Simple breathing exercises for COPD – help for shortness of breath, coughing & hyperinflation. Part 2


Physiotherapist Marlies Ziegler explains how respiratory physiotherapy for COPD works and every week for three weeks she will present a simple breathing exercise. The exercises increase the ribcage’s flexibility and they can reduce shortness of breath, coughing and hyperinflation, as well make it easier to dislodge mucus from the bronchial tubes.


2nd exercise: Seated rotation

The focus of this exercise is on the spine’s rotational movement. You also will stretch the pectoral muscles, which also act as accessory muscles of breathing. How to do this exercise:

  1. Starting position: Sit up straight on a stool and cross your left leg over your right leg.
  2. Put your right hand on the outside of your left knee. Inhale deeply
  3. Exhale and rotate your torso to the left. While doing this, look over your left should if possible. Your right hand should stay on your knee providing counter-rotation for the torso.
  4. Turn your left arm toward the outside, fingers spread, thumb up toward the ceiling. Alternatively, hold on to the edge of the stool with your left hand.
  5. Make sure you do not shrug your shoulders and that they remain relaxed. Keep your upper body upright!
  6. Hold this rotated position and breathe in deeply through your nose and out through your nose or using pursed lip breathing (‘slowed breathing’).

4 to 8 breaths per side.

Repeat the exercise on the other side.

About Marlies Ziegler

Marlies Ziegler works as a physiotherapist in private practice in Munich. She specialises in respiratory physiotherapy. She has been treating patients with chronic obstructive and restrictive airway diseases such as asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis (CF) and primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) for 20 years.

You can read the entire interview with Marlies Ziegler in which she explains why respiratory physiotherapy can help with COPD and read more about the “Standing Crescent Moon” exercise in Part 1 here.

NOTE: The information in this blog post is not a treatment recommendation. The needs of patients vary greatly from person to person. The treatment approaches presented should be viewed only as examples. PARI recommends that patients always coordinate with their doctor and physiotherapist.


An article written by the PARI BLOG editorial team.

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