People with COPD may have to work harder to breathe and tend to use the muscles in their upper chest, rather than the lower chest muscles, the main muscle being the diaphragm. You should practice this method daily. The more often you do it the easier it becomes and your diaphragm will become stronger. A stronger diaphragm decreases your breathlessness, strengthens your cough and helps removes mucus.
- Place one hand on your tummy between lower ribs and navel. Place the other hand on your chest. Your upper chest and shoulders should be relaxed.
- Breathe in through your nose, you should feel your tummy move out as you breathe in. Keep your upper chest relaxed. The hand on your chest should not move or move very little.
- Breathe out gently through your lips, your tummy will move in as you breathe out. “Sigh” out gently.
- Ensure shoulders remain relaxed.
- Over a few seconds gradually increase the depth of breathing while maintaining relaxation.
- Practice first when sitting and relaxed so that it is automatic when you really need it. Then begin to practice while you are walking.