Asthma: Causes and Treatment
According to 6 most effective published controlled randomized trials on asthma (see abstracts below), asthmatics can reduce, in 3-6 months, their reliever medication by about 90% since they have nearly no asthma symptoms if they practice reduced breathing exercises.
The Buteyko breathing technique is the only alternative therapy that was endorsed by the British Thoracic Society (BTS) for treatment of asthma. The Guidelines of the BTS for asthma suggest, “Trials suggest benefits in terms of reduced symptoms and bronchodilator usage”. (The link to this PDF file from the BTS was removed since they constantly change the URL of this link.)
Note that, while these are great results for asthma, during these clinical trials, asthmatics in the controlled groups were unable to achieve medical norms for breathing. In fact, starting with about 12-15 liters per minute for minute volume at rest, the asthmatics in the controlled groups went somewhere half-way to the medical norm, which is about 6 L/min.
As a result, these trials could not test the main hypothesis of Dr. Buteyko that breathing normalization leads to disappearance of asthma symptoms. Furthermore, it is clear that partial improvement in breathing allowed these patients to reduce medication and the main symptoms of asthma, such as chest tightness, wheezing and shortness of breathing. However, incomplete treatment resulted in still-present inflammation that was manifested in unchanged results for lung function tests.
Some details about these trials can be found in the video below: Asthma Treatment and Asthma Causes that features Dr. Artour Rakhimov talking about the application of the Buteyko method and other techniques for treatment of bronchial asthma.