6 Breathing Exercises for Severe Asthma

Did you know that asthma is the most common chronic disease in children? From childhood to adulthood, it causes breathing problems that make you cough, wheeze or be short of breath because airways in the lungs get swollen and inflamed. Thankfully, studies have found that breathing exercises can lessen symptoms and serve as an add-on therapy to serious medication and other standard treatments!

lung health monitoring

There are various types of breathing techniques that are helpful for asthmatics. Some may help relieve shortness of breath, while some help strengthen the respiratory muscles.

To get you started, here are six breathing exercises for asthma recommended by researchers and doctors:

1. The Papworth Method

Dating back to the 1960s, the Papworth Method combines different types of breathing with relaxation techniques. It trains you to breathe steadily and slowly through the nose and from the diaphragm. 

To practice this method, slowly inhale through your nose and exhale twice as long through pursed lips as if you’re blowing out a candle. Repeat this three to five times or until you feel relief.

2. Nasal Breathing

Apart from taking asthma medications by inhaling corticosteroids through your mouth, reducing asthma symptoms is also effective with the Nasal Breathing exercise. This method promotes inhaling and exhaling through the nose, which helps you breathe safely, efficiently, and adequately. 

Deep breathing from your nose filters out foreign particles, humidifies inhaled air and eases discomforting asthma symptoms. When doing this exercise, simply sit comfortably and focus on inhaling and exhaling through your nose.

3. Pursed Lip Breathing

When asthma attacks happen, the air gets trapped in your lungs which causes shortness of breath. One of the best breathing techniques to relieve these attacks is the Pursed Lips Breathing. It is an effective technique that slows down breathing, ensuring that each breath you take is more effective. 

Do Pursed Lip Breathing by breathing in through your nose and breathing out with pursed lips as if you’re going to whistle. Remember to breathe out at least twice as long as inhaling.

4. Diaphragmatic Breathing

Learning different techniques to breathe is essential for patients with severe asthma. One of those is the Diaphragmatic Breathing method. Instead of breathing from your chest, this technique trains you to breathe from your diaphragm, a dome-shaped muscle below your lungs. It helps strengthen your diaphragm, slow down your breathing, and decrease your body’s oxygen needs.

Sit up straight in a chair, then place one hand flat on your upper chest and the other on your stomach. Breathe in slowly through your nose, and ensure that the hand on your stomach moves while the one on your chest remains still. Practice until you breathe in and out without your chest moving.

5. Buteyko Breathing

Buteyko Breathing is a technique that has been in practice since the 1950s, and it has helped asthma patients avoid hyperventilating or rapid breathing. Its developer, Professor Konstantin Buteyko, helped patients learn to breathe slowly and gently through the nose to make the optimum combination of oxygen and carbon dioxide. 

Do this exercise by sitting straight on a chair, relaxing your abdominal and chest muscles, and breathing deeply through your nose. Hold your breath for two counts then, slowly breathe out until your lungs feel empty. Return to gentle breathing after two or three cycles.

6. Yoga Breathing

Practicing yoga for asthma has shown encouraging results and improvement in asthma symptoms. Since yoga is an exercise that connects breathing and movement, it assists with opening the chest muscles and controlling breathing. Not only that, but it also helps to relieve stress which is a common trigger for asthma.

The yoga poses that may help people with asthma include the Bridge pose, Cobra pose, Supine spinal twist, Cat-cow pose, Low lunge pose, and more.

Asthma and Breathing Exercises

Do you think breathing exercises will help with your asthma? While there is no cure for asthma, manage it by working with a healthcare professional to develop a plan to avoid asthma triggers and use medication properly. Adding breathing exercises, yoga practices, and tailored medical devices to that plan may help you.

In the same way that aerobic exercises strengthen your heart and muscles, strengthening the respiratory system is crucial for asthmatics. Thus, doing these exercises consistently eases your breathing symptoms and improves your quality of life.

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