Christine Byrne, co-author of Stop Asthma Naturally, will teach a seminar next week in Roberts Creek on the Buteyko breathing method a breathing treatment she credits for her father's return to health after a lifetime of asthma.
Byrne said she learned about Buteyko when she was researching alternative health care options for her father, Roberts Creek resident Tom Byrne, who became critically ill a few years back.
"Every doctor was saying the same thing: he's 81, he's had asthma his whole life, we're giving him everything we can," she said. "There's really nothing more we can do and maybe you should start looking at making final arrangements for him."
Byrne, who had worked as a manufacturer's rep for natural pharmaceuticals, said she began exploring alternative health care options and discovered Buteyko, which was developed more than 50 years ago by Russian doctor Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko.
The premise of the treatment, she said, is that humans need to regulate their breathing volumes in the same way they regulate the amount of food they take in.
"When you hyperventilate or when you 'over-breathe' even just a little bit, very, very subtly every day, which most North Americans do eventually it wears down or it causes disease in your susceptible organs, depending on your genetic makeup," she said. "If we don't have correct volumes of carbon dioxide, if we're constantly breathing out too much air, our body goes into a sort of crisis mode and the organs get starved and then you could end up with hypertension or asthma or sleep apnea or anxiety disorders."
The Buteyko treatment, which she writes about in the book co-authored with Patrick McKeown, teaches people not to "over-breathe."
"It's simple things like taking big breaths before you speak or sighing all the time, or mouth breathing," she said. "Once we make people aware of that, then we train them deliberately to breathe a little bit less, fifteen-minute exercises done three times a day, so you start to train the brain to breathe correctly."
And for her father, she has provided a solution which the traditional medical community couldn't.
"His asthma completely disappeared," she said. "He has gone off his nebulizer, off prednisone, which his doctors said he'd never get off."
Byrne is running workshops on Buteyko on Oct. 8 and Oct. 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Register by contacting her at email@example.com or 604-723-0479.