More and more people are seeking out homeopathic or “medicine-free” ways to treat (and even cure) chronic ailments. A lot of these so-called treatments have little to no scientific backing, but Buteyko is one exception.
For decades, followers of Buteyko breathing have been able to lead healthier lives and alleviate symptoms of common issues like poor quality sleep, trouble focusing, and more. One crucial piece of equipment to practicing this strict breathing regimen is a good, supportive belt. I’ve chosen my top three options, so you know where to start looking!
What are the best Buteyko belts of 2021?
- TOP Pick: Mueller 255 Lumbar Support Back Brace
- Runner Up: ORTONYX 6.25” Abdominal Binder
- Best Budget Option: Posture Magic Joint Support Belt
Top Pick: Mueller Lumbar Support Belt
Sleep Detective’s TOP pick for Buteyko belts is the Mueller Lumbar Support belt. A hefty, solid construction makes this belt a little more conspicuous for everyday wear but is great for at-home practice or even sleep!
Best for people who need to retrain their breathing in a major way, this belt also provides excellent postural support making it ideal for someone sitting or working throughout the day. Its moderate compression will allow you to breathe consciously and purposefully, so it gets a 10 out of 10 for support.
Slightly hotter to wear due to its neoprene material, this belt gets a 9.5 out of 10 for customer impressions. Not many were bothered by the possible extra heat the belt might trap, but it’s still a consideration depending on your work environment.
A top-quality belt for a very reasonable price, I give this belt a 9 out of 10 for value! You can often find it on a pretty decent sale, but even full price is totally worth it. It comes in multiple sizes so it’s sure to fit just about anyone, and its strong hook and loop closure means it will stay in place all day or night.
Runner Up: Ortonyx 6.25″ Abdominal Binder
For those looking for a lighter and much more breathable option, check out the Ortonyx Abdominal Binder! It’s not quite as sturdy as our first pick, but would be great for a working professional or on-the-go newbie who needs to make sure their breaths are regulated.
More breathable/ lightweight belt that works well for
It’s priced comparably to the Mueller belt and provides less support (which can be good or bad, depending on your needs), so it gets an 8.5 out of 10 for value. While not a bad belt by any stretch of the imagination, it’s definitely a lighter weigh one that isn’t designed for lifting or strong posture support.
It does keep the abdomen restricted, as the name suggests, so for Buteyko purposes I give it a 9 out of 10 for support. The idea behind wearing a belt is to apply pressure to the diaphragm, not necessarily make your torso rigid, so this belt will still do the trick in a much more streamlined way than some competitors.
Reviewers rave about the comfort and simplicity of this pick, earning it a 9 out of 10 for customer impressions. As a bonus, it’s great for exercising in due to its light construction!
Best Budget Option: Posture Magic Joint Support Belt
Thinner than our other two picks, the Posture Magic Joint Support Belt gets a 7 out of 10 for supportiveness. However, the tradeoff is the great price, earning it a 9.5 out of 10 for value! While it is modeled as a pelvic support device, it can easily be worn around the abdomen (or even belly-button area) to lightly restrain breathing.
This is a good belt option for sleeping and exercising, and provides great postural support.
While not as great for posture support day to day, reviewers love the pain relief that this belt can provide to some, earning it an 8.5 out of 10 for customer impressions. We would recommend this belt to someone looking for a multi-function device that has some other great health benefits as well!
Want to learn more about this highly-touted breathing practice? Check down below for more details!
What is Buteyko?
The Buteyko Breathing Technique (or method) is named for its founder, Konstantin Buteyko. He pioneered the technique in the 1950s while doing research on the oxygen needs of Russian cosmonauts during the space race. What started as scientific curiosity has developed into a worldwide phenomenon practiced by thousands.
The reason for practicing Buteyko is to cure or reduce the symptoms of a variety of illnesses believed to be caused by “chronic hyperventilation”, or taking too many shallow, short breaths over a lifetime. It is believed by Buteyko and his followers that these short breaths result in a buildup of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream which in turn affects all sorts of body systems.
The goal of Buteyko breathing is to train your body to take slower breaths and a longer duration between breaths. It is believed that we can achieve fuller oxygenation of our bloodstream this way and (hopefully) reduce some of the harmful effects of diseases, especially respiratory diseases like asthma.
Ideally over time and with proper training, these slower, supposedly more oxygenated breaths will come naturally. Claims have been made that conditions such as sleep apnea are caused by certain postures and mouth breathing at night, which is why Buteyko focuses on strict nasal breathing and posture correction exercises.
When do you need to wear a Buteyko belt?
The purpose of a Buteyko belt is to create a small amount of resistance when breathing. This will allow users to “breathe light”, and creates what some call a “hunger for air”. This means you should feel a slight pull to take another breath as soon as you’ve finished your current breath.
With its resistance, a Buteyko belt makes users aware of their breathing habits and can help them make conscious changes over time. It also encourages users to breathe more slowly and take in less air, which is the overall goal of Buteyko practices. The resistance from the belt puts stress on the diaphragm (which controls the breathing motion), preventing it from expanding or contracting too rapidly.
Breathing at night one of the worst times of day for hyperventilating, or taking in too much air. If you have breathing issues, your body will gulp more air during sleep, waking you in the middle of the night. The belt helps to restrain your breath, and hopefully make you sleep better.
It’s not advised to wear these belts 24/7, but most agree that you can safely wear them throughout a portion of the day or night (possibly the entire day or night, depending on your sleep schedule and needs). If you’re actively practicing Buteyko exercises, it’s not recommended to wear the belt for more than 30 minutes at a time.
The times when you’re not wearing the belt are just as important as when you are wearing the belt. It’s crucial that your body learns to perform these new breathing patterns on its own, so taking the belt off for the majority of your day will allow you to acclimate more naturally. There are exceptions to this, and your breathing coach will help you determine when to wear the belt.
How often should you practice Buteyko breathing?
The ways that you practice Buteyko and how often you choose to practice are very individual preferences that will depend on your skill level, health, and level of comfort and experience with breathing exercises. Generally, you can expect to practice for around an hour total daily, broken up into smaller sessions.
Generally, it isn’t recommended to overdo it, especially when you’re just starting out. More practice does not necessarily mean better results, but consistency and focus do! A couple breathing sessions practiced over the course of a day (often in the comfort of your home or during your daily routine) will make a world of difference.
In fact, incorporating Buteyko into your daily life without trying too hard is one of the end goals of the practice! You’ll hopefully notice your breathing naturally lessen over time, and your frequency of mouth breathing should dwindle down to practically nothing within a month or two. Again, consistency is key, and you’ll need to get to a 40 second breath hold before you can set back and enjoy the true benefits of Buteyko.