Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises

Original Editor - Ahmed Essam Top Contributors - Ahmed Essam, Hing Long Yip and Kim Jackson


Diaphragmatic breathing is intended to help you use the diaphragm correctly while breathing to:

  1. Strengthen the diaphragm.
  1. Decrease the work of breathing by slowing your breathing rate.
  2. Decrease oxygen demand.
  3. Use less effort and energy to breathe.

Diaphragmatic breathing technique

1)Lie on your back on a flat surface or in bed, with your knees bent and your head supported. You can use a pillow under your knees to support your legs. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage. This will allow you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe

2)Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach moves out against your hand. The hand on your chest should remain as still as possible


3)Tighten your stomach muscles, letting them fall inward as you exhale through pursed lips (see "Pursed Lip Breathing Technique"). The hand on your upper chest must remain as still as possible.



COPD Foundation. What is COPD? Accessed 4/11/2019.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Accessed 4/11/2019.