Active breathing and bronchiectasis - British Lung Foun...

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Active breathing and bronchiectasis


Hello everyone, have been struggling with my bronchiectasis for a while, getting infections every month even though I am on antibiotics all the time. I upped the exercise I do but it didn't make much difference. So I had a session with a respiratory physiotherapist (I went private) and she taught me a different way of active breathing which I thought I would share with you as it does seem to be helping (three weeks since last infection, cross fingers) plus sleeping better.

Breathe in slowly ensuring you use the bottom of your lungs, hold for a bit, and then breath out slowly. Try not to cough but swallow instead. This should be done ten times before a big breath and a huff. Holding your breath, which I wasn't doing before, helps shift the mucus from underneath. The process should be repeated four times, in the morning and evening and in the day if needed.

She also recommended an aerobika machine (like a flutter device). She said they are much easier to use than the ones with metal balls and can be used in any position, even lying down. The only place I could find them was Ireland and it was about £130 with postage (the pound's weakness against the Euro doesn't help) so have ordered one.

Best wishes to everyone :)

30 Replies

Thanks for the info Fionafish and I hope the aerobika machine works well for you. Xxxx

Thank you for sharing this I’ll be trying it. I get to the point I can’t cough and can’t bring it up so will try it

Fionafish in reply to pepparuby1

I saw another physio today and got a new procedure that works even better - will do a new post

pepparuby1 in reply to Fionafish

Brilliant do share when u can

Thank you for sharing Fionafish I will try that I don’t think I was holding my breath. Was taught a similar method. Useful info thanks xx 😊

Fionafish in reply to Patsy164

Have learnt a new method which works better so will put in a new post x

Thank you so much for your post. I plan to start your technique tomorrow. I do hope that it helps you get rid of the mucus.

I have the aerobika flutter device and like it better than the acapella. It doesn’t give me a headache. (It’s just a small plastic device that should cost much less!)

Fionafish in reply to Kpacific

Thank you - will do another post in a mo as learnt an even better method

Hi Fionafish, I learned this method from the respiratory nurse at the hospital and she got me an acapello device to use from the nhs so it cost me nothing, are you in the UK ? If so you shouldnt have had to pay for it, but so glad it works for you x

Fionafish in reply to Izb1

Thanks, yes, in the UK, but it takes ages to see anybody so thought I would go private and buy the aerobika myself - it has been tricky to feel in control lately but since I have seen the physios I feel loads more positive x

Izb1 in reply to Fionafish

Well thats really good, when you are positive it helps you to get on with things better x

Quick clarification, do you have to swallow every time, or do you just swallow if you feel like coughing?

I sound a lot like you because I can't seem to stop having back to back exacerbations.

Lets hope for better health!


Fionafish in reply to Schmu

Hi Sarah, swallow only if you feel like coughing to try and stop it (not always successful in my case). I saw another physio this morning who gave me an even better method - will put in a new post. She reckons I can get off the antibiotics if I manage to clear properly - cross fingers

Thanks for sharing this fionafish , I’m certainly going to try it, iv had constant infection all year even though I’m on antibiotics although if I stop the antibiotics I’m so much worse so I suppose I’m better taking them. I’m also finding it hard to cough up mucus during the day although I cough up quite a bit

Fionafish in reply to Shazrab

I learnt a new method this morning so will put in a new post - this worked wonders!

Starstream in reply to Fionafish

Have you done the new post yet?

I dont want to miss it


Fionafish in reply to Starstream

Sorry, for delay, it was a busy week. Yes, probably with the same title - if you can't see it shout and will send you another one :)

Starstream in reply to Fionafish

Please resend 😀

Fionafish in reply to Starstream

This was the method:

Saw another physio this morning who gave me a really good method to shift mucus from the two bottom lobes:

Lie on one side with head on pillow ensuring top arm, lying along body, and shoulders are relaxed (I put my underneath hand on the top ribs to ensure breathing correctly - shout if this is not explained well). Take three slow, deep breaths ensuring you are breathing from the bottom of your lungs. Relax for a short while and then do three more breaths, slow and steady getting air deep into your lungs, trying not to cough (swallow cough if possible). Then do one long huff. Repeat process for ten minutes.

Then do the same for ten minutes on the opposite side - the lung on the top is the one that clears each time.

Good luck :)

Hi it may be too late now that you have ordered it ,but I use an acapella which I get from pulmonary physio department

Shazrab in reply to B0xermad

Hi BOxermsd can you tell me what you’d are talking about regarding using an acapella? Iv never heard of this , hope you’re having a good day 🌹🌹

B0xermad in reply to Shazrab

Hi it's a device for clearing the mucus that you blow into

Shazrab in reply to B0xermad

Thanks it’s sounds good to me , if something helps I think it doesn’t matter what we pay even if we need to save up for a while. Good luck with it 🌹🌹

They are free on the NHS with your respiratory department consultant


Sitting trying your recommended breathing. How are you going with it?

Like you infections every month, just had Prednisone for 21 days been great for two weeks now its back again.

Always have trouble getting anything up and always end up back on Prednisone it's the only thing that get me right again.

I sometimes have 14 days of co amoxiclav as well.

Really gets me down.

C 😫

Fionafish in reply to Starstream

It's probably been three weeks since last infection and when I went to docs yesterday my chest was clear - cross fingers it will keep the infections at bay. The antibiotic that is working best for me at the moment is ofloxacin.

Hope things are better for you soon :)

I live in Ireland. Where did you buy your Aerokiba device. Thank you,

Fionafish in reply to bettyb65

Hi bettyb65, I have been trying to remember but did not save any of the packaging or emails. It was somewhere in Ireland and looking at the websites I am pretty sure it was Trudell Medical.

I have not been using it as the exercising and postural drainage seemed to keep my chest clear. However, have just had an infection so might get it out and use it as well.

Best wishes

bettyb65 in reply to Fionafish

Tha nk you so much , Husband not good at minute .

Fionafish in reply to bettyb65

Sorry to hear that, sending love x

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