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Best Pulmonary Fibrosis Breathing Exercises

Best Pulmonary Fibrosis Breathing Exercises

Pulmonary fibrosis is a type of restrictive lung disease that causes scarring to the lungs. The scarring hardens and thickens the lungs’ passageways. The scarring inside the lungs makes it difficult to breathe normally. People with pulmonary fibrosis cannot fully fill their lungs with air or fully expand their lungs.

Often, people with pulmonary fibrosis have trouble keeping steady blood oxygen levels and experience shortness of breath. Practicing breathing exercises helps people learn how to control their breathing. To help you breathe easier, we’ve made a list of the best pulmonary fibrosis breathing exercises and how to do them.

Best Pulmonary Fibrosis Breathing Exercises

Best Pulmonary Fibrosis Breathing Exercises

Many doctors and respiratory therapists recommend breathing exercises for their patients. However, it’s important to discuss these pulmonary fibrosis breathing exercises with your doctor before trying them. Done properly, pulmonary fibrosis breathing exercises may help you breathe deeper and stay calmer.

Belly Breathing Technique

Belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing helps people strengthen their diaphragm, so they breathe better. In fact, belly breathing can also be used to help people relax. This pulmonary fibrosis breathing exercise can be done while lying down or sitting in a chair.

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent with a pillow underneath them or sit in a comfortable chair.
  • Place one hand on your upper chest and the other on your belly just below your ribcage.
  • Inhale slowly and gently through your nose and keep the hand on your chest as still as possible.
  • Focus on feeling your belly move as you breathe.
  • Exhale slowly and gently through your mouth, keeping the hand on your chest still.

You can practice belly breathing 3-4 times a day for about 5-10 minutes.

Huff-Cough Technique

Coughing is a common problem for people with pulmonary fibrosis and other chronic lung diseases as it can cause fatigue. Doctors recommend the Huff-Cough Technique to help their patients cough more effectively, so their patients don’t become overly fatigued.

  • Sit in a comfortable chair.
  • Take several deep, gentle breaths as best you can, like you would in belly breathing.
  • Put one hand on your stomach and breathe normally.
  • Tighten your stomach and chest muscles.
  • Keep your mouth open.
  • Whisper the word “huff” while forcing the air out.

Forced Coughing Technique

The forced coughing technique helps remove excess mucus from your airways. Excessive mucus is a common problem for people with chronic lung diseases. Here’s how to do the forced coughing technique:

  • Sit in a comfortable chair.
  • Keep your back straight and your feet pressed against the floor.
  • Breathe as deeply as you can.
  • Focus on feeling your diaphragm expand.
  • Hold your breath for three counts.
  • Open your mouth and cough twice.
  • If mucus comes up, discard it in a tissue.
  • Repeat until your airways feel more clear of mucus.

Pursed Lips Breathing

Pursed lips breathing helps address shortness of breath and offers many benefits. The benefits of pursed lips breathing include opening the airways to ease breathing, relieving shortness of breath and promoting relaxation. This technique can be done sitting, standing or lying down. However, to maximize the benefits, many people choose to sit or lie down.

  • Relax your neck and shoulders.
  • Breathe in slowly through your nose for two seconds with your mouth closed.
  • Breath out slowly through your mouth for four seconds with your lips puckered.
  • As you exhale, keep it slow and steady.
  • Repeat and extend the counts as you go.

Breathing Exercises and Your Next Steps

Best Pulmonary Fibrosis Breathing Exercises

Take your time while learning these new pulmonary fibrosis breathing exercises. Start slowly and follow your doctor’s instructions. In combination with pulmonary fibrosis breathing exercises, many people follow a pulmonary fibrosis treatment plan. The treatment plan may include medications, inhalers, pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen therapy and cellular therapy. For some people with pulmonary fibrosis, cellular therapy has helped them feel better because cellular therapy may promote healing from within the lungs. If you or a loved one has pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial lung disease or another form of lung disease and would like to learn more about cellular therapy options, contact us at (800) 729-3065.


  1. Matt

    1 year ago

    Hello Madeline,
    Thank you for your question. There are many causes as to how to get pulmonary fibrosis. You can learn more about pulmonary fibrosis by clicking this link. If you are interested in learning more about cell therapy, please give us a call at (855) 313-1149. That way our staff can learn more about your medical situation and see if you’re a candidate. Thanks again and have a great day.

  2. Madeline

    1 year ago

    I was just diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. Shouldn,t i have a lUng biopsy or a bronKopcospy? Isnt there different forms of fibrosis?
    Im seventy years old am i a candidate for cell thereapy?

  3. Phoebe

    1 year ago

    Dear Regina,

    Thanks for your question. Of the breathing exercises discussed in this article, the belly breathing technique and pursed lips breathing technique are often used to promote relaxation. Shortness of breath and distress can cause increased anxiety, which can make it more difficult to breathe. Along with breathing techniques, click here to read more about positions to help reduce shortness of breath as well. Remember, it’s important to discuss breathing exercises and positions to reduce shortness of breath with your doctor before you try them. We hope this information is helpful.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  4. Regina A Baker

    1 year ago

    During times of distress can these breathing exercises be SUCCESSFUL?

* Every patient is given a Patient Satisfaction Survey shortly after treatment. Responses to the 11-question survey are aggregated to determine patient satisfaction with the delivery of treatment.

^ Quality of Life Survey data measured the patient’s self-assessed quality of life and measurable quality of improvement at three months.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.

Each patient is different. Results may vary.