Dyspnea is the medical term for shortness of breath and it can be a very distressing experience for the person suffering from it (1, 2, 3).
Dyspnea is where a person is unable to completely fill their lungs with air (2). Difficulty with breathing can also occur if there are any issues with lungs and heart.
Some people can have Dyspnea suddenly for lesser duration and some people can experience chronic shortness of breath over a period of many weeks (8). Sometimes, just changing the position helps in relaxing the airways and the body thus alleviating shortness of breath.
Given below are some effective home remedies for relieving shortness of breath:
Top 11 Home Remedies To Get Rid of Shortness Of Breath
Sit Forward on Chair and Relax To Get Rid Of Shortness of Breath
Even when you are sitting you should try to relax yourself to make your breathing easy. Keep your feet flat on the floor while seated on a chair and tilt your chest slightly forward. Rest your elbows gently on your knees or you can cup your chin with your hands. Keep your muscles of neck and shoulder relaxed throughout and let your breathlessness subside with this useful home remedy.
Dyspnea Reduction with Sitting Forward and Using the Support of Table
Using a table with a chair will be a more comfortable sitting position to catch your breath and alleviate the shortness of breath.
Keep your feet flat on the floor while seated on a chair in front of a table. Slightly move your chest forward and place your arms on the table. Then gently place your head on a pillow or your forearms and relax by breathing slowly and deeply.
Manage Shortness of Breath with Pursed-Lip Breathing
Pursed-Lip Breathing helps in controlling and managing shortness of breath by steadying the rate of breathing, thus making every breath deeper and more effective.
Practicing pursed-lip breathing is an effective home remedy that will also release the air trapped in the lungs and it can be done anytime a person is suffering from dyspnea, especially when performing physical activities, such as climbing stairs, lifting objects or bending.
How to do Pursed-Lip Breathing: First keep your neck and shoulder muscles relaxed. Inhale slowly through your nose for 2 seconds while keeping your mouth shut. Keep your lips pursed as if preparing to whistle. Exhale gently and slowly through the pursed lips till 4 seconds at least.
Manage Dyspnea by Standing with Supported Arms
Another effective home remedy to get rid of shortness of breath is to stand in front of a table that just reaches under your shoulders. Place your hands or elbows on the table and relax your neck. Now relax your shoulders and rest your head on the forearms and breathe slowly.
Standing With Your Back Supported Against the Wall
Standing while keeping your back supported against the wall helps in relaxing the airways and your body.
Stand with your back towards the wall and place your hips against the wall. Feet should be kept shoulder-width apart and place your hands on the thighs. Relax your shoulders and lean forward slightly and let your arms dangle in front of you for relief from breathlessness.
Get Rid of Shortness of Breath with Diaphragmatic Breathing (9, 11)
Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as deep breathing, is where you inhale such that your chest expands and strengthens the diaphragm and is beneficial home remedy for treating shortness of breath.
For Practicing Diaphragmatic Breathing: Sit in a chair with bent knees and relaxed shoulders, relaxed head and relaxed neck. Place your hand gently on your stomach. Inhale slowly through the nose and such that you can feel the movement of your belly under your hand.
Exhale slowly through mouth with pursed lips while tightening your muscles and feel your belly go inward. Concentrate more on exhaling than inhaling. Try to increase your exhaling time each time before inhaling slowly again. Repeat this exercise for at least 5 minutes for effective treatment of shortness of breath.
Sleeping in a Relaxed/Comfortable Position Alleviates Shortness of Breath
There are many individuals who suffer from shortness of breath when they sleep resulting in them frequently waking up thus reducing the duration and quality of their sleep.
Place a pillow between your legs and lie on your side with your head kept high by pillows. Make sure to keep your back straight or else you can lie on your back with a pillow beneath the knees with the knees bent and the head kept elevated on a pillow yet again. These positions help in preventing shortness of breath during sleep.
These two positions also help in relaxing the airways and body thus relieving shortness of breath and help breathing easy when asleep.
Fresh Ginger to the Rescue from Shortness of Breath (14)
Drinking warm ginger concoction or consuming fresh ginger is also a well-known home remedy that can help reduce dyspnea; especially if it is caused by respiratory infection. Ginger is also known to be effective in warding off the RSV virus that often causes respiratory infections (15, 16).
Caffeine for Shortness of Breath?? (12) Helps in asthmatic cases….
According to some studies, caffeine seems to relax the muscles of the airway in patients suffering from asthma and helps relieving dyspnea in this manner (12).
Using a Fan Helps with Shortness of Breath (10)
It is has been found that cool air helps a lot in alleviating shortness of breath. Use a hand-held fan and point it towards your face to help get rid of shortness of breath.
Inhaling Steam for Relieving Breathlessness Caused By Congested Nasal Passages (13)
Inhaling steam is a popular, old and effective home remedy to relieve shortness of breath by clearing the congested nasal passages thus making the breathing easier. The moisture and heat from the steam breaks down and dissolves the accumulated mucus in the lungs and this helps in reducing the shortness of breath.
For steam inhalation: Take a bowl full of hot water and add some drops of eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil. Hover your face over the hot water bowl and place a towel over your head to cover your head along with the bowl. Breathe in deeply through your nose inhaling the steam and get relief from dyspnea.
Lifestyle Modifications for Getting Rid of Shortness of Breath
- Avoid secondhand smoke and quit smoking ASAP to get rid of shortness of breath.
- When suffering from breathlessness, it is also important to avoid exposure to allergens, pollutants and other environmental toxins.
- If a person is overweight and suffers from shortness of breath, then losing the excess weight helps a lot in getting rid of shortness of breath.
- It is important to consult a doctor when suffering from any underlying health conditions that are responsible for breathlessness.
- Eat healthy food, exercise regularly, getting sufficient and sound sleep; all these healthy lifestyle changes help in relieving shortness of breath.
- Avoiding heavy exertion; especially at altitudes.
Always follow treatment plan given by your doctor for health issues, such as COPD, asthma or bronchitis that are causing your shortness of breath.
- Dyspnea on Exertion or Shortness of Breath on Exertion: Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis
- Dyspnea: What Can Make You Short of Breath?
- 8 Amazing Home Remedies for Dyspnea (Shortness of Breath)