What would some daily breathing exercises be
Short breath training for longer breath in asthma
Daily 10-minute breathing exercises improve breathing for asthmatics and reduce the use of emergency medication.
According to estimates by the World Health Organization, around 330 million people worldwide suffer from the chronic respiratory disease bronchial asthma, which is one of the most common diseases. Although disease-specific symptoms such as the typical attack-like shortness of breath and coughing fits can now be treated well with anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator drugs, more and more asthma patients are resorting to methods of complementary medicine. The fact that breathing exercises in particular now play an important role in the current guidelines and also in the recommendations of asthma organizations is obvious. Since asthma patients can easily perform breathing exercises on their own at home, this approach is an ideal, accompanying measure in self-management of asthma.
The primary mechanism of action of breathing exercises in asthma is not fully understood. However, it is believed that they help to reduce the frequency of disease-specific symptoms such as hyperventilation and hypocapnia (low levels of carbon dioxide in the blood). Both symptoms can lead to bronchoconstriction, a narrowing of the bronchi due to the contraction of the smooth bronchial muscles, which is a specific phenomenon in the context of asthma symptoms. However, the evidence of the use of breathing exercises in asthma patients has been unsatisfactory due to the heterogeneity of the studies with regard to differing therapy specifics and almost consistently rather moderate quality at the methodological level. The respiratory therapy concepts examined are also often very complex and time-consuming - a challenge for the affected patients with regard to their adherence to therapy. For this reason, scientists designed a simple breathing training that can be carried out in everyday routine without spending a lot of time. The individual modules of the training model consist of breathing exercises such as Viloma Pranayama, an alternating breathing technique used in yoga, exercises that focus on diaphragmatic breathing and breathing exercises with brake lips (exhalation against closed lips).
As part of their study, the scientists examined the efficiency, acceptance, suitability for everyday use and the complexity of performing this breathing training in 74 patients between the ages of 18 and 65 with persistent bronchial asthma.  The study participants, mostly women, were trained to perform the three breathing exercises at the start of the study. They were also given a booklet for the purpose of illustration, with which they could do the exercises independently at home. For a month, the patients should complete the prescribed breathing training twice a day, each with five repetitions of the individual breathing exercises. During the therapy phase, the participants continued to take their asthma medication.
The data from 68 patients were ultimately available for analysis. The majority (64 percent) of the participants, the scientists found, did the breathing training three or more times a week. A good 80 percent stated that they spent less than ten minutes per day on the exercises, which is probably due to the uncomplicated applicability of the training. The participants rated the individual exercise components in terms of complexity using a scale from 1 (very easy) to 5 (very difficult) as 42.6 percent for Viloma Pranayama, 45.5 percent for diaphragmatic breathing and 54.5 percent for breathing exercises with lip brake as very easy to carry out. Regarding the subjective improvement of their asthma-specific symptoms, the patients said that after the one-month intervention phase it was easier for them to take deep breaths and that their lung capacity and air flow when breathing had improved. The improvement in breathing was also accompanied by positive changes in terms of quality of life, such as an increased sense of relaxation and serenity, as well as making it easier to carry out everyday activities (67.6 percent). 66.1 percent of the participants reported reduced use of their emergency inhalers during the therapy phase.
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The goal aimed by the scientists of a better acceptance of a simplified breathing training among the study participants and thus also an increased compliance could be achieved in this study. This means that the exercise method specially designed for this study has the potential to be a successful self-management measure for asthma patients that can be easily integrated into everyday life, especially since a significant improvement in symptoms can be expected if carried out regularly.
In past studies on breathing techniques used in asthma, the so-called Buteyko technique dominates, which in practice can take 40 minutes per exercise unit.  In previous studies, however, patient compliance and patient acceptance of the individual techniques were only considered sporadically. In order to analyze the advantages of the exercise concept of the present study compared to other breathing techniques, it would be desirable for future studies to compare this with a control group that performs other breathing techniques such as the Buteyko breathing exercises in terms of compliance and efficiency over a longer period of time. In addition, the integration of an objective measurement method such as spirometry would be an additional measure to specify the effects of the simplified breathing training presented here.
1) Karam M, Kaur BP, Baptist AP. A modified breathing exercise program for asthma is easy to perform and effective. J Asthma 2017; 54 (2): 217-222 abstract
2) Bruton A, Lewith GT. The Buteyko breathing technique for asthma: a review. Complement Ther Med 2005; 13 (1): 41-46 abstract
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