Editor’s note: This post has been left available to view, as an example of our experiments with sharing evidence in creative ways, but please note that, unlike our normal blogs, it has not been updated and so may not represent the latest Cochrane evidence.
Out of puff?
Breathing exercises are used by adults with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). What evidence do we have that they work? This is what Cochrane reviews have found:
- Asthma: while some trials reported positive effects of breathing exercises for adults with asthma, overall there was no conclusive evidence to show whether or not they are effective. The evidence was low quality
- COPD: breathing exercises appeared safe for people with COPD. Yoga breathing, pursed lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing improved the distance walked in six minutes by an average of 35 to 50 metres in four studies. Effects of breathing exercises on shortness of breath and well being were variable. When added to whole body exercise training, breathing exercises did not appear to have any additional benefit. The evidence was low quality
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Freitas DA, Holloway E, Bruno SS, Chaves GSS, Fregonezi GAF, Mendonça KMPP. Breathing exercises for adults with asthma. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD001277. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001277.pub3 – See more at: http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD001277/AIRWAYS_breathing-exercises-for-asthma#sthash.pAJTQqT1.dpuf
Holland AE, Hill CJ, Jones AY, McDonald CF. Breathing exercises for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD008250. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008250.pub2 – See more at: http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD008250/AIRWAYS_breathing-exercises-for-chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease#sthash.frY5Ylpy.dpuf