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How Can I Unblock My Nose Using the Buteyko Breathing Technique?

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Updated June 27, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Buteyko Breathing Technique: Professor Buteyko

Buteyko Breathing Technique: Professor Buteyko

Photo © Buteyko Institute for Breathing and Health
Question: How Can I Unblock My Nose Using the Buteyko Breathing Technique?
Answer:

The Buteyko breathing technique can enable you to reduce your body's carbon dioxide levels by increasing breathing through the nose and breathing less through the mouth. According to the proponents of the Buteyko breathing technique, elevated carbon dioxide levels associated with mouth breathing increases mucus secretion and lead to bronchoconstriction. The technique can also help you unblock your nasal passages.

Unblocking the Nose With the Buteyko Breathing Technique

The following Buteyko breathing technique can help you unblock your nose and begin to breathe better:

  • Good posture: Sit with your back firmly against a straight-backed chair

  • Breathe: Through your nose, breathe in for 2 seconds and out for 3 seconds. If you cannot nose breathe, breathe through the corner of your mouth.

  • Pinch your nose: After exhaling, keep your mouth closed while pinching your nose and holding your breath.

  • Move your head: Continue to hold your breathe while gently swaying your head and body like rocking a baby. Continue to hold your breath until you feel a relatively strong urge to breathe.

  • Gently breathe in: Release the pinch on your nose and slowly and gently breathe in through your nose after feeling the strong urge for air. Stay relaxed and fight the urge to take a big, deep breath or to breathe through your mouth. Mr. McKeown recommends that you try to relax your breathing by repeating the phrase “relax and breathe less” to yourself.

  • Repeat: If your nose is not unblocked yet, you can repeat this exercise every few minutes. It may take several repetitions of the exercise before your nose is completely unblocked.

By increasing nasal breathing, you will slow your rate of breathing and begin to see some of the benefits of the Buteyko breathing technique.

While certain groups should not perform the Buteyko breathing technique, the breathing exercises are generally safe. According to Peter McKeown’s Close Your Mouth: Buteyko Clinic Handbook For Perfect Health, the following exercise can unblock your nose in as little as 5 minutes.

Sources:

McKeown, P. Close Your Mouth: Buteyko Clinic Handbook For Perfect Health. Buteyko Books: Unit Six, Calbro House, Tuam Road, Galway, Ireland, 2004.

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