The Author

Introducing Author
Sergey Altukhov

Doctor Buteyko’s Discovery by Sergey Altukhov

Volume 1 was published in 19900-1
The more detailed Two-Volume Edition published in 1993
Volume 3 part 1 published in 1997
Volume 3 part 2 not published

Meet The Author:
Sergey Altukhov, Buteyko Biographer

Twice certified trainer in the Buteyko Method
Training Inspector
Director of the Centre for the Effective Study of Dr K.P. Buteyko’s Method

How I Came To Buteyko

People gravitate towards teachers of genius in any number of ways. I discovered Buteyko in November 1987, when I was 35 years old.

I myself was born in Novosibirsk in 1952 and finished school in 1967 with straight ‘A’s. At that point I had no preference for which university I went to: with my grades I would get in anywhere – including the medical institute….

But at that time, the medical profession seemed to me to be the height of tedium – an all-out fight with interminable epidemics; if not flu, then the common cold.

And so in 1969 I enrolled in the Construction Faculty of the Novosibirsk Institute of Railway Transport Engineering and in 1974 I graduated with a distinction. In passing I might say that even a genius like Buteyko did not immediately choose to become a doctor. First, he enrolled in a road transport institute in Ukraine, completing two years of the course. It was only then, in the post-war years, that he entered a medical institute, so that he could study the human body as closely as he had previously studied the automobile…

This is probably why I found Dr Buteyko’s first, engineering-based, calculations so very accessible.

Work on a building site was fairly evidently not to be my vocation, but I did love writing books about outstanding people and that is what I did from 1978. By 1987 I had two published books under my belt: one about Siberian partisans, and the other about a Hero of Labour who worked in an aircraft factory. A third book, about a woman from the same factory who was also a Hero of Labour, had reached the proofing stage.

1987 was also the year that I met my future wife, Ludmila Sokolskaya. sergeyShe was an extremely gifted woman, a physicist by training, who worked in a research institute of the university complex just outside Novosibirsk. Unfortunately, she had been tormented by illness from early childhood and in 1984 was literally dying from the terrible pain in her spine. Her life had been saved by Konstantin Buteyko, and it was Ludmila who gave me the idea of writing a book about him and his technique for the volitional elimination of deep breathing…

I didn’t immediately take to the idea. My fourth book was about police work and about to hit the shelves, and I was interested in trying my hand at crime writing too…

In November 1987, Ludmila introduced me to Boris Mitrofanov – not to Dr Buteyko himself, but to the disciple who had been directly responsible for curing her terrible back pain, under Buteyko’s tutelage. Nevertheless, this is the date that I consider I joined the Buteyko camp.

Ludmila brought me into contact with Dr Buteyko personally in June 1988. My third book, about the outstanding aircraft designer woman had just come out. Dr Buteyko had all three of my books in his hands and said something along the lines of just look at the drivel new writers churn out today – but they haven’t the guts to write about an alternative way of healing that is saving hundreds of people from asthma and hypertension!

I told him I was prepared to write about his technique.

Dr Buteyko narrowed his eyes, then said that only a teacher of the Volitional Elimination of Deep Breathing could write about it, so I should study with him — to learn the finer points of the technique — to heal a patient or two — and to write a book as I did so.

And that is what we decided to do!


I shall not forget that morning of 14 June 1988, when I came to Dr Buteyko’s Centre for 8 o’clock, in the handful of offices it then occupied in the District Hospital of Novosibirsk university complex on Arbuzov St. I was met by Boris Mitrofanov, whom I knew already, and who was one of Dr Buteyko’s deputies. Neither he nor I thought then that literally six months later I should take up the post of Deputy Director for Media and Information, in the same centre….

I told him that Dr Buteyko wanted me sent round a number of trainers for instruction. Boris looked round. Next to him there was a woman of about fifty in a black beret. She had a rather pleasing, nice face, and he said :” Well right now you can go with Clara Lagunova. She’s just about to take her group over to the “Academy” cinema.

Clara greeted me with her bewitching smile. This was fate! From my very first moment with the Novosibirsk Centre for “Breathing in the Buteyko Way”, I had fallen under the mentorship of the Best Teacher in the Soviet Union, as it was then!! That was the award that Dr Buteyko would give our Clara later, in 1989.

Some time later I got to know many of the teachers at the Novosibirsk Centre for “Breathing in the Buteyko Way”, as well as teachers from other towns, attending classes with the most famous of them. But Clara Lagunova has remained my MAIN teacher in the Buteyko technique, throughout my life!

I had more than one two-week training session with her — I must have had about 20, at least. I never ceased to admire the depth she brought to teaching the practical aspects of the Buteyko Technique, nor the selfless way she taught them! She used to give her whole soul to people who were ill. Most of Dr Buteyko’s practitioners were not doctors by profession. Professional doctors find it hard to let go of the idea that highly complex diseases like asthma, hypertonia and stenocardia can be cured by non-MEDICINAL means… Just the thought of that could nearly kill them. They were unable to cure illnesses like these using even the most expensive pharmaceuticals at their disposal. Then blow me down! Some sort of ‘normal’ breathing would clear it all up! Professional doctors found it awfully hard to overcome this psychological barrier, and extremely few of them completely succeeded. If Clara Lagunova had no compunction about cutting out part of her patients’ normal drug intake within the first two weeks’ of teaching them, (and sometimes all of it), doctors…would not always let their patients make a clean break from their drug treatments after six months! They preferred to combine the non-toxic Buteyko Technique, with dosages of their conventional ‘pesticides’.


Clara Lagunova did not merely teach the Buteyko Method. She would also tell her patients how sheclara personally used the method when diagnosed with cancer. That was an amazing story! – and is told in part in Book 2 of my trilogy.

These days so much is said and written about cancer that it is simply mind-bending. You have the impression this illness cuts through the population in swathes – and that conventional medicine is powerless to stop it. People are urged to have it diagnosed it early, because otherwise – it’s a death knell. But where are people supposed to acquire these early diagnoses, when doctors still cannot identify or prognosticate far simpler diseases with any accuracy?

Clara Lagunova came to see Dr Buteyko when she had a malignant tumour in her right breast that was already the size of an egg! In her case there was no talk of an early diagnosis whatsoever… The cancer was at a final stage, and it was very clear she did not have much longer to live. But the reason Clara Lagunova went on to become a first class Buteyko Therapist was that she had a first class brain in her head. Her grasp of the theory behind Dr Buteyko’s Method was so clear, and so profound.

She would get up at six every morning then sit for thirty minutes, scrupulously practising the Buteyko Method. Then she would walk around in accordance with the Method etc.


Ignaz Semmelweis lived and worked as a gynaecologist and obstetrician about 100 years before the Discovery of Illnesses Associated with Deep Breathing. You would think that he could have no connection to this revolution in medicine, but his life is extremely instructive. Through it you can see 19th century quite clearly leave its mark upon the 20th .

In those days nursing mothers used to die of puerperal fever – infected blood – on the wards. People would account for it in different ways. Some said the moon had come out wrongly during the delivery, and others that the priest had said the prayer too late. Then suddenly one of Semmelweis’ friends died after carrying out an autopsy on a woman who had died of sepsis! The friend had not had a baby… but he had nicked his hand while he was carrying out the post mortem – and so Semmelweis went public about the presence of poison in the corpses!

All he was trying to achieve in the early days was that surgeons should carefully scrub up before they operated – because at that stage they only washed their hands afterwards! Semmelweis recommended using common-or-garden bleaching powder as a disinfectant. You would think this was a pretty minor request – that his colleagues give their hands an extra wash – but no! Joseph Braun – the 18th century Academician and physicist, who was the first man to freeze mercury — hounded him for 13 years for his good advice, then put him away in a psychiatric hospital and destroyed him with drug injections.

Twenty years after Semmelweis’ public statement – he had a successor appear in the shape of the British scientist, Professor Lister. Joseph Lister recommended carbolic acid instead of bleaching powder, but he was hounded to death for that too. Basically it took an average of 50 years to prove this self-evident truth – and umbrellas came to the rescue. Common-or-garden umbrellas… because relatives began belabouring anyone with them who operated without washing their hands.

Light years from the Discovery of Illnesses Associated with Deep Breathing you would think, but how vividly it prefigured Dr Buteyko’s own thorny journey! It was about half a century before Ignaz Semmelweis’ innocent, simple discovery bore fruit, and daylight dawned for the medical profession. Perhaps poked or prompted into awareness by the umbrellas of their patients’ families – who knows? – surgeons did at last begin to wash and disinfect their hands before they operated, and not just afterwards! Fifty years for something so trivial.

How many years would it be before The Volitional Elimination of Deep Breathing was incorporated into daily practice? Dr Buteyko himself thought it would take 50 years for each of the 115 principal diseases that can be eradicated, or significantly improved, by use of his Method.

First and foremost, this includes all forms of allergy! Bronchial asthma; bronchitis; sugar diabetes; stenocardia; ischaemic coronary disease; hypertonia and hypotonia; gynaecological pathologies and kidney diseases. That is the spectrum of influence that Dr Buteyko’s Method may have!

And how awfully sad that people suffering from these complaints should need to wait for CENTURIES to hear the medical establishment acknowledge this fact!

I made a close study of The Volitional Elimination of Deep Breathing, with Clara Lagunova as my mentor, and after one year I moved from being an ordinary trainer to the Deputy Directorship of Media and Information for the Novosibirsk Centre: “Breathing in the Buteyko Way”. The Director was Dr Konstantin Buteyko himself. In May 1989 I was one of the first to be awarded a starred diploma as Senior Trainer in the Technique for the Volitional Elimination of Deep Breathing. Ten years later, in April 1988, Dr Buteyko carried out a qualifications’ review and awarded me a second diploma. On 22 August 1990, he gave me the exceptionally rare title of Training Inspector – which in Buteyko terms is the equivalent of ‘General’. He awarded extremely few of those.

Apart from Clara Lagunova’s classes, as Deputy Director for Media and Information, and a Training Inspector, I attended the sessions of DOZENS of Dr Buteyko’s trainers. I took the best from each of them and reproduced their common experience in my trilogy “The Discovery of Dr Buteyko”. I spent hours copying down the great scientist’s every word, and took part in his main theoretical and practical conferences. I saw a lot, and discovered much.

It seems no time since the summer of 1989, when my dear Clara Lagunova conducted a successful state clinical trial of the Method on 50 of the most chronic diabetics, at Dr Buteyko’s behes, in the Novosibirsk Univesrity Complex. She provided official proof to the whole world – even people who knew nothing about the trial – that the VEDB Method can completely eradicate sugar diabetes.

Then in April 1991, with Dr Buteyko’s permission and endorsement, his old student, Dr Vladimir Novoselov, assembled 13 HIV-infected patients in a clinic on the River Dnepr in Ukraine, and conducted a successful state clinical trial of the Method on patients HIV infection! His success has been hushed up to this day.

Then there is pain-free childbirth on the Method. One could write volumes about that – and I have already described it in Book Three, Part Two, of my trilogy – a section that has yet to be published. My own wife gave birth painlessly using the method – even though she had been categorically forbidden to have children because of the host of illnesses that attended her! They told her the baby would die – but it was born on 19 October 1981, the healthiest of the eight born in the maternity home that day! We called him Kostya, in honour of Konstantin Buteyko, and Dr Buteyko and Clara Lagunova helped christen him in the summer of 1991 in a Novosibirsk church, as his god- parents.

The pill-pushing mafia did their best to nip Dr Buteyko’s discovery in the bud. They persecuted him unmercilessly, and brought him to an early grave. They put him in a mad house and fired his most loyal students from their jobs. But they did not quite succeed in crushing the Method. Throughout all these years, Dr Buteyko’s wife Ludmila was his guardian angel. She succeeded in forcing documents through the system that no one else had the strength to force through! She put her son Andrey Buteyko into medical school and today he continues his father’s work.

And our boy Kostya has also started his second year at the medical institute – the boy the sergey-altukhov500100medical establishment said would never survive! The pill-pushing mafia may be powerful – but the power of human genius is even greater! The fire that burned in the great Dr Buteyko should never be allowed to die. And people like Alex Spence, who has taken on the labour of publishing an English version of the trilogy: “Dr Buteyko’s Discovery”, confirm by the strength of their own spirit, that it is unlikely to flicker out and die. As do colleagues at the Buteyko Centre in Moscow – Ludmila Buteyko, Andrey Novozhilov and Taras Shchetinin – and the Centre in Voronezh – Vladimir Buteyko and Maria Buteyko – and many more people, whom there is no opportunity here to name.

All of them are working FOR people who are ill, and this is the reason the pill-pushing mafia rewards them with unpleasantness and abuse. But still they stubbornly continue their difficult work, and I am proud that it has fallen to me to be the first chronicler of the Buteyko movement. Let us all close ranks! It is a struggle to the end. How can we not fight for him and a Great Discovery that brings recovery to so many people.

Author of the trilogy: “Dr Buteyko’s Discovery”
Twice certified trainer in the Buteyko Method
The first diploma No.152 from of 24 May 1989 year
The second diploma No.88 from of 2 April 1998 year (it was New attestation after 10 years of work)
Director of the Centre for the Effective Study of Dr K.P. Buteyko’s Method
Sergey Altukhov
Email: Sergey Altukhov
26 July 2008, Apsheronsk, Krasnodar Territory, Russian Federation

Sergey Altukhov to left of Dr Buteyko
Clara Lagunova to right of Dr Buteyko
Sergey Altukhov (2020)

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