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Can Buteyko Breathing help with COVID-19?

There is a lot of buzz1 right now about using nitric oxide to help in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

According to Lou Ignaro, the co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, one of the discoverers of the role of nitric oxide as a signaling molecule:  

"Inhaled nitric oxide dilates or widens arteries to allow more blood to flow through the lungs. It also relaxes the trachea and bronchioles these allowing more air to come in."

These all sound like very good things in the treatment of COVID-19, but there are issues in using NO in the hospital setting, and various clinical trials are ongoing or have been proposed.  From a different direction, Dr. Ethelstyn2 has suggested a nutritional approach, eat your greens, which will generate nitric oxide in the digestive tract.  This sounds like a very good idea.

In Buteyko Breathing Training we have been pushing nitric oxide for a long time, as a natural bronchodilator.   A lot of the nitric oxide generated naturally in the body comes from the nasal passages, but only if you make a habit of breathing through your nose rather than your mouth.  One of the main objectives of Buteyko Breathing Training  is to teach you to breathe exclusively through your nose, both day and night.

In addition it has been found that humming very much increases the production of nitric oxide, and in his study (Weitzberg, 2002)3 demonstrated NO production increased by a factor of 8 to 15 when humming through the nose.  We have developed two exercises that make use of this effect.

It is very simple to find out if you are likely to benefit from Buteyko Breathing Training.  Just take the Two-minute Breathing Test.

Notes and References

  1. Inhaled Nitric Oxide Explored for COVID-19 Oxygenation. (2020, 5/13) (What Your Doctor is Reading on Medscape.Com). Retrieved 6/29/2020, from https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200513/inhaled-nitric-oxide-explored-for-covid-19-oxygenation#1.

    Miller, J. (2020, 5/20). Evidence mounts supporting inhaled nitric oxide as COVID-19 treatment. Retrieved 6/29/2020, from https://www.healio.com/news/primary-care/20200520/evidence-mounts-supporting-inhaled-nitric-oxide-as-covid19-treatment.

    Stokowski, L. (2020, 5/26). Can Nitric Oxide Prevent COVID-19 Infection or Progression? Retrieved 6/29/2020, from https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/931126.

  2. Dr Esselstyn, Greens, and COVID 19. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifZ3VzmK53U
  3. Weitzberg, E. a. L., J. (2002, 22/02). Humming Greatly Increases Nasal Nitric Oxide. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medecine, 166(2). Retrieved 6/29/2020, from https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1164/rccm.200202-138BC.

About the Author

Dermod Wood, PhD, is a Certified Buteyko Practitioner, the developer of this program, and principal "lab-rat" for the material. He has been practicing and teaching the Buteyko Method since 2005, and also researching and investigating the other factors that contribute to a long, healthy and happy life.

Dermod Wood

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