Medicines like inhaled corticosteroids and beta-agonists open up the airways to help people with asthma breathe better. However, for patients with severe asthma, these medications may not be enough to control symptoms. Fortunately, breathing exercises and special techniques can help with the symptoms of asthma and increase overall lung strength, capacity and health.
The diaphragm is the dome-shaped muscle that sits at the base of the chest and separates the abdomen from the chest. In diaphragmatic breathing, individuals will learn how to breathe from the region around the diaphragm, rather than from the chest. This technique helps to strengthen the diaphragm, decrease the body’s oxygen needs and slow breathing.
The Papworth breathing technique consists of a series of diaphragmatic breathing and relaxation exercises. This method teaches individuals which muscles to use when breathing and how to avoid breathing too fast or deeply by emphasizing nose breathing.
Buteyko breathing can help open the airways and improve blood circulation in a matter of minutes. This technique uses a series of exercises to teach the individual how to breathe slower and deeper. Buteyko may improve asthma symptoms and reduce the need for medication.
Pursed lip breathing
Pursed lip breathing is a technique used to control shortness of breath. This technique is a good way to slow down breathing, making sure that each breath is effective. It also helps keep the airways open for longer, so that oxygen is moved into the lungs and carbon dioxide is moved out.