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Allergies are becoming more common and one of the causes is unhealthy breathing habits. Breathing correctly markedly reduces the quantity of allergens that enter the lungs and reduces histamine production in the body. Buteyko participants often find that by adopting healthy breathing habits they suffer less with hay fever and airborne allergies.

Allergies happen when foreign substances enter the body and the immune system releases histamine in response. While immunity is an essential part of good health, an over-vigilant immune system can result in too much histamine being released causing a range of allergic symptoms such as watery, itchy eyes, sneezing and airway constriction.

Healthy breathing reduces the amount of allergen introduced into the respiratory system in two ways. Switching to nasal breathing both day and night ensures 99% of allergens are removed by the nasal filtering system before they reach the lungs, which helps to reduce the allergic response. Research studies also show that over-breathing is a common health problem – while normal breathing consumes 4-6 litres of air per minute, many people breath around 10-12 litres of air per minute. This is not observable and not usually noticed even by health professionals. If someone with an airborne allergy breathes twice the quantity of air that their body requires, they will also be exposed to twice the quantity of airborne allergens, exacerbating their allergy response.

Over-breathing also lowers the amount of carbon dioxide in the lungs and blood. Because carbon dioxide is a natural anti-histamine, over-breathing results in higher levels of histamine in the body which also exacerbates allergy responses.

Many people who have undergone breathing retraining to normalise their breathing have found that they have less hay fever and airborne allergies going forward.