A lot of COPDers I’ve interviewed talk about many things they do to make it easier for them to breathe. One method that always comes up is pursed lip breathing.
According to the COPDF BFRG, pursed lip breathing, or PLB is a “simple way to control shortness of breath. It helps you slow your pace of breathing. This makes each breath more effective. It involves breathing in slowly through the nose, like you are smelling a rose. Then purse your lips like to whistle or like blowing out a candle. You then breathe out slowly through the small hole between your lips.”
How does pursed lip breathing help?
- Improves ventilation
- Releases trapped air in the lungs
- Keeps the airways open longer and decreases the work of breathing
- Prolongs exhalation to slow the breathing rate
- Improves breathing patterns by moving old air out of the lungs and allowing for new air to enter the lungs
- Relieves shortness of breath
- Causes general relaxation
Here is a video that goes more in depth about pursed lip breathing and its benefits from Michael Riser.
Riser also says to use pursed lip breathing helps managing shortness of breath while doing activities such as exercise. It helps move more carbon dioxide out of lung, allowing more oxygen to enter.
He advises people that when short of breath, try your best not to panic, but to use methods such pursed lip breathing to get your breathing back to a steady pace.
What about you? Do you use pursed lip breathing? Does it work for you? What are some other methods you use to help you breath better?