What is pursed lip breathing?
Pursed lip breathing is a technique that allows people to control their oxygenation and ventilation. The technique requires a person to inspire through the nose and exhale through the mouth at a slow controlled flow.
What is the purpose of pursed lip breathing?
Pursed lip breathing works by moving oxygen into your lungs and carbon dioxide out of your lungs. This technique helps to keep airways open longer so that you can remove the air that is trapped in your lungs by slowing down your breathing rate and relieving shortness of breath. It works by assisting to relax the smooth muscles in your airways, thereby making it easier to breathe. This helps for exercise and when a person is active. This breathing technique is also a great relaxation technique.
Who can benefit from using this breathing technique?
This breathing method is beneficial to people with particular lung conditions such as obstructive lung disease such as COPD or asthma. Also, people with restrictive lung disease such as pulmonary fibrosis (PF) which is a type of interstitial lung disease (ILD).
How does a person perform pursed lip breathing?
Pursed lip breathing should be practiced until it becomes second nature. It’s most effective when you’re focused or relaxed. Tip: while performing the technique is to relax the neck and shoulder muscles.
Here’s how to practice:
1. Breathe in slowly through the nose while keeping the mouth closed for 2 seconds. Sometimes we say, “smell the roses.”
2. Breathe out slowly with puckered or pursed lips for 4 seconds. Sometimes we say, “blowing out the candles.”
3. Repeat the above steps.
This breathing exercise helps you breathe out, or exhale, better. When you have COPD, the air gets trapped in your lungs. This breathing technique is great for exercise and when you are active; just remember to exhale on exertion!
Pursed lip breathing is also a great relaxation technique. It works by assisting to relax the smooth muscles in your airways, thereby making it easier to breathe. You can practice pursed lip breathing while watching television, sitting in a recliner, or lying in bed. Once your body “gets it”, you will begin to breathe this way naturally.
This is one of the many education pieces our pulmonary rehab specialists at Lifeline focus on. Contact us to learn more about our pulmonary rehab program near Pittsburgh and “breathe deeply to breathe better!”