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ABED (formerly BEDA) Method™ - Empowering Clients to Optimum Health

by Michael A Clark(more info)

listed in breathing, originally published in issue 171 - June 2010

ABED† is an acronym for 4 key areas Michael Clark feels people must take heed of if they wish to safeguard their health that of their loved ones. His work is heavily influenced by the Buteyko Method, whose main premise was that the majority of all modern illnesses could be cured or at least improved upon by reducing breathing rate.

sky image

A healthy breathing rate at rest should be no more than 10 times a minute, the breathing should be exclusively nasal, the breathing should come from just below the naval called the Dan Tien point, and the breathing should be light, ideally with as little bodily movement as possible.

Breathing supplies over 99% of your entire oxygen and energy supply. Poor breathing is a major factor in the cause or worsening of chronic maladies such as asthma, allergies, anxiety, fatigue, depression, headaches, heart conditions, high blood pressure, sleep loss, obesity, harmful stress, poor mental clarity plus hundreds of other lesser known but equally harmful conditions.

The author qualified as a Stress Consultant in 1993 and was using breathing techniques as help to reduce his client's stress levels. He came across the Buteyko Method after watching a TV documentary in 1998. Dr Buteyko as a trainee doctor had discovered that 100% of his patients breathed more than what was optimum. This over breathing. especially if the person was bed ridden or not physically active made the person worse. Interestingly, one of the major medications for asthma – Ventolin – had anxiety as a side effect, which the author knew as a stress consultant led to an increase in breathing.

The Buteyko Method claimed that by reducing the rate of breathing, the asthma symptoms would reverse. The QED programme had three patients who had more or less been given up by the medical establishment as un-treatable. Within 5 days of using The Buteyko Method their lives were turned around.

One of the greatest discoveries Buteyko made was that as patients approached death the greater the depth and volume of air became. Buteyko wondered that if over breathing meant death, maybe under breathing or light breathing meant life. Buteyko had for a number of years suffered with headaches and hypertension, with high blood pressure. So he set about working on reducing his own breathing rate; to his astonishment within one day he had reduced his blood pressure and never again in his life suffered with headaches.

Professor Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko Born 27th Jan 1923 - Died 2nd May 2003
Professor Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko
Born 27th Jan 1923 - Died 2nd May 2003

Michael met the late Dr Buteyko in November 2002 a few months before he passed away, Buteyko told Michael that he felt many of the modern illness were caused by Man's inner constitution breaking down, making him weak, which was causing the person to over breathe; this over breathing or hyperventilation was contributing toward many people's early demise.

The Buteyko method is now recommended by the British Thoracic Society as a useful tool to help asthma; in June last year Coventry University is teaching the Buteyko Method to its nurses.

In the UK the Buteyko Method is in general limited to the treatment of asthma. In Russia it is used to treat many other conditions. Michael became determined to combine his Stress Consultancy experience with his knowledge of Buteyko to be able to treat many other conditions in the UK.

Over the last seven years Michael has developed a therapy that is built on the premise of the Buteyko Method, that by reducing hyperventilation we can improve many diseases and medical conditions, but more palatable for the western client. Wherever possible ABED Therapy works best working alongside a client's GP and or specialists. Of course it is most desirable for clients to eventually come off medication once they are symptom free. But under no circumstances whatsoever does a ABED Therapist ever recommend changes to a client's medication. Michael discovered that there are four key areas to work on to help reduce breathing and create a strong inner constitution. He found that the four ways to reduce breathing was the breathing itself. He also found that people were often too sedentary so exercise was important, but it would have to be exercise that did not create over breathing. He also recognized that the food and drink people consumed had an effect on breathing, as well as other factors such as mental stress which also contributed toward over breathing. Michael calls his treatment ABED Therapy™.

Attitude Breathing Exercise Diet

Let us then look at the different techniques used in ABED, starting first with Breathing Techniques:

  • Buteyko Breathing;
  • Abdominal/Baby Breathing/Relaxed/Warrior;
  • Exclusively nasal breathing technique;
  • Nasal clearing technique;
  • Pranayama;
  • Control Pause (CP);
  • Relaxed Reduced Volume Breathing.

The main aim of all the above breathing techniques is to reduce the amount of air breathed at rest. As a client relaxes more, the better his breathing in turn becomes.

Most people breathe from the chest; if you stand in front of the mirror you can check your breathing. Also place a hand on your chest and one on your tummy button, when you inhale, your hand on your tummy button should push out. If this is the case, you are breathing using your diaphragm, but if your top hand pushes out you, are using your thoracic muscles and you are breathing from the chest. This leads to mental stress and an increase of blood pressure,[1] as well as a decrease of CO2 which leads to an increase of breathing rate. Abdominal breathing is an excellent start to help reduce stress both mentally and physiologically.[2] For many reasons, more mouth breathing is increasing, and when people are asleep, mouth breathing can be a significantly contributing factor toward sleep apnea and snoring. Nasal breathing is far superior to oral breathing.[3, 4]

ABED Exercise

  1. Is very effective at fat burning and helps people get fit in a minimum amount of time;
  2. Takes into account different fitness levels;
  3. Can be done just as easily at home or a gym;
  4. Keeps breathing to a minimum using special sports breathing recovery methods.

There is strong research showing that exercise is a key to reducing stress and illness, and that a lack of exercise can literally kill you; in fact a sedentary lifestyle causes more deaths than smoking.[5] Exercising 20 minutes a day fairly vigorously reduces stress by as much as 40%.[6]

The number one reason given for not exercising is that people do not have the time. Let's face it, time is one of the most precious commodities we have nowadays. Going to a gym, especially if we have children and work full time, can be almost an impossible task.

The ABED Exercise programme only takes 20 minutes a day, 3 times a week, and can be done in your home, or even jogging on the street. Once you have achieved a good fitness level, you can even train as little as 4 minutes per day to keep fit! Some people don't realize that excessive exercise can almost be as bad as no exercise at all.[7]

ABED Exercise Techniques

  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
  • Tabata / Fertlek
  • All done with breath consciousness and recovery of breath as soon as possible, using a special sports recovery breath system.

The Benefits of ABED High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) [8, 9]

  • Burn more fat (after the workout);
  • Have more energy after your workouts;
  • Experience fewer injuries;
  • Build a powerful, strong heart;
  • Boost your lung capacity, due to the intensity of the sets;
  • Takes less time.

Prof. Martin Gibala of the Health Department of McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, said: "We thought there would be benefits, but we did not expect them to be this obvious. It shows how effective short intense exercise can be."


The ABED Diet is unprocessed, low in sugar, low in hydrogenated fat, and as much as possible any meat eaten is ideally organic. ABED advocates a majority alkaline diet, which means less meat and processed foods and having a majority vegetarian diet. The aim of all things ABED is to reduce breathing rate to a healthy optimum level; if one eats a majority vegetarian diet, then hyperventilation is reduced.[10]

Below is a list of some common western dietary products that weaken the constitution and contribute toward a degenerative condition with increase breathing rate.

  • Alcohol;
  • Sugar;
  • Chocolate;
  • White Bread;
  • Biscuits;
  • Excessive meat intake (especially if non organic);
  • Dairy;
  • Almost all processed foods;
  • Bad food combining choices such as bread and meats together causing different acids to be released, thus putting a strain on the digestion system, which in turn leads to an increase of breathing;
  • Keep hydrogenated oils to a minimum; use coconut oil for cooking;

Dehydration is also a cause of hyperventilation due to the strain placed upon the body and cells. Of course by hyperventilating, this also leads to an increase of dehydration. Just think of when you exhale on a mirror – it clouds the mirror with vapour, so if we do overbreathe, it is essential we increase our water intake and decrease our breathing rate.


"If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it;
Then change the way you think about it".
Mary Engelbreit
Image showing the role of stress and hyperventilation
Image showing the role of stress and hyperventilation

Stress also causes hyperventilation, and hyperventilation is also a sign of the person under stress. [11] By introducing techniques to influence and calm attitude such as breathing exercises and meditation, ABED Method™ aims to reduce anxiety and breathing rate.[12,13,14]

ABED Method™ treatment also recognizes the importance of a positive mental outlook for a healthy life. That health is indeed linked to how positive someone feels, so by indirectly affecting a client's outlook, we can actually help to increase their longevity.[15]

The role of attitude in ABED is one that asks the client to be aware of the ability they have to change their lives by understanding the importance of recognizing the role stress plays in their lives and by accepting this and taking steps to protect their inner minds. There have been numerous studies showing how relaxation and meditation reduce breathing rate. By adopting coping strategies using proven methods into a client's everyday life, this can go a long way to help the client stay healthy.

Attitude Techniques

  • Deep mental relaxation using progressive relaxation and visualization;
  • Meditation;
  • The power of thought;
  • Hat Therapy – it is nothing to do with real hats but the imaginary placing of using different hats for the many different roles we have in life. Practising being present in the moment.
  • Increasing Daily Conscious awareness.

Case Study 1

DK. Man, aged 34 was drinking too much alcohol, was under pressure at work and had problems focusing on his future.

  • Checked breathing and noticed he was breathing 16 plus BPM (Breaths per minute);
  • Breathing was thoracic and high into the chest;
  • He was also a predominant mouth breather;
  • His Breath holding time was very low (12 seconds) indicating a weakened constitution;
  • His blood -pressure was 140/ 90;
  • He was overweight by around 10 kgs;
  • His diet was majority junk food with very little vegetables. His intake of whole foods was virtually nil.

Aim of ABED Method™ Treatment

  • Client to lose 10 kgs in three 12 weeks;
  • To reduce blood pressure to normal levels 120/80;
  • To reduce breathing rate;
  • To reduce drinking levels;
  • To improve diet;
  • To discuss some kind of direction for client.

ABED Treatment



  • I started first of all with the breathing with instruction and exercises aimed at relaxing the diaphragm to enable low and slow stress free abdominal breathing;
  • I also instructed the taping of the mouth to retrain his breathing to be nasal;
  • DK was instructed to continue breathing exercises at home whist listening to suitable relaxing music.


  • We set an exercise programme which was 20 minutes HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Cardiovascular 3 times a week;
  • At the same time client was instructed in a Sports Recovery Breathing Technique aimed at reducing any unwarranted hyperventilation;
  • DK of his own volition attended a gymnasium and pushed weights once a week.


  • Cut out all junk food during on weekdays;
  • Porridge for breakfast;
  • Increased whole food intake;
  • Cut out all microwave foods;
  • Cut out all soft drinks (was drinking at least 3 diet cokes a day - aspartame is very bad);
  • Cut down on coffee (was drinking 5- 6 cups with 2 sugars- Caffeine is a stimulant);
  • Swapped drinking wine for lager.


  • Used a deep relaxation / visualization technique known 'Same Life Same Future Changed Life Changed Future';
  • Discussed the vision and the changes he might need to achieve the goals;
  • Discussed how he might go about starting to implement the required changes in his life.


After two months of ABED Treatment


  • Was totally abdominal and down to 11 BPM;
  • Blood pressure was 110/75.


  • Weight was down 7 Kgs.


  • Client had cut down on junk foods, dramatically. He would only eat pizza or take away on a weekend;
  • His intake of fresh whole foods had increased dramatically;
  • Client's biggest change was he cut down his alcoholic intake. He swapped wine for lager;
  • Swapped soft drinks for water.


  • Client was feeling far less stressed;
  • Sleep which was previously not discussed (I forgot to ask!!) had also improved;
  • Client said he was far less tired and had much more energy;
  • Client was far more positive about his life, he felt he had a future to look forward to.

  Testimonial is on  

Case Study 2

  • 5 1/2 year old male David (not real name) with asthma;
  • He had been a premature baby;
  • From the age of 6 months according to mum and dad, had not slept a full night through due to almost constant nocturnal coughing;
  • Client had been diagnosed asthmatic since 6 months old;
  • His breathing was over 20 BPM and high into chest, from the mouth and slight life of shoulders, indicating distress;
  • He was on average having 6 – 7 puffs of Ventolin a day.

The child appeared very tired with dark circles under his eyes. I asked about the child's diet and his parents told me he is a very picky eater; because he was born premature they are very scared of letting him get too much underweight. I explained how certain foods can increase breathing, which if we can reduce amount of breathing, this will in turn reduce the loss of CO2, which would also reduce the symptoms of the asthma. What I discovered about his diet disturbed me and shocked me and needed strong action.

  • They would give him white toast with the crusts off, butter and chocolate spread. They said it was the only thing he would eat;
  • For lunch he might have cheese spread on white bread;
  • For evening meal more sandwiches and crisps, sometimes crisp sandwiches;
  • Supper was biscuits, or more white bread with chocolate spread.

Aim of ABED Method™ Treatment.

Client's parents were deeply worried about their son; he had been in hospital 6 times for asthma attacks, twice in the last 6 months. They were very worried that he was not getting enough sleep and seemed to be coughing all the time. They said they would be happy if he could just stop coughing.

ABED Treatment

For a child this young, obviously it is a combination of educating the parents and helping them help their child.


  • I informed the clients that they must make sure they encourage the child to breathe only through his nose;
  • I inform them about the Buteyko Method and the Bohr Effect relating to the role of CO2 and oxygen absorption. That the less he breathes the more his asthma will disappear;
  • They are to check on regular periods, even during the middle of the night. The reason for this is to increase levels of CO2 to normal, thus allowing the airways to open and not be irritated by sleeping with the mouth open which dries the airways, thus preventing the need for the coughing, which will prevent the loss of CO2 and prevent the need for the asthma inhaler;
  • I also gave some general advice regarding the child's asthma medication. Of course it had to be general. I merely pointed out what is written by the British Thoracic Society, stating that the over use of Bronchodilators (Ventolin) can make asthma worse by encouraging hyperventilation. I advised that they were to use the Ventolin only after first trying a special Buteyko Method technique.


  • Client is obviously too young to take up structured exercise, and it was not required. However, I did warn the clients that if he is playing outside or on a bike etc, that it is beneficial for his asthma if he learns to keep his mouth closed.


  • I explained the role of sugar and poor diet and its role in increasing breathing. I then informed them that although they think they are helping him, because he is too young to know better they are actually helping make his asthma much worse;
  • If you want your child to become well he must eat vegetables, he must immediately stop having white bread and under no circumstance is he to have chocolate spread for breakfast;
  • He was also a fan of fizzy pop and sweets. I advised a radical reduction in the amount of treats, and they were to encourage the eating of fruits, maybe apple chopped.


  • The attitude section was mainly directed at the parents;
  • I encouraged them that they really had a lot of power in saying how asthma would affect their son's life. If they could be strong in doing what I instructed, then they would see astonishing results;
  • I addressed the client myself. I asked him if he would like to get rid of his asthma, I asked him if he would like to sleep without coughing. I also told him that he must start eating healthy food like broccoli and other vegetables, otherwise he would remain poorly;
  • Clients seemed relieved at my words, they said that they had thought it was wrong feeding him all the sweets, but no one had ever told them so;
  • I shared with them my own experience at how I get my own young child to eat his vegetables. If he does not want his tea, I simply take it away. Very soon a child will get the message when hunger takes over taste preference.


I week later the parents brought their little boy to see me.
I asked how things were, and mother almost burst into tears; her words will always stay with me. "Since the very first time we saw you he has slept right through every night".

  • After a little more discussion, I had found that they had completely banned white bread from the house;
  • The chocolate spread had gone;
  • He had eaten his first ever piece of broccoli;
  • He was down to less than one puff of Ventolin a day;
  • He also appeared to be far more awake, his dark circles were no longer visible and his eyes had a sparkle.

I have asked the clients if they would be ok if I gave out their details but they respectfully declined the offer, as they are just far too embarrassed regarding how "silly they were with their son before they met me".

This is not by any means an isolated case. With ABED and Buteyko you can really get quite amazing results. Instead of fighting against the body with ever stronger drugs, you look at the cause of the condition and try to work in harmony. This frees up so much energy form the body to start to heal from within.

For example if we take someone who has digestion problems and is taking medication for heartburn, usually the problem is just been masked and there is no attempt to look for the cause. Eventually the problem may well turn into something more serious like an ulcer.

Yet with ABED Method™ you have a model that will deal not only with the symptoms but addressed the cause. With calming the Breathing, creating a useful Exercise programme, discussing the client's Diet (which foods such as fried meats and poor food combining may be exasperating the condition) and finally Attitude to see if stress may be playing a role. After all the condition of stress really can play havoc with the digestion process. (Basically due to the fight or flight reaction when we are stressed, our body says we do not need food, but unfortunately because we are almost stressed all the time, this causes problems.)


ABED is not a panacea for the world ills, but it does offer an interesting paradigm, especially in a world where so much emphasis is on expensive treatments rather than preventative measures.

The paradigm is this; the person best equipped in the vast majority of cases to take care of their health is the client themselves. I believe that we are naturally meant to be healthy and not sick. It is our so called modern developed lifestyle that is killing us, one where we choose taste over substance, where we eat processed foods which can be eating far quicker without the need for chewing, which means we can eat far more before we think we have had enough, where we are forced think on average far more than 50 years ago and yet physically work far less. Where we are working and thinking money and wealth is the answer to our quest for happiness, when in fact our happiness can be far greater by having enough money so it is no longer a concern, and our wealth comes from the love that can be manifested from our friends and family, the love of our partner and children.

Where we are always on the lookout for a pill or wonder drug to give us the answers without us having to change our habits, we literally want to keep our cake and at the same time eat it. To be healthy in this world with so much temptation requires discipline and encouragement. I believe that with ABED Method™ and the right type of ABED Therapists there is a chance at helping people help themselves to become the guardians of their own health.


1. E Grossman, A Grossman, MH Schein, R Zimlichman and B Gavish. Breathing-control lowers blood pressure. Available:   2001.
2. Daniele Martarelli, Mario Cocchioni, Stefania Scuri and Pierluigi Pompei . Diaphragmatic Breathing Reduces Exercise-induced Oxidative Stress. Available:   2009.
3. P.Lavie. Rediscovering the importance of nasal breathing in sleep or, shut your mouth and save your sleep. Available:   1987.
4. M White. Nose Breathing. Available:  1987-2010.
5. Mike Adams. Sedentary lifestyle causes more deaths than smoking, says study. Available:   2010.
6. Mark Hamer. Dose response relationship between physical activity and mental health: The Scottish Health Survey. Available:   2008.
7. Melissa Kucirek . Is Excessive Exercise Bad?. Available:   2008.
8. Kirsten A. Burgomaster, Scott C. Hughes, George J. F. Heigenhauser, Suzanne N. Bradwell, and Martin J. Gibala Six sessions of sprint interval training increases muscle oxidative potential and cycle endurance capacity in humans J Appl Physiol 98: 1985-90. 2005. First published February 10, 2005; doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.01095. 2004.
9. Wiley - Blackwell High-intensity interval training is time-efficient and effective, study suggests. ScienceDaily.    March 12 2010.
10. Artour Rakhimov. Causes of hyperventilation. Available:   2003-10.
11. G William M. Suess, A. Barney Alexander, Deborah D. Smith, Helga W. Sweeney, Richard J. Marion. The Effects of Psychological Stress on Respiration: A Preliminary Study of Anxiety and Hyperventilation. Available:    1980.
12. P. Grossman, J.C.G. De Swart and P.B. Defares. A controlled study of a breathing therapy for treatment of hyperventilation syndrome . Available:
13. Gregory Magarian. Hyperventilation Syndromes: Infrequently Recognized Common Expressions of Anxiety and Stress. Lippincott. 61(4): 219. 1992.
14. University of Wisconsin. Meditation for Health & Happiness. Available:   2002.
15. Unknown. Optimistic women live longer. Available:  

†ABED Method™ is the brain child of Michael Clark a Stress Consultant and Buteyko Therapist.


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About Michael A Clark

Michael A Clark Dip Official Buteyko is the head of The Well Natural Health Clinic. He is also the executive director of The Well Naturally Health Company established in 1991. He helps clients from all over the UK with a range of issues but specializes in four key areas: Natural Healthy Permanent Weight Loss, Asthma treatment, Diabetes II and Stress Management.

He holds full qualifications in Effective Stress Management, Buteyko Breathing Therapy (One of Only two Buteyko Therapists from the UK who was classically trained at the Buteyko Clinic Of Excellence in Moscow) Diet, Nutrition, Self Reliant Exercise, Counselling, & hypnosis. He is also the head of The Well Naturally Health Foundation that aims to offer free Buteyko treatment for all asthmatic children in the UK. Michael has designed the ABED MethodTM  to be flexible enough to be used  for individual clients as well as for groups and could be adapted just as well for children’s health as well as staff health protection on a corporate level.

Now that the ABED MethodTMhas finally been recognized as a useful model for inspiring others to take care of their own health, Michael is offering to train others to become ABED A.C.T. Practitioners TM, covering areas of health including Asthma, Diabetes II, Stress Management & Weight Problems. Michael describes himself as a Healthy Lifestyle Coach. With what he sees as a revolution that is set to start in April 2013 when UK GPs become fundholders, Michael sees the future of health care moving very much in the field of prevention through education. For this reason alone Michael sees the demand for healthy lifestyle coaches rising significantly. If you are interested in training as an ABED ACT Healthy lifestyle Coach then for more information including a free prospectus and for more details on upcoming training courses please contact Michael on Tel: 01482

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