Allyson Kenning
By Allyson Kenning
August 18th, 2010

The journey from London, UK, firefighter to ownership of Rossland’s newest alternative healing enterprise, Breathing Space Health Solutions, has been inspired by Phil Loosley’s love of the things most residents adore about the Mountain Kingdom: the snow, the skiing, and the great outdoors.

But there is also a little bit of a romantic story to tell here, too. In the winter of 2004, while working at a backpackers’ hostel in the French Alps, Phil met Ali, an Australian also working at the hostel. After the pair hit it off, Phil quit his job in the UK and basically packed up his life there. He and Ali then travelled to various European destinations, Iceland, New York, and then went to Oz. Phil spent 16 months there and in New Zealand, travelling and working odd jobs.

Planning on going back to the French Alps to set up their own backpacking hostel, Ali quit her engineering job and sold her house, Phil sold his house in England, and the couple then spent three months travelling around South America. But they wanted to spend a winter in BC before leaving for France, and they ended up in Rossland.

Arriving in November 2006, Phil says, “We came to Rossland to work at the hostel here – and never left. Rossland just hijacked all our plans because we totally fell in love with [it].”

“It was just the most amazing snow we’d ever ridden,” Phil continues. “As the season went on, we loved the mountain, but we also loved the feel of the place and the community…It just felt like you were part of something. As much as the snow was a big draw, it was the feel of the community that really made it for us.”

But it was back in Australia that the other part of this story takes root. During his time there, Phil was introduced to the Buteyko breathing technique by Ali’s mother, who is a Buteyko educator. She was teaching a course and asked Phil if he was interested. He was.

Though he didn’t have a specific condition that could be ameliorated with Buteyko, he was curious about it for overall general health reasons. Eventually, after settling in Rossland, Phil encountered a man in Castlegar who had a medical condition that Phil suggested might be helped with Buteyko, but there were no practitioners in the area; in fact, the closest one was in Victoria. Sensing an opportunity, Phil went to Victoria for training from Canada’s first Buteyko educator, Chris Bauman.

Of Rossland and Kootenay residents, Phil says “People are very aware of their own health, and they are…open to different ideas. It’s kind of a forward-thinking place…Look at the numbers of people who go to yoga or zumba and all the different things that are offered for good health.” Buteyko, according to Phil’s web site, can help chronic respiratory conditions like asthma, and can even aid in eliminating one’s reliance on medications to treat such conditions.

On a personal level, Phil credits the Buteyko breathing technique with giving him faster recovery times in his own active lifestyle, and said that the technique came in very handy when climbing the high altitudes of the Inca Trail in Peru. Practicing Buteyko enhances stamina, increases oxygen to the muscles and tissues, and can decrease the build-up of lactic acid during exercise, contributing to quicker recovery time after activities like climbing or biking.

For more information on Buteyko, you can go to Loosley’s web site. He will also be offering some free information sessions in the future, so be sure to watch out for those.

The People in Your Neighbourhood is an occasional column about your friends and neighbours. If you have someone with an interesting story to tell, drop us a line.

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