Breathing techniques and relaxation for asthma

2) Breathing methods

Picture of lungs

The Papworth Method

Developed in Papworth Hospital, this method has been used for over 50 years. It concentrates on using your diaphragm when you breathe. This means you are using all of your lungs and your breathing will become slower with a longer out breath. Most of the movement while you breathe should come from your stomach area and not your chest. This method is useful for people with mild to moderate asthma.

The pursed lips method

This method can be used with the Papworth technique. It involves breathing in slowly through your nose and breathing out through pursed lips as if blowing out a candle. Your out breath should be about twice as long as your in breath.

The Buteyko method

This method uses slow breathing and periods of controlled breath holding. Like other breathing techniques, it is not a treatment for asthma but it may help to change dysfunctional breathing patterns.

Buteyko is not readily available in NHS Scotland respiratory clinics. Although private courses are available, they are expensive and so far there has been no research evidence to show any advantage for patients who use Buteyko rather than any other breathing techniques.