we prefer not to use the term shallow.

What is important is to breathe into the diaphragm most of the time because it is the most efficient way of breathing for your body and has many health benefits.

No, the assessment will enable you and the clinic practitioner to see whether you have any breathing dysfunction and to what extent if so.

If your breathing is relatively healthy, the basics of healthy breathing information we give you at the assessment may be all you need to make adequate changes to your breathing habits.

You can always book in again at any time for a breathing WoF to check whether you are still on the  right breathing track.

Your breathing patterns during the daytime will be reflected at night, so if your daytime breathing habits are incorrect they will be also be incorrect at night.

With breathing retraining, you practice correcting your breathing consciously during the day which helps to ‘reset’ your brain’s breathing centre and alters your drive to breathe, resulting in calmer, more regular, gentle breathing at night.

Sometimes mouth tape is recommended to help encourage nasal breathing at night.

However, it is important to be correcting your baseline breathing patterns during the day before you ever nose tape and for some people it would be contra-indicated.

This is because some people may have a medical condition such as pulmonary hypertension which may actually be exacerbated if they were to suddenly start mouth taping.

Additionally some people feel claustrophobic or panicky, (just as some have with mask wearing), when they try to tape or wear an appliance on the mouth, chin or nose. This in itself is likely to cause breathing to worsen, not improve until baseline breathing function is healthy.        

You should only ever mouth tape if you are working to correct daytime breathing and it is recommended that you do so under supervision of a practitioner, particularly if you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks or have any medical conditions such as epilepsy or cardiovascular or pulmonary conditions.

If mouth tape is used initially, once you have corrected your breathing habits, you should NO LONGER need to use mouth tape and in fact if still needing it after 6 months at most, it is likely you still have underlying breathing dysfunction and should seek more help.

Traditionally this has been the case because breathing was considered largely automatic and only able to be altered with medication or a visit to a psychologist or physiotherapist. To some extent it has even been overlooked as causal in various medical complaints such as anxiety, snoring or sleep apnoea, or even asthma. In general medical diagnoses did not include breathing pattern dysfunction nor recommend breathing practitioners for help.

As more clinical trials have been conducted and success stories have come to light, along with numerous books and studies that back up Buteyko’s work, this is gradually changing. More and more medical professionals are endorsing our work.

As Australian physiotherapist Tess Graham said:

“Breathing retraining is a logical, scientific and conservative approach to the management of breathing-related disorders. Your doctor should be no more reluctant to suggest you improve your breathing habits than to recommend other self-help approaches such as meditation, yoga, avoiding alcohol, losing weight, and getting regular exercise.”


You may wish to let them know that you are participating in breathing retraining and that whilst there is no recommendation to come off your medication you would be interested in having progress monitored.

Everything you will be doing is considered safe and should not interfere with their treatment unless they and you decide it would be possible to reduce medication over time under their guidance, as symptoms improve.

Whilst breathing retraining is inherently safe, if you have any serious mental or physical illness requiring ongoing treatment or medication, you should always consult your doctor before undertaking any change to your health management, including undergoing breathing retraining. Any changes to medication and other prescribed treatments should only be undertaken under the supervision and with the consent of a medical doctor.

If you are taught to breathe big deep breaths during your classes then your body may not be getting enough carbon dioxide (YES you read that correctly) to enable efficient oxygen delivery to your brain and body. This can cause narrowing of the blood vessels which may also result in the dizziness, breathlessness and at times anxiety or panic.

Here’s what one of my clients said after a breathing assessment:

‘I was blown away that my practice of deep yogic breathing was doing me more harm than good! I went home and watched some YouTube videos to gain a bit more understanding and awareness of how I’d gotten it so wrong. Being in a sympathetic dominant state answers a lot of things relating to my current state of health. This morning I did my yoga practice and took my dog for a walk and focussed on being more aware of my breathing and allowed it to relax and be more natural. … With yoga, I noticed that my diaphragm spasms sometimes ….  ‘

She was also experiencing some dizziness and tiredness during and after yoga. Following  the breathing retraining course she found she could hold her poses longer and no longer experienced the spasms and well as being able to get fitter when biking and exercising.

What we teach on the BREATHING RETRAINING COURSE  is how to normalise baseline breathing at rest and with exercise and activities of daily living.

Breathing Retraining