UCL News


UCL in the News: Take a deep breath, it could help to ease your asthma

29 June 2007

A breathing technique developed more than 40 years ago could offer relief for asthma sufferers.

A study has now delivered firm scientific evidence that it reduces the symptoms of asthma and can cut breathlessness by a third.

Named the Papworth method … patients are encouraged to take deeper, more gentle breaths and breathe out through the nose rather than the mouth. …

Elizabeth Holloway [UCL Epidemiology & Public Health], a research physiotherapist with more than 30 years' clinical experience, who led the study, said the key was learning to breathe using the abdomen and diaphragm rather than the chest. …

"It is not just psychological, it is physical," she said.

"Patients need to learn to drop their shoulders, relax their tummies and breathe calmly and appropriately. They gain greater control and confidence.

"Richard Burton breathed from his tummy. Such slow and controlled breathing gives a richness to the voice." …

The researchers said that while the technique had always been commonly believed to make a positive contribution to controlling the condition, there had never been any scientific evidence to prove it.

Writing in the medical journal Thorax, they added: "These results support the hypothesis that the Papworth method ameliorates respiratory symptoms and improves the quality of life in patients diagnosed with asthma." …

'Daily Mail'