An observation on breathing

Professor Stephen Spiro, Deputy Chairman of the British Lung Foundation, recently shared an observation he made when people try to breathe while slumped on the sofa. “You’ll notice that people don’t sigh when they sit slumped — they have to sit up to take a deep breath,” he commented.

“That’s because the lungs work best when we’re vertical. If you’re slumped forward you don’t fully breathe and ventilate the lungs, because they’re compressed and the diaphragm is coming up into the chest — so you won’t breathe as easily and efficiently.”

This compression of the diaphragm can cause breathing problems for anyone, but especially those with asthma or lung disease, and will affect cyclists who adopt this position while racing.

In the same article in The Daily Mail online, physiotherapist Sammy Margo noted that slumping can mean less oxygen to the brain, saying that ‘C-shaped people complain of being tired and fatigued all the time and it’s because the lungs are squashed and cannot get enough air in, and the brain needs plenty of oxygen to function at its best.’

Read more about how POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training can help people with breathing problems such as asthma, and if you’re a cyclist, why you should include POWERbreathe IMT as part of your cycling training. If however you’re already using POWERbreathe, then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum as we’d love to hear about how you’ve benefited from this breathing training.

Foods and Spices for Respiratory Infections

One of our most popular blogs is ‘Foods for keeping your lungs healthy’, so we thought we’d give it an update and keep you posted with new information coming through that looks at how seven everyday foods and spices could help those with breathing problems avoid respiratory infection during the cold, winter months.

Please note however that this is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please always seek advice from your physician or health provider regarding a medical condition.


Echinacea is now one of the most popular supplements in Europe for fighting respiratory infections such as the common cold. Evidence shows that while it doesn’t prevent you getting a cold, it might help as a treatment in reducing the severity of cold and flu symptoms.


There appears to be evidence that elderberry boosts the production of some immune cells and may also unblock the flu virus’s ability to spread. Elderberry ranks among the most effective remedies for treating respiratory illness. In fact a study published in the journal ‘Phytochemsitry’ (2009) showed black elderberry extract to be at least 68% effective against swine flu (H1N1).


Garlic has been used for centuries as an immune booster and natural remedy for respiratory disorders. It contains medicinal compounds, including allicin and sulphur-containing compounds that ward of disease. One systematic review study found that fewer people taking a garlic supplement went on to have a cold when compared to people taking a placebo. Garlic is used quite a lot in cooking, but if you’re not keen on the taste, you can also buy it in supplement form.


Because ginger is packed with antiviral compounds, it’s excellent at preventing as well as treating respiratory ailments as it ‘disinfects’ the body. And ginger is so easy to add into your diet, as a tea or simply added freshly chopped to your food.


Oregano, more specifically oil of oregano has been shown to work well at treating respiratory illness after it has already developed, and is considered a potent antibiotic and antiviral herb. Be careful and always check side effects and interactions.

Vitamin D

It has come to light recently (pardon the pun) that we in the UK are lacking vitamin D. The low levels of sunlight combined with covering ourselves in sun protection cream when the sun does come out, have resulted in this vitamin D deficiency. Such low levels have been shown to cause chronic illness, including respiratory illness.

You can learn more about government advice on vitamin D supplementation by visiting Pulse – At the heart of general practice since 1960

Vitamin C

As children we’ve all been told to eat an orange as it contains vitamin C which is a powerful nutrient for boosting immunity and warding off colds. There was a study conducted in Finland (2004) which found that respiratory patients who took vitamin C supplements were less likely to develop respiratory infections including pneumonia and the common cold. Try to take natural vitamin C that comes from ‘superfoods’ such as acerola cherry.

You can also help keep your lungs healthy by making them stronger and more resistant to fatigue, which in turn could help them fight off infection. POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training exercises your breathing muscles, improving their strength and stamina.

If you have a respiratory condition, such as asthma or COPD, then you could benefit from using POWERbreathe Level 1 (LR). It features an adjustable, light resistance for you to breathe against, and as your breathing strength improves, you simply turn up the resistance. Choose from the following models:

Everyone can benefit from stronger breathing muscles, not just people with breathing problems, and there is a POWERbreathe to suit everyone. We’ve listed the models above that would best suit people with breathing difficulties, and for those who don’t have a breathing problem you can choose from:

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If you found this article useful, please leave a comment on the blog. We can also be followed on Twitter and you can also like us on Facebook.

Asthma – Key Facts

Respiratory SymptomSimply defined, asthma is a medical condition which affects the airways in some people. These airways are tubes which help us transport oxygen into and out of the lungs.

Breathlessness and wheezing are a couple of the symptoms of asthma. These symptoms differ in severity from person to person. Some people may suffer symptoms several times a week, or in worse cases several times a day.  Asthma can be at its worst during physical activity, when it’s cold, or at night.  An asthma attack is caused when the lining of the bronchial tubes swells up. This then causes the airways to narrow which results in a reduction of air flow into and out of the lungs.  Recurrent asthma symptoms frequently cause sleeplessness, daytime fatigue, reduced activity levels and school and work absenteeism.


  • Asthma is a disease which affects the way we breathe. The condition is a chronic one and affects the tubes that go to and leave the lungs.
  • Over 200 million people suffer from the condition and it is prevalent among children.
  • Countries that have low to middle income are the countries that have the highest rate of asthma related deaths.
  • The biggest contributors to asthma are inhaled substances and particles that cause allergic reactions which lead to irritation of the airways.
  • Asthma can be controlled by using suitable medication. The severity of asthma can also be reduced by staying away from known asthma triggers.
  • People can still enjoy a good quality of life if they manage their condition appropriately.

Asthma is a disease which cannot be cured. However, proper management of the disease can control it and enable you to live a good quality of life. Some symptoms can be relieved by using short term medication. However, anyone suffering from severe asthma symptoms must take long term medication on a daily basis to control exacerbation of the condition. It isn’t just medication that controls asthma. You have to be vigilant at avoiding asthma triggers and anything that will cause the airways to swell.

Creating a personal action plan in conjunction with your asthma nurse or GP will help you manage your asthma. It should include details about your medicine and emergency information but it could also include details of your POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training plan.

Because POWERbreathe is drug-free and has no side-effects or drug interactions, POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training will complement your prescribed asthma medicine, but we would recommend you speak to your medical practitioner before starting any exercise training plan.

Read more about exercise-induced asthma and managing your shortness of breath with breathing training.

93-Year-Old Now Able to Inhale Medication After Using POWERbreathe K5

A physiotherapist in Brazil spoke to us of a 93-year-old patient, sadly unable to inhale medication she desperately needs for a medical issue. Paulo, her physio, explains how her breathing muscles are so weak due to her illness. Consequently, her weak breathing muscles aren’t strong enough to inhale the medication deep enough to be beneficial.

How POWERbreathe helped 93-year-old inhale medication

Quick thinking Paulo immediately set her up with the POWERbreathe K5 Inspiratory Muscle Training device. His patient began breathing in through the device on a regular basis to train her breathing muscles to become stronger. Consequently, Paulo saw improvements in her breathing strength, as the breathing load started to increase.

Breathing Load is a resistance that the patient breathes in against in order to strengthen the breathing muscles. And this load increases in increments, very gradually, according to the physiotherapist’s guidance. This task is easier, thanks to the K5 Breathe-Link Live Feedback Software. This allows the user – and in this case, the healthcare professional – to see, in real-time, the progress being made. As a result, adjustments are made based on real data, making training more manageable for the patient. Such data, useful for prescribing a training programme, includes breathing power (watts), volume (litres) and breathing energy (joules). Consequently, this paints a picture of the strength and stamina of the patient’s breathing.

Inhaling medication thanks to stronger breathing muscles

Inspiratory muscle training engages the breathing muscles, making them work harder. It’s a form of training that requires a person to breathe in forcefully against a resistance. So it’s much like any other form of progressive strength training, but for the breathing muscles. It’s this forceful breath in, and an increase in resistance, that improves the strength and stamina of the breathing muscles, reducing fatigue.

Paulo’s patient is now able to take in such a forceful breath that she now successfully inhales her prescription, helping to improve the symptoms of her medical condition.

Evan Scully, Scully Therapy Clinic – my first experience of POWERbreathe

At the age of 6 months, the Doctors diagnosed me with Cystic Fibrosis. CF is a hereditary disease of the lungs and pancreas, resulting in more mucus production and the inability to produce digestive enzymes. Not only do I produce more mucus, but it is also thicker. Therefore, it is harder to get the mucus up.

I was given a life expectancy of 10 years of age. My 10th birthday came, and the age was changed to 18. I’m 26 now, so I think the Doctors have given up guessing.

Having Cystic Fibrosis means doing airway clearance every single day. Christmas Day and Birthdays are days in which shouldn’t be ignored as it’s a clear reminder that your one year older, and that you are beating the odds even more.

So keeping on top of my CF remains one of the biggest parts of my life. Along with having CF, I also have Exercised Induced Asthma. One would think I should be bed ridden, but it’s just another hurdle that I have to jump, and clear.

As part of my airway clearance, I run. A lot. I run 10 times a week and anywhere between 70-100 miles a week. This comprised of two speed endurance sessions, a threshold run, a long run ( between 90mins to 2 hours), recovery runs, and of course a day off. I have to take precautions while doing the speed training, as my lungs can flair up. This means taking a steroidal inhaler beforehand.

I’m constantly looking for ways to help both my EIA and my CF. I heard about POWERbreathe roughly 5 years ago, and it was always something that interested me. So recently, I had a very bad attack of inflammation in my lungs which came out of the blue. It meant not being able to run. When I can’t run, I’m stuck with a catch 22 situation. I need to run to clear the mucus from my lungs, but if I was to run, my chest wouldn’t allow me because of the inflammation.

While sitting down, trying not to do too much, I remembered about the POWERbreathe. I thought what could be the harm in trying it out. As soon as it arrived, I had a go of it. I was surprised at how it worked the lungs from an inspiration and not expiration point of view. I’m a cynic when it comes to these types of “gadgets”, because there are a load of “gadgets” out there. From my first breath, I could actually feel my pulmonary muscles and diaphragm kicking into action.

A big part of my life is my work. I am a Sports Therapist and Acupuncturist. I run my own clinic called Scully Therapy Clinic. By treating Olympic athletes, I see quite a few who come into the clinic with either Asthma or Exercised Induced Asthma. I could safely recommend the athletes to use POWERbreathe as a tool to help their lungs become stronger. Stronger lungs equal faster times.

I have documented, and will continue to document how I am getting on with the POWERbreathe on my blog:


A huge thank you to Evan for sharing his first experience of using POWERbreathe for Cystic Fibrosis and we’ll look forward to sharing with you his continued experience.

If you’d like to show your support for Evan then please leave a comment here, and if you too are using POWERbreathe to help symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis then we would love to hear from you.


David Vinall – I had no idea how much Powerbreathe would change my life

I am using my new Powerbreathe Fitness Plus and it is a great help with my fitness training.  There is a Gym nearby which is a great help; various classes are available and good equipment to use, which is all helping my training schedule.  I am also cycling, so things are going O.K.

Looking back, my love of cycling has helped me remain fairly fit for someone who has had asthma since I was 2 years old, (I am now 74!!!) and it is this interest in cycling that lead me to discover Powerbreathe!

Mary (my wife) and I were out collecting shoeboxes for Link Romania and were headed for North Devon.  As we approached Bridgewater I remembered that there is a fantastic cycle shop in Bridgewater called St John Street Cycles, so we went in and had a good look round, this was November 2002.  It was here that I picked up a leaflet about Powerbreathe, read it and subsequently bought my first Powerbreathe.

Initially I had no idea how much Powerbreathe would change my life. On a normal day I was using Ventolin or Becotide inhalers and Ventolin tablets 3 times a day, on a good day twice a day.  My January New Years Resolution 2003 was to conscientiously use my new Powerbreathe every day twice a day.  By mid February 2003 I was feeling much better and was not relying so much on medication and life was much better, in fact by Feb/March I was regularly able to go without medication for a day, sometimes days and I was enjoying life!

In the summer of 2003 we were lucky enough to be able to buy a camper van and have been using it ever since.  My medication has changed and reflects improvements in dealing with my asthma; I now use Seretide 125 with an aerochamber as and when required.

When the new Powerbreathe model came out I bought one, it is such an improvement on the original model and my health continued to improve, as you know I am now using my new Powerbreathe Fitness to help me get fit for a Sponsorship Cycle Challenge from Romania to Moldova.  In the old days although I have done some rides like the London to Brighton I could not have committed to this latest Challenge.

I am totally convinced that I am fitter and can enjoy a more enjoyable and rewarding lifestyle thanks to my Powerbreathe, I am really pleased that I picked up that leaflet all those years ago.

On many occasions when talking with people with breathing problems Powerbreathe has been recommended and I definitely know that one man immediately bought one for his wife on email.  I definitely recommend Powerbreathe – it could change your life, it did for me!

Thank you for a wonderful product.
Kind regards
David Vinall

If  POWERbreathe is helping you stay in control of your asthma or is an adjunct to your COPD treatment,  then please leave a comment and share your experience – we’d love to hear from you.

Modern Health and Fitness – POWERbreathe for anyone with lungs

Elspeth RaisbeckPOWERbreathe first came to my attention many years ago when one of my patients who suffered breathing difficulties brought one to clinic and said that it had helped his breathing condition more than any of the inhalers he’d been given.  As his nurse I wasn’t in a position to tell him to throw them out and stick with the POWERbreathe but I think that’s what he probably did!

After that I started thinking about what a POWERbreathe could do for anyone with a pair of lungs – or even only 1 lung but for some reason it’s taken until now for me to get my own POWERbreathe. I’ve been using the Fitness Plus model for nearly 4 weeks.

Because I’m a bit of a saddo and love a good excuse for breaking open an Excel spreadsheet, I’ve been logging my stats so that I can see (as well as feel) the improvement in my fitness performance.  I’m not a heavy-weight fitness fanatic but I go running as often as I can, which is usually 3-6 days out of 7, and occasionally supplement that with home fitness DVDs.  So the stats look at how far I’ve run, the time it’s taken and how easy it was on a 1-5 scale (a 1 would see me leaping along like a young gazelle and when I have to stop halfway round my route, that would be a 5).  I also record how often I’m practising with the POWERbreathe and the resistance level.

So far I’ve got up to level 2 on the resistance and have been practising about once a day (Ok, so not optimal) but even in this short time I’m seeing and feeling a difference.

My running time over both my 2.5 mile and 4 mile routes have reduced by over 2 minutes and the ‘ease scores’ have also gone down from 4 to 2.5 which means that I’m enjoying the exercise a lot more.

Recently I’ve been using the POWERbreathe while I’m using the home exercise DVDs which gives an added dimension, and using it just before I go running gives me a lot more energy – probably unsurprisingly!

Keep checking back for regular updates


Modern Health & fitness


Lewin Hynes – Better breathing with Powerbreathe Catch Drills on the rowing machine

Lewin Hynes - Better breathing with Powerbreathe Catch Drills on the rowing machineThe catch is the position at the front end of the rowing stroke, with your body curled into a ball.

It is difficult and strenuous to take a full breath in this position for most people, so we are going to train to overcome that weakness by adopting the catch position, either on the rowing machine or using dumbells and performing Powerbreathe inhalations. We perform five inhalations in the catch position before take a full rowing stroke (exhaling on the drive, power-inhaling on the recovery) or performing a dumbell deadlift.

Perform that cycle five times at your full POWERbreathe resistance setting or as close as you can get to give you a classic 30 inhalation set.


Thanks Lewin for this video. We would love to read your comments about this video, please them below.

POWERbreathe Trial – Melanie Ryding Week 13: Ooops i forgot the inhaler!

POWERbreathe Trial – Melanie Ryding Week 13: Ooops i forgot the inhaler!Yep, the inevitable happened this week. I was in a rush, work is hectic, I had to go to the track to meet my coach directly from work. I forgot the inhaler. Normally that means that coach goes easy, because he is always afriad of me having asthma trouble and not being able to help me. Today was different.

I am not sure why, but he rolled on regardless and punished me the only way a coach can. I was exhausted. I managed to still make imporvements on my run speed throughout the session and i was faster than last week. The fitness is returning.BUT… not a single problem with the asthma at all.

I am back into the swing of training now, and everything has at last stopped hurting!

Melanie Ryding

Breathing difficulties with COPD – 5 top tips for COPD Treatment

Anyone who suffers from COPD will know that the most common and most troublesome symptom is dyspnoea, also known as shortness of breath.  As COPD progresses, shortness of breath also worsens. This has a detrimental affect on our daily activities and overall quality of life. Anyone with this respiratory condition will know how difficult it can be just going for a walk or participating in any form of exercise.various medications are available which help to a certain point with breathing. However, better breathing with COPD requires a much more comprehensive approach for COPD treatment. This includes the following:

Quit smoking

Stamping out those cigarettes is the first step to better breathing.  If you are a smoker and suffer from any respiratory condition then putting out the cigarettes can slow down progression of any respiratory disease and improve your quality of life enabling you to breathe easier. Research has shown lung function decline in COPD once a person quits smoking. Have you stamped out those cigarettes yet?

Take your medication

Most COPD medications are designed to improve your breathing and help you breathe more easily so you can live each day much more comfortably.  For this reason alone COPD medication are the backbone for COPD treatment.

Get more sleep

Tiredness is common amongst people who suffer from respiratory conditions. The constant feeling of being tired makes everything more difficult and simple things like breathing become more difficult.  It is important to get the rest needed as this is important to health and overall well being. Taking plenty of rest will help you recharge your batteries and give you more energy to breathe.

Avoid airway irritants

Long term exposure to airway irritants is a major factor causing COPD.  Once diagnosed, any further exposure to these irritants can escalate the condition and make breathing very difficult for you.  The deterrent is simple: Breathe in clean air.

Get your pulmonary rehab on

If you are looking for the highest standard of treatment for COPD then it doesn’t get any better than pulmonary rehabilitation. This treatment is beneficial for COPD patients who are in all stages of COPD – moderate through to severe. Pulmonary rehab helps to improve the quality of life of COPD sufferers.