Disease Management

Breathing and Relaxation Techniques

Pursed Lip Breathing

With obstructive diseases such as COPD, emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, and in some cases asbestosis, you can get air in fine but getting it back out can be a task. There have been some techniques developed that have been helpful in getting that excess air out.

  1. Breathe in slowly through your nose.
  2. Hold your breath for 3 seconds.
  3. Purse your lips as if you were going to whistle.
  4. Breathe out slowly through your pursed lips for 6 seconds.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

This technique will allow you to get back into a more rhythmic breathing pattern.

  1. Lie on your back in a comfortable position with a pillow under your head and one under your knees.
  2. Rest one hand on your stomach, just below your rib cage, and one hand on your chest.
  3. Slowly breathe in and out through your nose using your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach will rise on inspiration and fall on expiration. The hand on your chest will remain still.
  4. Repeat 3 or 4 times before resting.

Rhythmic Breathing

If your breathing is short and hurried, slow it down by taking long, slow breaths.

  1. Count slowly to five as you inhale.
  2. And then count slowly to five as you exhale. Pay attention to how your body naturally relaxes.

Deep Breathing

  1. Imagine a spot just below your navel.
  2. Breathe into that spot, filling your abdomen with air. Let the air fill you from the abdomen up.
  3. Then let it our, like deflating a balloon. With every long, slow exhalation, you should feel more relaxed.

Visualized Breathing

  1. Find a comfortable place where you can close your eyes and combine slowed breathing with your imagination.
  2. Picture relaxation entering your body and tension leaving your body. Breathe deeply, but in a natural rhythm.
  3. Visualize your breath coming into your nostrils, going to your lungs and expanding our chest.
  4. Then visualize your breath going out the same way.
  5. Continue breathing, but each time you inhale, imagine that you are breathing in more relaxation. Each time you exhale imagine that you are getting rid of a little more tension.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

  1. Switch your thoughts to yourself and your breathing.
  2. Take a few deep breaths, exhale slowly. Mentally scan your body. Notice areas that feel tense or cramped.
  3. Focus on loosening up these areas. Let go of as much tension as you can.
  4. Rotate your head in a smooth circular motion once or twice. (Stop any movements that cause pain!)
  5. Roll your shoulders forward and backward several times. Then tense and relax your muscles. Let all of your muscles completely relax.
  6. Repeat the process of loosening your muscles, tensing them temporarily, then releasing and fully relaxing all of your muscle groups. Progress down your body so that your last thing is to flex and then release and relax your toes.
  7. Recall a pleasant thought for a few seconds. Take another deep breath and exhale slowly. You should feel relaxed.

Relax by Breathing Up

  1. Lie in a comfortable position allowing yourself to breathe freely and deeply through your mouth. If you prefer, lift your head up slightly with a pillow.
  2. Place your finger tips in the little pits under each collar-bone. Inhale smoothly and fully to feel your finger tips move. Up and down with each breath.
  3. Each out breath should be an act of relaxation. You must be very conscious of this fact and focus on this aspect. Breathing fully is a challenge; at first it might be difficult to do smoothly. So keep practicing!

Relax to Music

Combine relaxation exercises with your favorite music in the background. Select the type of music that lifts your mood or that you find soothing or calming. Some people find it easier to relax while listening to specially designed relaxation audio recordings, which provide music and relaxation instructions.

Mental Imagery Relaxation

Mental imagery relaxation, or guided imagery, is a proven form of focused relaxation that helps create harmony between the mind and body. Guided imagery coaches you in creating calm, peaceful images in you’re a mind. One option is to walk yourself through a visualization that will take you through a relaxing experience. This could be things such as a walk through the forest, a stroll along a favorite river, or walking down the beach at the ocean. It can be anything that is a special experience for you that brings you a sense of relaxation.

Another option is to modify your self-talk, that is, what you are saying to yourself abut what is going on with you. It is beneficial to make positive affirmations to yourself which can help counteract negative thoughts and emotions you might be dealing with. Here are some examples of positive affirmations you can practice.

  • I have the power to let go of things I cannot control.
  • There is nothing in the world I cannot handle.
  • Every day there is a way that I am getting stronger.

Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi

Breathing techniques aren’t the only thing available to help you relax. There are many exercises available also. Yoga, Pliates, and Tai Chi are some of them. These exercises are a combination of excellent stretches and deep breathing. They are great because they include strengthening and toning and are good for muscle oxygenation as well as relaxation.

Collected and complied with the help of www.webmd.com