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Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic BreathingDiaphragmatic breathing helps you to relax and optimizes your breathing by utilizing the body’s strongest breathing muscle: the diaphragm. Many people with COPD do not use this breathing muscle effectively.

This exercise/technique is designed to help you better use this muscle to improve your breathing and increase relaxation.

IMPORTANT – You will notice a greater effort will be needed to use this muscle properly. At first, you will notice that you’ll get tired while doing this exercise. Just keep at it, for in a short while you’ll begin to notice that it will require less work to breathe. You’ll be rewarded by feeling that it is easier to relax doing this exercise regularly.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Benefits

  • Strengthens your strongest breathing muscle, the diaphragm
  • Coordinates diaphragm movement to improve breathing
  • Requires less work to breathe
  • You use less energy to breathe

How Does Diaphragmatic Breathing Work?

  • It makes you correctly uses the strongest muscle for breathing

Initially, practice this breathing technique for 5-10 minutes, 3-4 times per day. You can gradually increase the length of time that you do this exercise and perhaps increased the effort required by placing a book on the stomach.

After you feel comfortable with this technique, practice while sitting in a chair and while standing. This will provide you with the skill to relax if you are out of the house and all of a sudden you feel short of breath or feel anxious and nervous.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises

  1. Lie on your back in bed, in a relaxed position with your knees bent.
  2. Rest one of your hands on your stomach
  3. Rest the other hand on your upper chest
  4. As you breathe in through your nose, make your stomach move out (focus with your hand that’s on your stomach). Keep your chest as still as you can.
  5. As you breathe out through pursed lips, let your stomach relax inward (you feel your hand lower). Make sure that your hand on your chest stays as still as possible.
  6. Now you know how to do pursed-lip breathing to catch your breath and diaphragmatic breathing to relax.