person using powebreathe plus medic IMT device

Pulmonary rehabilitation breathing exercises are often offered to individuals with a chronic lung condition, such as COPD. One such exercise is pursed lip breathing, the intention of which is to keep the airways open for longer. This helps to control oxygenation (moving oxygen into the lungs) and ventilation (moving carbon dioxide out of the lungs). This breathing technique also helps to slow down breathing rate, as well as relieve the feeling of shortness of breath.

What’s Pulmonary Rehab?

Pulmonary rehab, or PR, is a comprehensive treatment programme. PR is designed to improve the physical and emotional well-being of individuals with chronic respiratory conditions. A PR programme will include:

  • Physical exercises
  • Education about the condition, including symptoms and what to expect
  • Advice regarding how to look after the lungs and manage the condition
  • Breathing exercises to help manage breathlessness
Pulmonary Rehabilitation playlist by Rich Severin PT, DPT, PhD(c), CCS

Breathing Exercises

In addition to pursed-lip breathing, another well-known breathing technique taught in pulmonary rehab is diaphragmatic breathing. This aims to train a patient to connect with and use their diaphragm, the main breathing muscle. Diaphragmatic breathing will help the patient to breathe deeply into their lower tummy as opposed to the chest. Strengthening the diaphragm muscle with this breathing exercise will help to fill the lungs more effectively and efficiently.

Breathing exercises in pulmonary rehab also include inspiratory muscle training (IMT) with a device, such as POWERbreathe IMT devices. IMT is a breathing technique intended to improve the strength and stamina of the inspiratory muscles. And because it is drug-free it can play a significant role in pulmonary rehabilitation for patients with lung diseases.

The POWERbreathe Medic and POWERbreathe Medic Plus are mechanically adjusted IMT devices, that are often used by patients at home. The POWERbreathe KHP2 and POWERbreathe KH2 are electronic IMT devices, specifically designed for healthcare professionals and their patients, under supervision. Contact us for more details, if you are a healthcare professional.

Is Pulmonary Rehab Effective?

Inspiratory Muscle Training is often integrated into a comprehensive pulmonary rehabilitation programme. Other elements of PR include aerobic exercise, strength training, education, and psychological support. This combination of interventions makes PR so effective for many. By providing this holistic approach to improving overall respiratory health, various aspects of lung disease management are addressed. However, IMT is likely to improve dyspnoea, functional exercise capacity and quality of life when provided alone.

POWERbreathe IMT, as a part of pulmonary rehabilitation, helps with:

Improving Inspiratory Muscle Strength

POWERbreathe IMT specifically targets the muscles involved in inspiration i.e. breathing in (the diaphragm and intercostal muscles). Daily training of these muscles helps to improve inspiratory muscle strength, making breathing more comfortable when performing daily activities.

Enhancing Exercise Tolerance

Lung diseases often lead to reduced exercise tolerance due to shortness of breath and breathing fatigue. But POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training helps individuals tolerate exercise better. It achieves this by improving breathing stamina and reducing breathing fatigue. This allows for more efficient oxygen exchange and reduces the feeling of breathlessness during physical activities.

Reducing Dyspnoea (Shortness of Breath)

Dyspnoea is a common symptom in individuals with lung diseases. Inspiratory muscle training can contribute to reducing dyspnoea by enhancing the efficiency of the inspiratory muscles, making breathing less laboured.

Enhancing Quality of Life

By improving functional capacity, IMT contributes to enhancing the quality of life for individuals with lung diseases. An increase in respiratory efficiency can also lead to a greater ability to perform daily activities. As a result, dependency on others is reduced leading to improved mental well-being.

Can Pulmonary Rehabilitation Be Done At Home?

As a home-based IMT exercise, POWERbreathe IMT is easy to use straight out of the box. This makes inspiratory muscle training easy to continue with after the completion of formal pulmonary rehabilitation. This helps to sustain the benefits achieved during rehabilitation and provides ongoing support for individuals with chronic lung conditions.


In summary, pulmonary rehabilitation breathing exercises are an integral component of any PR programme. In particular, POWERbreathe IMT addresses specific aspects of respiratory function to enhance the overall well-being of individuals with lung diseases. It also complements other interventions in a multidimensional approach to optimise respiratory health and improve the quality of life for patients.

Breathing muscle weakness is not only present in chronic lung conditions such as COPD, but also in other medical conditions. It can also be down to advancing age or lifestyle. In fact, any condition that prevents physical activity can lead to inspiratory muscle weakness. Find out how POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training can help you to breathe well, and live well.