Buteyko for Rhinitis and Hay Fever
Patrick Mc Keown collaborated in the world’s first study investigating the link between Allergic Rhinitis (hay fever) and chronic hyperventilation. This pilot study involving fifty asthmatics with rhinitis was conducted at Limerick Regional hospital ENT department. Initial results were an 80% improvement in symptoms which were maintained at three months follow up.
A follow up study was completed and presented at the European Rhinologic Society conference in June 2012. This study has been accepted for publication.
What is rhinitis?
Rhinitis consists of inflammation and irritation of the internal areas of the nose. Symptoms include nasal congestion, nasal dripping and post nasal drip which is mucus running down the back of the nose. The cause of rhinitis is inflammation of the mucous membrane. This can be triggered by viruses or irritants.
Rhinitis affects an estimated 30% of the Irish population. There is also a significant link between asthma and rhinitis with an estimated 60% of asthmatics having the condition. Rhinitis has far more health implications than just nasal irritation.
There is also a link between mouth breathing and rhinitis. It is common for mouth breathers to experience disrupted sleep, greater respiratory problems, frequent colds and chest infections, fatigue, anxiety, headaches, chest pain, breathlessness, brain fog, crooked teeth, dental cavities, gum disease, snoring and sleep apnoea.
Categories of rhinitis include non allergic and allergic rhinitis. Both non allergic and allergic rhinitis is caused by overbreathing. By correcting breathing volume to more normal levels, the sufferer can make a recovery from their condition. Common triggers of non allergic rhinitis include weather, stress, talking, food, drink and mouth breathing. As long as one continues to mouth breathe rhinitis will be an issue.
Common triggers for allergic rhinitis include dust mites or pollen. Overbreathing causes a biochemical reaction resulting in an over reactive immune system. This results in a greater production of histamine and other chemicals in response to the presence of dust mites or pollen. While symptoms vary from individual to individual they typically include itching, swelling and mucus production.
Hay fever is the more commonly understood term to describe rhinitis that is triggered by exposure to pollen. It is the pollen from trees, grasses and weeds that causes hay fever as this is transported by the wind.
How to become free from rhinitis
Our experience over the past eight years and the results of hundreds of thousands of children and adults over the past fifty years shows that overbreathing is a significant contributor to rhinitis. The heavier you are breathing, the lower your breath hold time and the greater your hay fever and rhinitis symptoms.
You will be free from rhinitis when you are able to comfortably hold your breath on the out breath for at least thirty seconds. This measurement is called the control pause and was developed by the Late Prof Buteyko.
Heavy breathing causes a biochemical reaction, constriction of blood vessels and airways. As long as breathing is visible, audible, upper chest, frequent sighs or through the mouth- your breath hold time will be low and rhinitis will continue.