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Dyspnea (Shortness Of Breath): 9 Effective Home Remedies

Dyspnea or shortness of breath as its commonly called happens when a person has trouble breathing in the air [1] . This causes difficulty in breathing as the air doesn't get into the lungs. The most common causes of dyspnea are asthma, anxiety disorders, choking, heart attack, heart failure, sudden blood loss, etc.

Some people may experience shortness of breath for a short period, while others may experience it for several weeks. If dyspnea isn't caused by a medical emergency, you could try some natural remedies that can help alleviate the condition.

Home Remedies For Dyspnea

1. Deep breathing

Breathing in deeply through the abdomen can help in managing breathlessness. Deep breathing will help you in breathing more efficiently and help control your breathing pattern [3] .

  • Lie down and put your hands on the abdomen.
  • Breathe in deeply through the abdomen and let the lungs fill with air.
  • Hold the breath for a few seconds.
  • Breathe out slowly through the mouth and repeat this for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Do this several times a day.

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2. Sitting forward posture

A sitting forward posture has been shown to relieve dyspnea and improve pulmonary function. Sitting in a forward-leaning position and resting the forearms on the thighs can help in relaxing the chest [4] .

  • Sit on a chair and lean your chest slightly forward.
  • Gently rest your arms on your thighs and keep your shoulder muscles relaxed.
  • Do this twice a day.

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3. Pursed-lip breathing

Pursed-lip breathing is another effective natural remedy to relieve dyspnea. This breathing technique has been shown to reduce breathlessness and improve the inhalation and exhalation in individuals with dyspnea [4] .

  • Sit upright in a chair and relax your shoulders.
  • Press your lips together and keep a little gap in between the lips.
  • Inhale through the nose for few seconds and exhale through the pursed lips till the count of four.
  • Continue doing this way for 10 minutes.

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4. Steam inhalation

Steam inhalation can help clear out the nasal passages and help you breathe more easily. The heat and moisture from the steam loosen the mucous in the lungs, thus reducing breathlessness [5] .

  • Keep a bowl of hot water in front of you and add a few drops of eucalyptus and peppermint essential oil.
  • Put your face over the bowl at a distance and place a towel over your head.
  • Take deep breaths and inhale the steam.
  • Do it thrice a day.

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5. Standing position

Standing against the back of a chair or low fence can help reduce shortness of breath and enhance airway function in the lungs [7] .

  • Stand with your back supporting the fence or chair.
  • Keep your shoulder feet width apart and rest your hands on your thighs.
  • Lean slightly forward and dangle your arms in front of you.

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6. Using a fan

A research study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management found that using a hand-held fan could reduce the sensation of breathlessness [8] .

  • Take a small hand-held fan and blow the air in front of your face and inhale the air.

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7. Diaphragmatic breathing

According to a study, diaphragmatic breathing can control dyspnea and reduce breathless in patients. About 14 patients were asked to breathe slowly and deeply (diaphragmatic breathing). The exercise lasted for 6 minutes and the results showed a significant reduction in the sensation of dyspnea [9] .

  • Sit on a chair and relax your shoulders and hands.
  • Place your hand on your belly.
  • Breathe in slowly through the nose and exhale through pursed lips, while you tighten your abdomen muscles.
  • Repeat for 5 minutes.

8. Black coffee

Research studies have shown that the caffeine content in black coffee can help treat breathlessness and can improve lung function for up to four hours [2] .

  • Drink a cup of black coffee daily until the breathlessness resides.

9. Ginger

Ginger is a common spice with incredible medicinal properties. A study showed that fresh ginger may help reduce breathlessness and improve airway function in the lungs [6] .

  • Add a piece of fresh ginger to a glass of hot water and drink it several times a day.
  • You can also chew a small piece of ginger.
View Article References
  1. [1] Berliner, D., Schneider, N., Welte, T., & Bauersachs, J. (2016). The Differential Diagnosis of Dyspnea.Deutsches Arzteblatt international,113(49), 834–845.
  2. [2] Bara, A., & Barley, E. (2001). Caffeine for asthma.Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (4).
  3. [3] Borge, C. R., Mengshoel, A. M., Omenaas, E., Moum, T., Ekman, I., Lein, M. P., ... & Wahl, A. K. (2015). Effects of guided deep breathing on breathlessness and the breathing pattern in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: A double-blind randomized control study.Patient education and counseling,98(2), 182-190.
  4. [4] Kim, K. S., Byun, M. K., Lee, W. H., Cynn, H. S., Kwon, O. Y., & Yi, C. H. (2012). Effects of breathing maneuver and sitting posture on muscle activity in inspiratory accessory muscles in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.Multidisciplinary respiratory medicine,7(1), 9.
  5. [5] Valderramas, S. R., & Atallah, Á. N. (2009). Effectiveness and safety of hypertonic saline inhalation combined with exercise training in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a randomized trial.Respiratory care,54(3), 327-333.
  6. [6] San Chang, J., Wang, K. C., Yeh, C. F., Shieh, D. E., & Chiang, L. C. (2013). Fresh ginger (Zingiber officinale) has anti-viral activity against human respiratory syncytial virus in human respiratory tract cell lines.Journal of ethnopharmacology,145(1), 146-151.
  7. [7] Meriem, M., Cherif, J., Toujani, S., Ouahchi, Y., Hmida, A. B., & Beji, M. (2015). Sit-to-stand test and 6-min walking test correlation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.Annals of thoracic medicine,10(4), 269.
  8. [8] Galbraith, S., Fagan, P., Perkins, P., Lynch, A., & Booth, S. (2010). Does the use of a handheld fan improve chronic dyspnea? A randomized, controlled, crossover trial.Journal of pain and symptom management,39(5), 831-838.
  9. [9] Evangelodimou, A., Grammatopoulou, E., Skordilis, E., & Haniotou, A. (2015). The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Dyspnea and Exercise Tolerance During Exercise in COPD Patients.Chest,148(4), 704A.

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