Pursed Lip Breathing

Pursed lip breathing is one of the simplest ways to control shortness of breath. It provides a quick and easy way to slow your pace of breathing, making each breath more effective.

What does pursed lip breathing do?

  • Improves ventilation.
  • Releases trapped air in the lungs.
  • Keeps the airways open longer and decreases the work of breathing.
  • Prolongs exhalation to slow the breathing rate.
  • Improves breathing patterns by moving old air out of the lungs and allowing for new air to enter the lungs.
  • Relieves shortness of breath.
  • Causes general relaxation.

When should I use this technique?

Use this technique during the difficult part of any activity, such as bending, lifting or stair climbing.
Practice this technique 4-5 times a day at first so you can get the correct breathing pattern.

Pursed lip breathing technique

  • Relax your neck and shoulder muscles.
  • Breathe in (inhale) slowly through your nose for two counts, keeping your mouth closed. Don’t take a deep breath; a normal breath will do. It may help to count to yourself: inhale, one, two.
  • Pucker or “purse” your lips as if you were going to whistle or gently flicker the flame of a candle.
  • Breathe out (exhale) slowly and gently through your pursed lips while counting to four. It may help to count to yourself: exhale, one, two, three, four.