How can I help?

How can I help my patient avoid bad breathing habits?

Remember/encourage Good Breathing:

  • Breathe in and out through the nose.
  • Breathe slowly.
  • Feel tummy rise and expand like a balloon as they breathe in.
  • Keep upper chest and shoulders relaxed.

Avoid Deep Breathing:

  • Deep breathing is unnecessary when the patient is not exercising or when they are at rest.
  • Keep breaths slow but small (low to medium volume).
  • If the patient practises deep breathing as part of a relaxation technique or to control panic, they will blow out too much carbon dioxide and risk developing symptoms of hyperventilation.

Breathing control techniques

Breathing control techniques
Photographs by Wendy White

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  1. High side lying.
  2. Forward lean sitting without pillows.
  3. Forward lean sitting with pillows.
  4. Upright sitting in a chair.
  5. Forearm support to assist breathing using trolley.
  6. Forward lean standing.
  7. Standing with back support.
Additional information
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