So, I saw and shared a video from a doctor and a nurse about a breathing exercise that can really help if you have Covid-19. The UK hospital doctor, Dr Sarfaraz Munshi, from Queens Hospital describes a vital breathing technique for coronavirus (Covid-19) sufferers that could prevent patients contracting secondary pneumonia which can prove incredibly dangerous to health. The original video can be found here on YouTube. Thanks to him, and also to Sue (the nurse that showed it to him)
In this post I am just writing out the instructions that Dr Munshi shares and clarifying a couple of points because I prefer to read things than watch a video. I believe that practicing breathing techniques when you don’t need them is useful, as your body is then familiar with what it is doing when you really do need it.
A pillow or cushion
- Sit comfortably, and upright (spine long) for the first steps. This might be sitting up on the bed, or propped up in bed or in a chair.
- Hold the breath for 5 seconds.
- Breathe out.
- Repeat steps 2-4 (Inhale, hold, exhale) five times.
- On the sixth breath, cover mouth and a big cough (You don’t want to share the virus)
- Repeat steps 2-6 a second time (Inhale, hold, exhale five times, then on the sixth breath a big cough).
- Lie down on your front and breathe for ten minutes. The pillow is to go under your chest, which encourages you to breathe towards the back of the body and gets the full lungs working and clearing.
My thoughts, suggestions, and things to consider
The above steps are my summary of what the doctor says in his video. Watching it with a couple of hats on (Yoga Teacher and Myofascial Release/Sports & Remedial Massage therapist) there are a couple of things I would add. However, when you are ill you may not feel like considering anything other than the above exercise.
- In the video the doctor becomes very light headed, he has been intentionally over-breathing. You are trying to get air (and the oxygen in it) into the full extent of your lungs, and this can send a surge of oxygenated blood to your brain that makes you feel dizzy. This is why I suggest sitting down to do it.
- Breath retention (holding your breath) is part of Pranayama (the Yogic breathing practices) and from experience it can feel a bit weird and can also make you feel light headed. The more you practice the less unfamiliar your body is with it. Also, 5 seconds is quite a long time to hold your breath.
- Breathing in through the nose tends to help the body use the full extent, and encourages diaphragmatic breathing which encourages the air into the whole of the lungs.
- Breathing in through the nose also helps to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (the so called Rest/digest) which helps to ease the adrenalin response (which interferes with the immune system).
- Placing your hands on your lowest ribs, either as in the first position of the Sharira Mudras or just a light self-hug will encourage you to breathe down into the lower portion of the lungs.
These considerations aside, if you are suffering from Covid-19 then do the exercise as best you can.
I hope that this information is helpful and if it helps one person survive I will be happy. I am not taking credit on this, please see the video.
Stay safe and well.
Stay at Home to help the NHS.