Recognizing and Treating Breathing Disorders: A Multidisciplinary Approach By Leon Chaitow, Dinah Bradley and Christopher Gilbert

An interesting and informative book that is of relevance to all physiotherapists, not just those specialising in the respiratory field.

Breathing pattern disorders (BPD) affect 6-14% of the population [1,2,3] so whatever field you work in, chances are that you will treat patients experiencing the symptoms of BPD. This book highlights the close links between posture and breathing pattern, illustrates how BPD often accompanies problems commonly treated by physiotherapists such as low back pain and even has a chapter on BPD in the athlete. Covering much more than just hyperventilation, physiotherapists across many specialities will find this book of interest.

What it covers

This 300 page illustrated book covers the physical, biochemical and psychological processes involved in breathing and respiration in great detail. It has a chapter on assessing BPD aimed specifically at physiotherapists that covers history taking, manual assessment and self assessment questionnaires that provides a useful quick reference. It goes on to cover a broad range of treatment modalities including manual techniques and postural correction that physiotherapists will find particularly useful. The Buteyko and Feldenkrais breathing techniques are discussed as well as the breathing control elements of yoga, Pilates and Tai-Chi.

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What it does

  • This book provides clear explanations of the complex biochemical process underlying BPD, with diagrams and flow charts to aid understanding. These are helpful for both the therapist and for patient education.
  •  The postural components and muscle imbalances associated with BDPs are illustrated with clear diagrams.
  • Since breathing is a dynamic process the video illustrations provided on the accompanying website are useful for providing a clearer understanding of what to look for.
  • The recognition of BPDs is described and is supported with interesting case studies that are set within the relevant chapters of the book.
  • Assessment and treatment modalities are explained and illustrated with diagrams and videos on the accompanying website.

What it doesn’t do

  • The assessment and treatment modalities are split into Osteopathic, Physiotherapy and Psychological modalities which feels a little at odds with holistic patient management and means that digging through a number of chapters is required to locate all the tests or you may wish to use.
  • Since breathing patterns are by their nature dynamic the subject of BPD lends its self well to illustration by video, whilst the videos provided on the website are informative, expanding the library would be useful, particularly with further examples of disorded breathing to aid recognition by the therapist who may not be familiar with BPD.
  • The subject of BPD in children in adolescents is only covered briefly.


Overall, an in depth but easily accessible book covering this interesting subject that is of relevance to physiotherapists across many specialties.


  1. Thomas M, McKinley RK, Freeman E et al 2005, The prevalence of dysfunctional breathing in adults in the community with and without asthma. Prim Care Respir J 14, 78-82
  2. Lum LC 1975, Hyperventialtion: The tip of the iceberg. J Psychosom Res 1, 375-383
  3. Rice RL 1950, Symptom pattens of the hyperventialtion syndrome. American J Medicine   8, 691-700

Pain: a guide for healthcare professionals 15% discountDisordered breathing patterns may be a symptom or a cause of frequently undiagnosed health problems. A significant proportion of the population worldwide suffers from breathing pattern disorders, particularly in the more developed countries. Accordingly, a wide range of practitioners encounter these problems, often without having received any prior training in their causation or management. This book is intended to help practitioners understand the causes and effects of disordered breathing and to provide strategies and protocols to help restore normal function.

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