My wife, Nicole, has now been using the Buteyko Breathing Method for ten months. Russian trainers report that these breathing exercises can reverse most of the complications associated with type-1 diabetes. They do this by improving blood circulation and increasing the amount of oxygen entering body cells. Here are twelve significant changes Nicole has seen in her health since she began these exercises in November 2015:
1. More Emotional Stability: Nicole says she feels more calm and less moody. This has helped keep her away from chocolate and sugar . “But I thought chocolate helped your mood?” I asked. “Yeah,” she replied. “For about two or three minutes. Then I’d feel worse.”
2. Better Sleep: While Nicole still needs about 6g of melatonin to fall asleep, she can stay asleep much better. Typically she’d sleep well until 12:30am. After that sleep would be interrupted. Now she just drifts right back to sleep.
3. Increased Strength and Endurance: While Nicole’s not knocking out one-arm pushups with our son Jonah on her back, she’s become far more active. In October she could barely walk. Now she can walk 2-3km without any support. She also spends up to half-hour each day manually grinding ice with her beloved Victorio Snow Cone Maker. She does this all with nasal breathing only.
4. Better Appetite and Digestion: Normally when the heat and humidity of summer hits Ontario Nicole can barely eat. This year she’s continuing to eat her regular meals (without air conditioning to boot). Furthermore, as discussed in a previous post, she no longer suffers from gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying).
5. 40% Drop in Blood Pressure: Typically people with kidney failure have high blood pressure. Nicole’s would often rise above 200/90. Now it goes as low as 117/63 under normal conditions. Unfortunately dialysis treatment seems to be calibrated for high blood pressure. So when she comes off dialysis her blood pressure is often too low and she has a bit of trouble walking. Salt water seems to help remedy this.
6. Pulse Down 20%: Nicole’s resting heart rate used to average around 90-110 bpm. Now she averages 60-80 bpm. Specifically, after sessions of the Buteyko Breathing Method, her heart rate has gone as low as 58 bpm.
7. Tissue Oxygenation Haas Nearly Doubled: According to the test devised by Dr. K. P. Buteyko, Nicole’s average body oxygen levels have gone from 10% (6s MCP) to 25% (15s MCP) first thing in the morning. Six months ago, during daily activity, she couldn’t exceed 33% (20s CP) tissue oxygen levels. Now she’s hit as high as 50% (30s CP) during the day.
8. Improved Blood Circulation: The body oxygenation test also reflects how well her blood is circulating. The test indicates her CO2 threshold is. CO2 dilates blood vessels. So the more CO2 (from reduced breathing) the more blood flow. Not only does Nicole now feel warmer, she’s having more sensations in her extremities. And when she pricks her finger with a lancet, the blood almost comes squirting out. Before, she’d often have trouble getting enough blood to fill a glucometer test strip.
9. Liver Cleansing: Despite doing 2-4 coffee enemas every day for two years, Nicole’s never felt her liver dump toxins into her colon. Cleansing of the liver (and bile ducts) is the primary goal of coffee enemas. Only now that her blood circulation and body oxygenation levels are high enough, her liver is coming alive and catching up on years of housekeeping. Of course, such detoxification is causing her to feel unwell at times.
10. 2% Increase in Kidney Function: This one is always a little “iffy,” since it’s based on blood work. Nonetheless, Nicole’s creatinine levels have gone from 701 μmol/L (7.9 mg/dL) on September 3, 2015 to 569 μmol/L (6.3 mg/dL) on August 4, 2016. Calculating her eGFR, these numbers mean she’s gone from 5% kidney function to 7%. Considering she was 3% in December 2014, this seems like a positive trend, to say the least. Her eGFR might even be comparatively higher, as she’s been far more physically active and eating more food (which both raise creatinine levels).
11. Restless Legs Calming Down: Nicole used to be unable to sit down without her legs lost in an Irish jig. Now she can sit or lie with relative calm (which has made dialysis treatment more bearable). Canadian Buteyko Breathing educator, Chris Bauman explains on her site: “[Restless legs] can be triggered by low potassium and magnesium which are dumped by the body trying to maintain proper pH of the blood – which is affected strongly by how we breathe.“
12. No More Asthma Attacks: Eight months ago Nicole’s long-time chronic cough would have episodes culminating in uncontrollable gasps for air. She’s still battling the cough, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was before. It’s only if she overexerts herself that it tends to get nasty. As her control pause score continues to rise, we expect to see the cough continue to lessen.
What about blood sugars? Well, Nicole’s HgbA1C was already in the normal range and that’s more or less continued. Any increase in insulin sensitivity or perfusion appears to be countered by increased appetite and improved absorption of food. There has been no signs of insulin production returning. Not that we’d even expect that to happen with her body oxygenation test score still quite low. There’s still a long road ahead, but so far it looks like we going in the right direction.
Thinking outside the type-1 matrix,
–John C. A. Manley
P.S. For more on how Buteyko Breathing can help people with type-1 diabetes check out these previous posts: Dr. Buteyko Says Type-1 Diabetes is Not a Disease and CO2 to the Rescue: How Breathing Less Can Help Reverse Complications of Type-1 Diabetes.
P.P.S. According to Dr. Artour Rakhimov, in his book Breathing Slower and Less, type-1 diabetes has been reversed by Russian medical doctors. They claim it took one-tenth the time insulin has been used to heal the pancreas. So if you’ve had diabetes for 10 years, it would take at least a year of breathing retraining to reverse. More information is contained in his book which is available from amazon.com, amazon.ca and amazon.co.uk.