How do the Breather and Breather Fit work?
The Breather is a device that provides breathing against resistance, which both activates and strengthens inspiratory and expiratory respiratory muscles. The device allows for adjustable levels of resistance using easy-to-read dials, which allows you to adjust the device to the settings you require. The inhale settings allow for adjustment 1-6 with 1 being the easiest and 6 being the hardest, while the exhale settings allow for adjustment 1-5, where 1 in the easiest and 5 the hardest. These dials adjust independently of one another for the desired result.
Using the device helps to promote diaphragmatic breathing, which research supports can lower stress levels and improve overall quality of life and sense of wellbeing. It also generates improved airflow through the vocal cords, decreases shortness of breath, improves the delivery of oxygen-rich blood to the muscles during exercise and recovery as well as to improve the ability to couch and clear the airway.
The way the Breather works makes it useful to support conditions like COPD, stroke, asthma, heart failure, Parkinson’s, MS, dysphagia and a host of others.
How do I use my Breather?
Before inserting the mouthpiece, which is specifically engineered for those who have poor mouth grip, its important to do the following, first:
To begin the training breathe out fully through pursed lips and then inhale deeply and forcefully for approximately two to three seconds (longer than this does not improve results). Pause for a second, then exhale forcefully for two to three seconds without puffing out your cheeks. Your breaths should come from your airway, and not your oral cavity or cheeks.
The rapid inhale, slight pause, and quick forceful exhale is the optimal technique you want to master.
Finding the right setting for your training after the first weeks is about trying them out. You can increase the resistance about once a week, and even adjust the dials independently of one another from one week to the next. If you need to take a break from the Breather, during illness, for example, you may need to decrease the resistance settings and build up to those you were at before.
What is the diaphragmatic breathing technique?
To get the feel for the diaphragmatic breathing technique, place one hand on your stomach just below your rib cage and the other hand in the middle of the chest. As you breathe, feel both your chest and stomach rise as you inhale deeply, and feel your chest fall and stomach muscles tighten as you exhale.
The first benefit of the Breather is to assist you to breathe properly and more efficiently. This benefit has a far-reaching effect on your health, not only allowing more oxygen into your lungs, but more oxygen-rich blood to be transported throughout your body and to your brain.
Superficial breathing, which is the type of breathing that involves shallow breathing, allows air into the upper part of the chest only. This type of breathing is associated with stress, asthma, and other medical conditions as it reduces the levels of carbon monoxide in the blood, which causes the arteries to constrict, reducing blood flow through the body. As a result, the brain picks up a reduction in blood oxygen levels and prompts an increase in the breath rate. It becomes a vicious cycle, which can lead to increased feelings of stress and anxiety, and it can interfere with the ability to think clearly.
Changing the depth of the breath allows for increased air to fill the lungs and the oxygen to be used effectively, providing the brain and the body with adequate level of oxygenated blood.
The second major benefit of the Breather is that it helps to strengthen the muscles used to breathe in and out. As a result, coughing force become stronger, and thus the clearing capacity of the lungs is improved. This benefit if also important for activity, where the strength of the muscles involved in breathing can cope with a higher demand for breathing during activity.
How often do I need to use my Breather?
The typical training guideline is to train six days a week, and you can pick those days. Each day, you have two sessions, one in the morning and again in the evening. Each session will comprise of two sets with 10 repetitions per set. That means you’ll do 20 reps in the morning and 20 reps at night.
It may take 2-4 weeks to feel the results.
When you do achieve your desired results, don’t stop using the Breather. Like all exercise programs, this is an exercise program for the chest muscles, and you should continue to train despite achieving your goal.
How often do I clean the Breather, and what is the best way to do so?
Cleaning the Breather regularly can help to prevent the build-up of saliva and extend the lifespan of your device. Frequent use of the Breather requires frequent cleaning.
It’s easy! Separate the mouthpiece from the device and simply clean wash it in warm, soapy water (for example, dishwashing liquid) and then rinse it thoroughly in clean water. Shake off the excess water and allow the Breather to air dry on a clean surface where it won’t be exposed to lint or dust, for example, on a paper towel, and out of direct sunlight. It should be completely dry before you return it to storage in a clean plastic bag.
For a deeper clean, soak the breather in 3 parts warm water with 1 part vinegar for 5 minutes (no more than 15). Then rinse thoroughly and continue with the drying instructions as above.
Take note, the rubber diaphragms on the dials may stick from moisture build up or after drying from cleaning. Simply breath through the device with the dials set to 1 to release the moisture seal.
It’s important not to put it into the dishwasher as the heat may damage the device and void the warranty.
Is it safe to share my Breather?
The Breather and Breather Fit are both single patient use devices. They cannot be shared amongst people, not even close family members . It is an infectious diseases risk to share a device that you put in your mouth and breath in and out of.
How does the Breather compare to Incentive Spirometry (IS) devices?
The IS is a device typically used during rehabilitation following surgery or after an illness that affects the lungs, like pneumonia. The device is used to keep the lungs healthy by teaching the user to take slow, deep breaths. It is also a device used to measure lung volume.
The Breather, because it is based on breathing against resistance, strengthens and activated the inspiratory and expiratory muscles to improve breathing overall.
How do The Breather and Breather Fit compare to the EMST device?
The EMST device trains the expiratory muscles as air is blown out through a resistance valve. Contraindications for using the EMST include having high blood pressure, having had a stroke, any cardiac abnormalities, having emphysema, asthma or any COPD.
The Breather trains both inspiratory and expiratory muscles through resistance breathing, which promotes diaphragmatic breathing. The Breather has been shown to provide benefits to those with stable COPD, adults and children with asthma, those with pulmonary hypertension, back and neck pain, and speech and swallowing disorders.
Does the Breather have adverse effects?
When you first begin to use the Breather, in the first weeks of training you may experience light headedness due to the increased exchange of oxygen for carbon dioxide and the body needs to get used to this. If you do experience this, pause for a few minutes and breathe normally without the Breather. Once the feeling has passed, you can continue training. Some people give up during this period of adjusting to training and thus never reap the full benefits of the device. It will pass, and you will begin to feel the difference.
When the instructions are followed correctly, and you listen to your body and you don’t over train, the Breather is not known to have adverse effects. Should you have a medical condition for which you will use the Breather, it is important to check with your physician whether it is a suitable adjunct therapy for you as an individual.
What conditions can the Breather be helpful for?
Research-based evidence has shown that in those with stable COPD, the Breather may have a positive effect on dyspnea and breathlessness, fatigue and health-related quality of life.
The Breather can be used as a complementary therapy for those with asthma, used alongside bronchodilators, corticosteroid therapy and dry powder inhalers, for example, using the Breather may help those with asthma to clear the airways more efficiently as a result of increased expiratory muscle strength. There’s also evidence to support the used of a respiratory muscle trainer to decrease the frequency of asthma attacks, as well as lower the severity and frequency of diurnal and nocturnal symptoms and perception of dyspnea.
The Breather can also be used in the rehabilitation of those who have obstructive sleep apnea, dysphagia, vocal fold pathologies, Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, cerebral vascular accidents/stroke, congestive heart failure, muscle dystrophy, myasthenia gravis, during the weaning off of mechanical ventilation, those who have had a spinal cord injury, hypertension or experience back pain.
Those without chronic medical conditions can also benefit from using the Breather. It can increase exercise capacity and performance and have a positive effect on fitness levels. It has been shown to improve sleep quality and overall quality of life.