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> Health Relaxation and Controlled Breathing Exercises

Relaxation and Controlled Breathing Exercises


Trigger avoidance and consistent use of asthma controller medication are the primary means of asthma management. Even with the best efforts, an occasional asthma episode may occur. Difficult breathing can be very frightening. When this happens, relaxation and controlled breathing may help reduce the anxiety of the episode until quick-relief medication eases asthma symptoms.

Controlled Breathing Exercises

Controlled breathing techniques may improve air intake, reduce shortness of breath, and promote relaxation. Practice the following exercises several times per week so that during an asthma episode you can use these techniques.

DEEP BREATHING

  1. Sit or stand, pull your elbows back firmly, and inhale deeply.
  2. Hold your breath for 5 counts
  3. Exhale slowly and completely

(Parents of very young children can have the child copy their own deep breathing exercise.)

DIAPHRAGM BREATHING

  1. To become familiar with diaphragm breathing, lie on your back with your knees bent and supported by pillows
  2. Place you fingers on your belly just below your ribcage
  3. As you inhale deeply, your belly and lower ribs should rise while your chest remains fairly still. Inhale for a count of 3 and exhale for a count of 6. Slightly puckering your lips can help you to exhale slowly.

You will now know how to do diaphragm breathing and can use this technique in a sitting position during an asthma episode.

Relaxation Exercises

MUSCLE RELAXATION

  1. Make an effort to tighten every muscle in your body.
  2. Next relax your muscles starting in your feet and working up your body to your neck and face muscles.
  3. Do this several times in a row to know how to relax your entire body.

VISUAL RELAXATION

  1. Close your eyes. Relax your body muscles.
  2. Now picture a favorite place, sound, or even a smell.
  3. Stay with this memory while you practice your deep breathing for one to two minutes.

Note: This information is not meant to be a substitute for consulting with your own health care provider.