How do I know how much Buteyko Breathing has helped me?
For most of my life I was extremely allergic to dogs and cats and horses and pretty much any other critter I came into contact with. I can't remember going to a sleepover or slumber party past age 7, after I'd tried it a couple times and just been miserable with asthma and allergies. It felt pointless trying to hold it together on a minute-by-minute basis and look like I was enjoying myself while all the other little girls were having a blast.
Yet this past December, I stayed overnight at a house with three cats. (With reservations! I asked about the pet situation as an afterthought after we had already made the arrangements and I went ahead with the plan anyway.)
And last weekend, I spent four days in a workshop at a household with two dogs and two cats.
It wasn't mindless. I was very conscious of the state of my breathing. A couple times my nose started twitching and I just calmed down, quieted my breathing, did some formal exercises under the radar while everybody was talking. I was fine. I had a great time!
One of the calls that brings me to this work as a Buteyko educator is the possibility of helping people with allergies live a more normal life in which they can be comfortable in most other people's environments and even possibly have a pet themselves without sacrifice.
As a disclaimer, up until recently I actually owned a cat. But until I learned Buteyko Breathing, there was a lot of sacrifice!
About 11 years ago, a skinny, adorable young cat wandered onto my patio in Oakland to enjoy a sunbath. I fell in love with her. I had a designated outfit I wore when I went out to pet her; then showered right when I came back in. Then I started feeding her, and the rest is history. At her first visit to the vet, I learned she had a disease that required her to stay indoors. Oh no - now I had an indoor cat? That's not what I had signed up for.
I cared about her enough to boost my asthma medication and I still had lots of symptoms but the love I gave and received felt more important than the discomfort. By the time she died last month, I had practiced Buteyko Breathing for almost a year and hadn't used my reliever inhaler in months.
Still, multiple animal households can trip me up!
The key seems to be to slow down. And take extra medication for the period of exposure if it will help. When I was a kid it didn't help.
I have a 6-year-old daughter and she, like me, is an only child and wants a new pet so much. We are checking out rats and guinea pigs this week.
Ultimately we will get a new cat or dog too
I can't wait!
In : Asthma and Allergies
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