Breathing exercises are important for pulmonary fibrosis patients as they help to better control breathing if they experience a sudden shortness of breath, strengthen their diaphragm and clear excess mucus.
Pursed Lip Breathing
Breathing through pursed lips helps to open the airways and make breathing easier. This is useful when experiencing shortness of breath and can also be used as a relaxation aid.
Pursed lips breathing can be done standing, sitting or lying down and begins by relaxing the necks and shoulders. Patients then need to close their mouths and gently inhale through their nose slowly for two seconds. Then with pursed lips breath out slowly for four seconds.
The technique can be repeated as many times as needed and the length of time taken to inhale and exhale may be extended.
Removing mucus from the lungs is essential to help avoid infection and coughing is one of the best ways to achieve this.
The forced coughing technique is best done sitting in a chair with a straight back and feet on the floor. It begins by breathing in as deeply as possible to expand the diaphragm. The patient will then need to hold their breath for a count of three and then open their mouths and cough hard twice. Any mucus that comes up should be discarded into a tissue. The technique should be repeated until the patient feels they have removed all excess mucus from their airways.
Persistent coughing can cause fatigue, particularly if it is not effective coughing. This technique helps patients cough better and reduce fatigue.
The technique is best performed sitting down with a straight back and feet on the floor. The patient starts by taking several gentle but deep breaths. Then, placing one hand on their stomach, they can breathe in as normal while tightening the muscles in their chest and stomach and then exhale strongly with an open mouth while saying the word “huff.”
Belly breathing helps people with lung diseases strengthen their diaphragms and can also be used to aid relaxation and regain breath.
This technique can be done either sitting or lying down with the knees up. Patients should place one hand on their stomach and the other on their chest and then breathe deeply and slowly through the nose and out of their mouths until they can feel their lungs fully inflate and their stomachs rise and fall with each breath.
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