Breathing Techniques

Having a lung condition such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or asthma can make you breathless. All. The. Time!

Every time you take a breath your chest tightens, and you may feel shallow like you are drowning. Running out of breath is exhausting and can be caused by several factors that may vary from person to person.

According to the British Lung Foundation, there are two types of breathlessness: Planned (Good) Breathlessness and Unplanned (Bad) Breathlessness. Bad breathlessness is the one experienced when you are struggling to keep up with your friends while walking. The one that you must bend over to catch your breath and that fills you with terror. On the other hand, good breathlessness brings you joy and makes you feel exhilarated. This type of breathlessness happens when you’ve planned an adventure with your family or had a wonderful day!

Regardless of the type of breathlessness you are experiencing, good or bad, you may want to control your breathing by inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth slowly. Practice breath control and one or all of these breathing techniques to overcome a breathless episode.

  • Blow-as-you-go: Take a breath in before you start an activity (i.e., standing up or walking). Then slowly breathe out through pursed-lips while you are making the effort. For example, if walking a short distance takes your breath away, breathe before you start walking and breathe out while you are taking a stride. Pause and repeat.
  • Pursed-lips breathing: Take a steady and gentle breath through the nose and then blow out the air through pursed lips. Blow all the air out for as long as it is comfortable, don’t try to force all the breath out. The technique may help you control your breath at any time and push all the breath out of the lungs.
  • Paced Breathing: A good technique to use while you are being active. Pace your steps to your breathing. For instance, if you are going up the stairs breathe in for one step and exhale while taking two steps.

When you are suffering from a lung condition, trying to breathe becomes a full-time job. Apply the breathing techniques that work best for you and your lungs.

If you or someone you love has a lung condition such as COPD or asthma, consider participating in a research study. Those that qualify may receive study-related care and medication at no cost and a better understanding of how to manage the condition’s symptoms. Participants may also receive compensation for time and travel.