Breathing Exercises For Asthma

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Asthma is a severe lung disorder that can make breathing extremely difficult. Millions of people suffer from asthma, and it is the number one cause of chronic illness throughout the world. Even though the number of asthma patients are at an alarming rise, there is still reason to be hopeful.

Even though there is no cure for asthma, researchers throughout the world are determined to develop effective remedies for treating asthma.

Apart from the medical treatments, there are also many home remedies as well as breathing exercises for asthma that you can try to minimize the occurrence of the asthma attacks and alleviate the symptoms. Here we will solely focus on a variety of breathing exercises that you can use to manage your asthma.

But before getting into the breathing exercises, let’s first try to understand the causes and symptoms of asthma.

Causes Of Asthma

There are two different forms of asthma- allergic and non-allergic. Allergic asthma is more common as compared to non-allergic asthma. People with allergies develop allergic asthma, and the allergens that provoke their allergies, provoke the asthma as well.

Common allergens include

  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Dust mites
  • Pet dander

While the pollen and mites are airborne allergens, asthma can also be triggered by an allergic reaction caused by consuming something, like a strawberry.

Non-allergic asthma is triggered by factors that affect the lungs and have nothing to do with the immune system or allergies.

The common triggers can be-

  • Cold weather
  • Dry air
  • Smoking, as well as secondhand smoking
  • Strong odors
  • Exercise induced asthma
  • Stress
  • Intense emotions
  • Laughing too much

Symptoms of Asthma

The typical symptoms of both the types of asthma are very similar. They include-

  • Dry coughs
  • Breathlessness
  • Tightening in the chest
  • Increased heart rate

These symptoms can occur immediately after coming in contact with the triggers, and can also be delayed. And, the severity can differ among the sufferers.

Breathing Exercises for Asthma

As mentioned above, there is no cure for asthma. But, the good news is, no matter how severe or mild your asthma is, it can be managed. While consulting a doctor is very much necessary, breathing exercises can aid in managing the asthma better.

The reason that makes breathing exercises so beneficial for managing asthma is the fact that asthma patients are known to breathe faster than normal people. Moreover, many of the sufferers also have a habit of mouth breathing. This exposes their lungs to drier and cooler air at a faster rate, which works as an asthma trigger.

Thus, the breathing exercises for asthma promote shallow breathing at a slower rate, and this can aid in reducing the asthma symptoms.

1. Diaphragmatic Breathing

This exercise is one of the most simple breathing technique to enhance the distribution of air in your lungs.

What You Need To Do

  • Simply lie down on a bed or sit in a relaxed position
  • Start breathing slowly through your nose
  • Make sure that when you inhale your abdomen, and not your chest should rise
  • Exhale slowly with your abdomen going down
  • Try to exhale extremely slowly, and ideally the exhalation phase should be twice as long as inhalation
  • Try this daily for about 10-15 minutes to reduce asthma symptoms

2. Physical Movement Breathing Exercise

This breathing exercise for asthma combines both the breathing as well as physical elements. Focus on your posture, and relax all the tense muscles before trying this exercise.

What You Need To Do

  • Close your eyes and start concentrating on your breathing
  • Now, continue focusing on your breathing in a relaxed position
  • Focus on your breathing with forward curls
  • Focus on your breathing with shoulder rotation
  • Focus on breathing with arm raises
  • Once done, follow this process twice more before opening your eyes

3. The Buteyko Breathing Technique (4-7-8 Exercise)

This breathing exercise for asthma was developed in the year 1952 by a Ukrainian physiologist Konstantin Buteyko. It focuses on the method of slow and shallow breathing. Rather than breathing deeply, he found that this breathing method works better in reducing asthma and its symptoms.

What You Need To Do

  • Exhale all the air from your body with a whoosh sound
  • Close your mouth and start inhaling quietly through your nose to a count of four
  • Now, hold the breath for a count of seven
  • Once done, start exhaling slowly through your mouth to a count of eight
  • Repeat this process three more times for a total count of four breaths

4. Reduced Breathing Exercise

This exercise for asthma also aids in increasing the distribution of air in your lungs and reduces the symptoms of asthma.

What You Need To Do

  • Sit in a relaxed posture with your legs crossed and feet on the floor
  • Completely relax your belly and chest muscles while breathing
  • Now, close your eyes and look up
  • Continue breathing gently through your nose, while keeping the mouth closed
  • Take shallow and slow breaths
  • Now, exhale slowly until you feel like all there is no air in your lungs
  • Once done with exhaling, try to hold your breath as much as you can and then get back to normal breathing

(Note- Don’t hold your breath so long that you feel the urge of inhaling through the mouth)

5. Pursed Lips Breathing

This exercise is highly beneficial when suffering from an asthma attack. As an asthma attack causes the air to get trapped in the lungs, this exercise allows you to exhale more air to make breathing easier.

What You Need To Do

  • Simply lie down on a bed or sit in a relaxed position
  • Start breathing slowly through your nose
  • Make sure that when you inhale your abdomen, and not your chest should rise
  • Exhale slowly with your abdomen going down
  • Try to exhale extremely slowly through your mouth through pursed lips, or as if you’re about to whistle
  • Make sure that you exhale twice as long as you inhale as the main focus here is to exhale the air trapped in the lung
  • Continue doing this until the breathing comes back to normal

6. Progressive Relaxation Exercise

This is one of the best breathing exercise for asthma patients and focuses on relaxing each muscle group, while maintaining slow, deep breaths. Apart from helping with asthma, this breathing exercise also helps in reducing stress.

What You Need To Do

  • Simply lie down on a bed or sit in a relaxed position
  • Start breathing slowly through your nose
  • Use diaphragmatic breathing
  • Now, tighten the muscles of the left foot, hold for 20-30 seconds, relax, and feel the tension releasing
  • Do the same with the right foot, upper legs, both the hands and forearms, shoulder, forehead, and mouth
  • Make sure that you focus on breathing through this entire process
  • Once done, your body will feel extremely relaxed and weightless
  • Stay in this relaxed state for as long as you like

7. The Papworth Method

Very similar to the Buteyko and diaphragmatic method, this exercise is highly beneficial for patients whose asthma attacks are often related to mouth breathing. It is also very useful for patients that experience asthma attacks that are triggered due to rapid breathing as well as exercise induced asthma. However, patients suffering from severe asthma might not be able to benefit as much.

What You Need To Do

  • Simply lie down on a bed or sit in a relaxed position
  • Start breathing slowly through your nose
  • Try to tailor your breathing pattern as per the activity you’re currently involved in
  • This will allow you to have a better control over your breathing in a variety of conditions, which are not only limited to sports and physical exercise
  • The main thing that you need to focus upon in this exercise is your breathing technique that you use while you perform any kind of strenuous activity

8. Kapalbhati Pranayama or Skull Shinning Breathing Exercise

This is one of the easiest and most beneficial exercise for asthma. The steps are extremely simple, but you need to make sure that you follow them accurately or you might hurt yourself.

What You Need To Do

  • Sit straight with an erect spine and your legs crossed in front of you
  • Now, take a deep breath and exhale suddenly and quickly
  • Make a puffing sound while exhaling
  • The main focus throughout the exercise should be on exhaling suddenly with a puffing sound and not on inhaling
  • Also make sure that while exhaling, your abdominal muscles are drawn inward as well. Your abdomen should fold when you exhale and rise when you inhale
  • Take 10 breaths and then take a small break
  • After the break, perform two more similar sets

[Also Read:Natural Home Remedies for Asthma]

Additional Tips

Apart from these breathing techniques, some very useful tips are mentioned below to ensure that you can easily manage your asthma. Make sure that you discuss these breathing techniques and tips with your doctor to ensure that they do not affect you negatively.

  • While there is no special diet for asthma patients, there are a number of food items that might help your asthma. Studies have suggested that people who eat foods that are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C and E, magnesium, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, and flavonoids have lower chances of getting asthma.

Moreover, many of these are a rich source of antioxidants, which aid in protecting the cells from damage.

  • Teens who don’t follow a nutritional diet on a regular basis are more prone to have asthma symptoms. A study conducted in 2007 came up with a conclusion that children who ate fruits like apples, tomatoes, and grapes and nuts were less likely to develop asthma.
  • If you suffer from asthma, it is better to avoid alcoholic beverages as they’re high in sulfites and can trigger an asthma attack.
  • Frozen French fries and potatoes also contain sulfites and it is better to avoid them.
  • Try to know as much as you can about asthma as the more you know, the more confident and less stressed you’ll be about your asthma.
  • Consult with an asthma specialist to develop an action plan, which will include all the information about your condition and what you need to do on a daily basis to avoid an asthma attack.
  • Understand all your asthma medications, what are they used for and how do they counter asthma. It is also very important to know everything about using asthma devices, and make sure that you’ve easy access to them whenever you need them.
  • It is also very important to know your asthma triggers. Knowing this will help you in managing your asthma better. A specialist can run some tests to find what triggers an asthmatic reaction in your body.
  • Make sure that your family members are also well aware about your asthma, your triggers, and medications. Apart from family, friends and coworkers should also be informed about the same.
  • If dust mites are what triggers your asthma, take every possible step to cut down the dust mites from your surroundings. Use dust mite covers, wash stuffed animals and plush blankets on a regular basis, etc. There are also hypoallergenic stuffed animals that you can buy for your kids who suffer from asthma.
  • If an item cannot be washed in the washing machine, place it in a plastic bag, seal it and keep it in a freezer for a good 4-5 hours to kill the dust mites.
  • It is also very important to work with proper organization to minimize the chances of getting an asthma attack. Keep records of your asthma history, medicines, and doctor appointment’s.

Breathing exercises for asthma are very beneficial and should be an essential part of every asthma action plan. You can consult your doctor and select an exercise that best suits your condition. You can follow these exercises along with asthma preventive medicines to minimize the chances of developing asthma symptoms.

Even if you’re feeling mild symptoms of asthma, slow down for a while and start concentrating on your breathing. Do these exercises on a regular basis and chances are you might not need your rescue medicines anymore!

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Hey all, I am Suzanne, I love collecting new information on natural cure for health ailments. I always feel that nature has remedies for all our health problems, we just have to use it in the right way. I am DIY pursuer and thus keep trying natural things to get rid of nasty diseases. You will be amazed to know about the treasure mother earth has and how it can help us improve our health. Join me in a journey which take you closer to nature and keep you healthy.

20 COMMENTS

    • Not necessary other things will affect you, but some more things can like:
      • Pollen
      • Mold
      • Dust mites
      • Pet dander
      While the pollen and mites are airborne allergens, asthma can also be triggered by an allergic reaction caused by consuming something, like a strawberry.

    • The typical symptoms of both the types of asthma are very similar. They include-
      • Dry coughs
      • Breathlessness
      • Tightening in the chest
      • Increased heart rate
      These symptoms can occur immediately after coming in contact with the triggers, and can also be delayed. And, the severity can differ among the sufferers.

    • This exercise is one of the simplest breathing techniques to enhance the distribution of air in your lungs.
      • Simply lie down on a bed or sit in a relaxed position
      • Start breathing slowly through your nose
      • Make sure that when you inhale your abdomen, and not your chest should rise
      • Exhale slowly with your abdomen going down
      • Try to exhale extremely slowly, and ideally the exhalation phase should be twice as long as inhalation
      • Try this daily for about 10-15 minutes to reduce asthma symptoms

    • While there is not special diet for asthma patients, there are a number of food items that might help your asthma. Studies have suggested that people who eat foods that are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C and E, magnesium, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, and flavonoids have lower chances of getting asthma.
      Moreover, many of these are a rich source of antioxidants, which aid in protecting the cells from damage.

    • If you suffer from asthma, it is better to avoid alcoholic beverages as they’re high in sulfites and can trigger an asthma attack. Frozen French fries and potatoes also contain sulfites and it is better to avoid them as well. Try to know as much as you can about asthma as the more you know, the more confident and less stressed you’ll be about your asthma.

    • Understand all your asthma medications, what are they used for and how do they counter asthma. It is also very important to know everything about using asthma devices, and make sure that you’ve easy access to them whenever you need them. Make sure that your family members are also well aware about your asthma, your triggers, and medications. Apart from family, friends and coworkers should also be informed about the same.

    • It is also very important to know your asthma triggers. Knowing this will help you in managing your asthma better. A specialist can run some tests to find what triggers an asthmatic reaction in your body. Therefore, it is recommended to visit a doctor at first place.

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