Pursed lip breathing is one of the simplest ways to control shortness of breath. It provides a quick and easy way to slow your pace of breathing, making each breath more effective.
What does pursed lip breathing do?
Pursed lip breathing
- 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
When should I use this technique?
Use this technique during the difficult part of any activity, such as bending, lifting or stair climbing.
Practice this technique 4-5 times a day at first so you can get the correct breathing pattern.
Pursed lip breathing technique
- Relax your neck and shoulder muscles.
- Breathe in (inhale) slowly through your nose for two counts, keeping your mouth closed. Don't take a deep breath; a normal breath will do. It may help to count to yourself: inhale, one, two.
- Pucker or "purse" your lips as if you were going to whistle or gently flicker the flame of a candle.
- Breathe out (exhale) slowly and gently through your pursed lips while counting to four. It may help to count to yourself: exhale, one, two, three, four.
Pucker or purse
With regular practice, this technique will seem natural to you.
Pursed lip breathing reminders
- Do not force the air out.
- Always breathe out for longer than you breathe in.
- Breathe slowly, easily, and relaxed ... in and out ... until you are in complete control.