Friday, October 9, 2009

Catching your Breath

Our son has recently been diagnosed with Cough Variant Asthma, which means that every time he gets the slightest cold, he may have coughing for months with jags lasting as long as 45 minutes. That's an awful long time for a 3 year old to cough.

He has been suffering with this since he was a toddler, only we did not know what it was. We were told that it was normal for kids to cough a lot and given the usual array of medications. Some we tried, and some we thought were too intense for a toddler, so we toughed it out with over the counter meds and steam treatments. Now he is almost 4, and in some ways his condition seems more tenacious than ever... We feel only slightly more comfortable using the prescribed medications, Pulmicort and Prednisone, but thankfully we got a doctor who finally diagnosed it. We are not happy that our son has to deal with this condition, but we are relieved to that we have a firm diagnoses. We are not sure if these meds are going to work or not, we're only on day two.

The good news is that now Griffin has fully developed language skills, so we can also try some alternative methods. In my research, I came across a breathing method that is supposed to promote health in anyone who uses it, but was originally developed for people suffering from breathing disorders, like asthma. It's called the Buteyko Method, after the man who invented it, Dr. Buteyko.

The Buteyko Method of controlled breathing is right in line with ancient breathing practices like yoga and meditation breathing. This holistic technique is based on the idea that in general, we all breath too much, due to physical ailments or stress/anxiety. This is known as Chronic Hyperventilation Syndrome. Practicing controlled breathing is a way to slow it down and let the mind and body get the full benefit of our breath. Over breathing (or breathing more than the medical norm) does not increase oxygenation of the arterial blood, but reduces oxygenation of vital organs (leading to tissue hypoxia) due to CO2 induced vasoconstriction.

At the core of the Buteyko method is a series of breathing exercises that focus on nasal breathing, breath-holding and relaxation. At present it is used to treat asthma, sleep apnea, snoring, and anxiety/panic attacks. These conditions are associated with disrupted or irregular breathing patterns and the Buteyko exercises aim to 'retrain' breathing to restore a more natural pattern. *Wikipedia*

Learn more about Buteyko Breathing:

Buteyko: A to Z

Buteyko Breathing

Applying Buteyko

TV Asia


May said...

I'm so sorry that the wee lad has to deal with this! I am glad that you got a diagnosis and can proceed productively. My love to you all.
By the way- I'm liking the color changes over here. Whenever I try to get creative with my colors I always end up not liking it. You have a good eye, Petit Fleur.

Petit fleur said...

Hey May,

Good to see you! Yea, I know... it's so very sad and humbling. He is a real trooper and doesn't ever complain. Except for once, he said "Mommy, what is the problem with me?" I think I cried. I can't remember. I do remember it broke my heart. He's doing MUCH better now. We actually had an entire night's sleep last night with no waking!!

Thanks for the color koodos. I never know with this stuff either. I messed with it for a while and there were many crazy combos. I still don't understand all of it... You should have seen it yesterday though. I think it was all pink and orange and yellow. It gave me a burn on my retina!

Love you,

Maggie May said...

It's wonderful you are doing this research and finding alternative approaches. I'm sorry your little guy has to deal with this. I highly recommend for health specific information.

Petit fleur said...

Thanks so much for the 411 and for stopping in. I am going to right now!

We slept again last night.. ahh sweet sleep.
xo m

Human Wrecking Ball said...

My youngest had a really tough time with Athsma too. We moved, put the cats outside, became anti dust freaks and he grew out of it. It turned out our old house had cracks in the foundation and mold. He still has a bout now and again but he is fine.
Good luck, sorry he's having trouble.

Petit fleur said...

Hey there HWB!!

Good to see you. THanks for popping in on me. And thanks for the encouragement. I think we may need to move too. If you know anyone who wants a great old house in Lloyd RIGHT next door to Ms Moon, we've got a real bargain! (and great neighbors on all sides)

Mel said...

Hello, so sorry your little guy has the coughing fits. My daughter, now 12, has the same problem, but they never gave it a name, just called it an allergic respiratory response, which involves inhalers and steroids that eventually ease the coughing, although it still takes a few days to work. I'm petrified of pnuemonia and flus and common colds. She seems to catch a new virus every month or so, and it's horrible waiting for the coughing to stop. Thanks for the information on Buteyko breathing, we'll give it a try. Hope your boy is better soon.

Petit fleur said...

Hey Mel,

Thanks for coming by. and for the encouragement.. It's so sad when the wee ones are hurting and nothing seems to help. I hope your daughter grows out of it. I hear many kids do.

--And I do know what you mean about being afraid of them getting just a little runny nose or cold. I dread taking him to the doctors because of all the sick kids and germs! Ironic.

Take care and please come back and visit!