The two best breathing techniques for COPD patients are pursed-lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing, says Healthline. These exercises correct the use of breathing muscles as well as strengthen them.
COPD causes airways to collapse during exhalation leaving air trapped in the lungs and resulting in shortness of breath, as reported by Everyday Health. The pursed-lip breathing exercise increases resistance in airways helping to keep them open while exhaling. The exercise involves taking a deep breath in through the nose for a count of two with the mouth closed and exhaling through pursued lips for a count of four, as per Healthline.
Located under the lungs, the diaphragm is a muscle that helps push air out of the lungs. In patients with COPD, the diaphragm weakens and may not function properly, according to Healthline. Diaphragmatic breathing strengthens the diaphragm and teaches the correct way to use it. To perform this exercise, a person lies on his back with knees bent and with one hand on the diaphragm and the other on the chest. Breathing in through the nose, the person should be able to feel his stomach expand. As he breathes out, he tightens the stomach muscles to contract them inwards. The hand on the chest remains as still as possible.