Discharge Instructions: Controlled Breathing

Discharge Instructions: Controlled Breathing

When you have lung problems, you may find it harder to take deep breaths. Learning to use controlled breathing can help you get more air into and out of your lungs, which will help you cope with shortness of breath.

Home Care

Follow these steps to use controlled breathing:

  • Sit or lie down in a comfortable position with your knees bent.

  • Relax the muscles in your neck and shoulders.

  • Place one hand over the center of your stomach; place the other hand on your upper chest.

  • To the count of 2, breathe in slowly through your nose as deeply as you can. Feel your stomach muscles relax and move out.

  • Imagine blowing out a candle, then pucker your lips.

  • Relax and breathe out naturally through pursed lips to the count of 4. You should feel your stomach muscles move in.

  • Repeat the above steps until you feel relaxed or are no longer feeling short of breath.

Man sitting in a chair

Man inhaling through his nose to the count of 2

Man exhaling through pursed lips to the count of 4


Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.


When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Shortness of breath that is not relieved by controlled breathing exercises or by your medication

  • Wheezing or coughing

  • Increased mucus

  • Yellow, green, bloody, or smelly mucus

  • Fever or chills

  • Tightness in your chest that does not go away with your normal medications

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Swollen ankles

  • Trouble doing your usual activities