People take breathing for granted except for those with severe asthma. Asthma narrows the air paths within your lungs to a point where it can become difficult to catch your breath.
Medicines such as inhaled corticosteroids and beta-agonists can open up your air paths to assist you to breathe easier. However, for some people with severe asthma, these medicines may not be adequate to control symptoms.
If you are looking for something to supplement your drug treatment, you may need to do breathing exercises. For more treatments and guidelines you can consult with Dr Mukesh Mahajan one of the best general physician in Keshav Nagar Pune.
Until recently, Doctors did not recommend breathing exercises for asthma. There was not enough evidence to show that they are beneficial. But, recent studies show these exercises may help enhance your breathing and quality of life.
Breathing exercises can provide value as add-on therapy to medication and other standard asthma treatments.
The following are 6 different breathing exercises for asthma. These exercises may help relieve your asthma symptoms and strengthen your lungs.
The diaphragm is the dome-shaped muscle under your lungs that assists you to breathe. In diaphragmatic breathing, you breathe from the region near your diaphragm, instead of from your chest. This technique can strengthen your diaphragm, decrease your body’s oxygen needs and slow your breathing.
To practice this breathing exercise:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent.
- Add a pillow below your knees, or sit up straight in a chair.
- Place one hand flat on your upper chest and the other hand on your stomach.
- Breathe in slowly through your nose. The hand on your stomach should move, while the one on your chest remains still.
- Breathe out slowly through pursed lips.
- Keep practising this exercise till you can breathe in and out without your chest moving.
Mouth breathing contributes to severe asthma symptoms. The merit of breathing through your nose is that it adds humidity and warmth to the air. This can help you decrease your asthma symptoms.
The Papworth method
The Papworth method is around since the 1960s. It combines various kinds of breathing exercises with relaxation training methods. Papworth method can teach you to breathe steadily and slowly from your diaphragm and through your nose.
You can also learn to maintain stress, so it does not affect your breathing. Research suggests that this technique can help ease breathing symptoms for those with asthma. It can also strengthen your lungs.
The idea behind Buteyko breathing is that people tend to hyperventilate while trying to breathe fast and deep. Rapid breathing increases symptoms such as shortness of breath in those with asthma. It can also make your lungs weak.
Buteyko breathing uses several exercises to teach you how to breathe deeper and slower. Studies show that its effectiveness has mixed results. Buteyko may improve asthma symptoms and decrease the requirement for medication. However, it does not seem to improve lung function.
Pursed lip breathing
Pursed lip breathing can relieve shortness of breath. It may also strengthen your lungs. To practice it, you first breathe in slowly through your nose with your mouth closed.
Then, you purse your lips as if you were about to whistle. Finally, you breathe out through your pursed lips to a count of four.
Yoga is an exercise that combines movement with deep breathing. Studies show that using the same kind of controlled deep breathing as in yoga can help enhance asthma symptoms. It can also improve your lung function.
Tips for Preserving Lung Health
Exercises cannot reverse lung damage. However, they can assist a person in using their lungs to their maximum capacity.
There are other methods to enhance and preserve lung health, like:
- Refraining from smoking
- Drinking plenty of water
- Staying physically active
If a person has symptoms of poor lung health, including:
- Shortness of breath during regular activities
- Pain when breathing
- Cough that cannot go away
Consider consulting a doctor. The earlier you get the treatment for lung problems; the outcome is likely to be better.
Should you try breathing Exercises?
Knowing these breathing exercises and practising them daily can help you gain control of your asthma symptoms. More importantly, they can strengthen your lungs. They may also help you cut down asthma medication.
However, breathing exercises cannot replace your asthma treatment completely. So, speak with your general physician before doing any of these breathing exercises to ensure they are safe for you.