If you are a patient with asthma, you may be interested in learning about breathing exercises for asthma. They have been largely untested by scientific studies, as they are still often regarded as a form of alternative medicine, though the studies that have been done point to positive results for patients.

Buteyko Breathing Method

One study performed on a type of breathing exercise called Buteyko found that it could reduce the use of medications and improve a patient’s own subjective evaluation of symptom severity. It did not appear to improve lung function; however, more testing is likely necessary to come to a conclusive evaluation of its effectiveness.

Papworth Breathing Technique

Another set of breathing exercises for asthma consists of breathing and relaxation techniques and is called the Papworth technique. It was first used to help calm and treat patients who tended to hyperventilate.

One study added this technique to the treatments already being undertaken by asthmatic patients. The control group exhibited no unexpected increases in physiological condition. The other group received five hour-long sessions of Papworth technique coaching and by the end of the study, had improved scores on the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire, had reduced anxiety and depression, and had experienced an improvement in their symptoms.


It is not clear why breathing exercises for asthma may work so well, particularly those developed for hyperventilation. At the time the Papworth technique was developed, it was looked at skeptically, particularly since revolutionary asthma treatments were being developed that treated inflammation of the airways.

Since increasing the dosages of inhaled drugs is not always effective and even patients undergoing effective treatments often continue to manifest symptoms, it is possible that breathing exercises for asthma would help supplement conventional medicine to provide relief for asthma sufferers.