Breathing Exercises for Asthma Patients

Breathing Exercises for Asthma Patients

Breathing Exercises for Asthma Patients

In the normal breathing pattern the diaphragm moves downward when the person inhales and moves upward when the person exhales. An asthma patient breathes in an unnatural way by using only the upper portion of the chest. This is very unnatural for the system as the full chest is not used in this way.

Over the period of time the patient develops weakness of chest muscles as the muscles are not being used properly. At the time of an attack the chest muscles work extra hard as they work against constricted air passages. It is advisable for the asthma patients to do breathing exercises as they can really help build up the chest muscles involved in respiration and can contribute towards saving a person’s life at the time of an attack.

The aim of breathing exercises is to relax the chest muscles that are overworked. And to teach a person to get out of the habit of using the chest muscles for breathing and start using the abdominal muscles and the diaphragm. For learning the proper use of diaphragm and lower chest the asthma patient has to start concentrating on breathing out rather than breathing in.

The chest has to be completely emptied by raising the diaphragm by voluntary contraction of the abdominal muscles and lower chest. This process if practiced regularly is actually against the situation that happens during an attack. By doing this exercise a person tries to achieve the reversal of the condition of asthmatic attack. By regular practice the body learns to imitate this condition and the muscles try to come in this situation by involuntary action.

Care should be taken that the breathing out process has to be a slow process and not a hasty one otherwise it may lead to wheezing and discomfort. For doing the breathing exercises correctly the person may need to be retrained to push out the abdomen and concentrate the mental energies on doing this. This initiates the lower chest breathing and the muscles get used to it after a while.

In the ancient practice of yoga there is a system of breathing exercises which is known as pranayama. The word pranayama is derived from the word ‘prana’, which means vital oxygen. In broader terms the word prana indicates towards the life that is visible in all the vital activities of a living being. Prana is the life force that remains in action till the time a living being is alive.

It is of utmost importance for the human being to keep the vital prana active and rejuvenated at any point in time for complete health, vitality and longevity. Pranayama is a science for keeping this vital life force hail and hearty. Pranayama involves a lot of breathing exercises.

There are many different types of exercises and this is a science that can be learnt either by the help of a guru, which is most preferable, or alternately in the occasion of non – availability of a guru, it can also be learnt by the help of books and literature available on the subject. Pranayama is a form of exercises that can give immense vitality to the system and is known to practically recover and rejuvenate a person from any kind of ailment. This goes to prove the power of these forms of exercises.

Yoga in itself is a very powerful science and it should not be considered to be just simple exercises. Similarly pranayama should not be considered simple breathing exercises. Anything that has the power to cure even strong ailments should be done in a proper way.

Although the procedure for pranayama looks very simple, considering the power of this form of science it is advisable for the patients suffering from any kind of ailments to take an opinion from one’s doctor before trying out the pranayama exercises. Also a person should not get too excited and start doing all exercises together. There should be given considerable gap between mastering one exercise and starting another.

In the case of the asthma patients the main aim of the breathing exercises is to relax the chest muscles. Chest muscles are normally under tremendous exertion in asthma patients. The patients are constantly advised to consciously relax the chest muscles while indulging in any activity that causes exertion to their system like walking up a slope, or walking upstairs, or indulging in any sporting or sexual activity. The patient is taught to relax his arms, legs and thorax. The patients are also taught to sleep in a way that is relaxing to the chest muscles.

The patient is made to learn to lie down on one side with two pillows under the head, the upper arm and legs should be flexed forward. The upper arm should be facing backyard and the whole body should be turned forward. The patients who are slightly aging or suffering with emphysema find it very relaxing to lie down with higher pillows. Also head of the bed can be raised slightly for more comfortable lying position while sleeping and to relax respiratory muscles while sleeping. Regularly doing a few toe touching exercises and sit-ups everyday is important as it makes the abdominal muscles strong. But care should be taken to not overdo the exercises as they may exert the system and even cause damage.

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