Glossopharyngeal Breathing

Hi everyone! Thanks for sticking with me on my post series for the pulmonary rehab toolbox! In my post on V/Q matching I talked a little bit about the use of dynamic hyper inflation techniques including glossopharyngeal breathing. This is a technique that we typically utilize for patients who have spinal cord injuries or other damage to the nerves or systems that interact with the diaphragm.

This is one of a couple different dynamic hyperinflation techniques that can be utilized to reinflate alveoli that have been collapsed for a number of reasons (like alveolar collapse from ARDS). I like this technique particularly because it requires no extra equipment! Dynamic hyperinflation can be achieved other mechanical ways, using different settings on ventilators and other devices (like NIPPV), but this one can be done in the home setting or in any setting that doesn’t have the special equipment to achieve hyperinflation otherwise.

This can also be coupled with segmental breathing techniques in an attempt to target specific segments of collapsed alveoli. Check out this video on her glossopharyngeal breathing is performed!

Please use this technique with caution in people who have obstructive lung conditions. Remember, some people need to get air out (obstructive), and others need to get more air in (restrictive). As we learned in the V/Q matching post, COVID-19 presents as a restrictive disease.

Here is a more official video on GPB instruction with some other techniques you can utilize to facilitate this.

What are some other techniques you like to use for patients with restrictive lung diseases? Let me know in the comments!


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