When it’s difficult to breathe, it’s normal to get anxious. However, this can make you even more short of breath.
There are two breathing techniques that help you get the air you need without working so hard to breathe. These techniques are called pursed lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing.
Before starting any breathing technique, make sure to relax. Take a minute to drop your shoulders and close your eyes.
You need to avoid the harmful cycle of breathlessness:
You feel breathless > You avoid activities that make you feel breathless > You do less > Your muscles weaken > You get more breathless > You feel depressed
Pursed lip breathing (PLB) benefits:
- Slows down your breathing.
- Keeps airways open longer so your lungs can get rid of old trapped air.
- Reduces the amount of work required for breathing.
- Increases the amount of time you can exercise or be active.
- Improves the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your lungs.
PLB can be particularly useful for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is a very common lung
disease. The increased pressure created by exhaling through pursed lips will help prevent the large airways from collapsing.
This may also help open up airways to release more air.