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How Do I Perform Pursed Lip Breathing?


Updated June 09, 2014

Question: How Do I Perform Pursed Lip Breathing?
If you have COPD, learning how to perform pursed-lip breathing can be extremely beneficial to your daily life. In fact, it can even help you during the most intimate of moments. Why? Because pursed-lip breathing is a breathing technique designed to help you control dyspnea, the hallmark symptom of COPD.

A patient of mine once told me that she used this simple mantra to help her remember how to perform the exercise:

Smell the rose; blow out the candle.


The following demonstrates the simple technique of pursed-lip breathing:

  • Sit in a comfortable position and relax.
  • Slowly take a deep breath in through your nose.
  • Draw your lips together as if you were going to whistle and blow out through pursed lips slowly and evenly.
  • Try to make the time blowing out longer than when you took a breath in.
  • Repeat this procedure several times until your shortness of breath disappears.
  • If you feel any dizziness, rest until it stops.

Practicing pursed-lip breathing on a daily basis, 3 to 4 times a day, will allow you to use it effectively during times of need, especially when your shortness of breath worsens.

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