Breathing Technique is Best For Controlling Asthma

Many people with asthma claim that breathing exercises can help control their symptoms. However, few scientists have studied the effects of these techniques in asthma.

The most promising techniques involve retraining breath patterns and reducing mouth breathing. Breathing through the nose provides the benefits of air filtration, temperature regulation and moisture.

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Diaphragmatic Breathing

In most people, the diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle that lies below the lungs. Diaphragmatic breathing is a deep breathing exercise that fully engages the diaphragm to increase lung capacity.

While the majority of people breathe from their chest and shoulders, those who are able to use their diaphragm more effectively may notice that they can take deeper breaths. Inhaling from the diaphragm allows the body to get more oxygen, which can help to improve energy and alertness. It can also help to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It can also promote better sleep and relaxation, which in turn can improve overall wellbeing.

This type of breathing also helps to regulate blood pressure and can slow the heart rate. It can help to improve posture, and can also help to prevent chronic inflammation of the lungs.

To practice diaphragmatic breathing, lie on a flat surface and put one hand on your chest, and the other on your stomach, just beneath your ribs. As you inhale, watch for the hand on your stomach to rise and fall. When you exhale, it is a good idea to purse your lips as you imagine blowing 100 birthday candles or slowly blowing bubbles with a bubble wand.

Breathing deeply from the diaphragm encourages the body to exchange a complete balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide, which can help to reduce inflammation and relax the muscles. It is a technique that can be used on its own or with other stress reduction techniques, such as meditation and yoga exercises, to help reduce the impact of external factors that can cause asthma symptoms.

Buteyko Breathing

Developed in the 1950s by Professor Konstantin Buteyko, this programme of breathing exercises and lifestyle guidelines is designed to recognise and normalise dysfunctional breathing. It suggests that hyperventilation is the primary cause of a number of different breathing disorders and asthma in particular, and that symptoms reduce as oxygen levels are balanced.

Breathing through the nose not only warms, filters and humidifies the air but is believed to produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a powerful bronchodilator, helping to open up the airways and ease symptoms of asthma. Buteyko breathers are also encouraged to tap their lips during the day, breathe gently and silently and close their mouths at night.

Many people with asthma claim that Buteyko breathing has cured them of their condition, and that it relieves their anxiety as well. The technique encourages deep, slow breathing that activates the parasympathetic nervous system and calms the body’s stress response.

Those who follow the Buteyko method are also told to avoid consuming caffeine and nicotine as these can stimulate the respiratory system. Some people also experience a loss of appetite as their body adjusts to the new routine, but these side effects should subside over time.

Those who practice the Buteyko method have also found it to help with other health conditions such as insomnia and snoring, as well as boosting energy levels. A study conducted by Mohamed et al. [14] involving children with bronchial asthma who were taught the Buteyko technique showed a high mean percentage increase in peak expiratory flow rate and control pause test at posttest compared to pretest. This suggests that the Buteyko breathing method is effective in improving respiratory outcomes and asthma control among children with bronchial asthma.

Nasal Breathing

Breathing through the nose warms and humidifies air before it reaches the lungs, helps to regulate air pressure, and reduces the production of inflammatory substances that can trigger asthma symptoms. Nasal breathing also increases the production of nitric oxide, which has bronchodilator effects.

Mouth breathing is especially common in athletes, but it can have negative effects on lung function and performance.

Several yoga breathing exercises are designed to improve respiratory health and increase airflow. This pose increases the size of the lungs to promote better airflow.

Another yoga breathing technique is the pranayama (yogic breathing) practiced by yogis to relax and calm the nervous system. The yogic breathing technique involves inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth until the lungs are empty.

Pursed Lip Breathing

Pursed lip breathing is a simple technique that slows your breaths and allows more oxygen to move into your lungs. It involves a slow inhale through your nose, followed by an exhale through pursed lips. The goal is to make the exhale twice as long as the inhale, focusing on a slow count. It helps control shortness of breath and is useful when exercising or during stressful situations. It also helps prevent stale air from remaining in your lungs and can improve exercise endurance.

You can do this method at home by simply inhaling through your nose and then blowing out through your mouth. For a more challenging technique, try holding your breath for four or more counts as you exhale. Then inhale again and repeat. The more you practice, the easier it becomes to do.

Breathing exercises can be beneficial in improving your overall quality of life, including reducing the symptoms of asthma.

For example, some pulmonary rehabilitation programs may include yoga exercises and tai chi, which combine physical movement with mindful breathing. These practices can improve your respiratory health by relaxing your muscles and calming the nervous system. They can also reduce stress, which can be a trigger for asthma.

If you want to learn more about breathing techniques for asthma, talk to your healthcare professional. They can provide guidance, observe your technique and recommend other strategies for controlling your asthma.

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