Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Elbow breathing for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Before starting any exercise program, talk to your health professional. They may ask that you do specific exercises and will help you decide how often and how long to do them.

Start an exercise slowly and gradually. Either keep track of how long you can do it or count the number of times you can do it before you are mildly out of breath. Then rest and move on to the next exercise. Each week, increase the time you spend doing each exercise or how many times you do each one.

Follow these steps to do the elbow breathing exercise:

  • Sit with your feet slightly apart.
  • Lift your elbows to shoulder level, and touch your fingertips in front of your chest.
  • Breathe in as you pull your elbows back so that your fingertips separate.
  • Breathe out as you return your elbows and fingertips to the original position.

Current as of: July 6, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Ken Y. Yoneda MD - Pulmonology
Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine
Tangi Williams RRT - Registered Respiratory Therapist