Active Cycle of Breathing Techniques

Breathing control

Breathing control is breathing gently allowing your tummy to rise and fall. 

Breathe in gently through your nose and out through your mouth.

Gradually try to make the breaths slower and relax your shoulders (if you find this difficult, turn your palms to the ceiling).


Deep Breathing Exercises

Take a long, slow, deep breath in, through your nose if you can. Try to keep your chest and shoulders relaxed.

Breathe out gently and relaxed, like a sigh.

Repeat for 3-5 deep breaths.

Try holding your breath for about 2-3 seconds at the end of the breath in and adding a small sniff to increase lung expansion.



A huff is exhaling through an open mouth and throat instead of coughing. It helps move sputum up your airways so that you can clear it in a controlled way. 

To ‘huff’, squeeze air quickly from your lungs, out through your open mouth and throat, as if you were trying to mist up a mirror or your glasses.


Supported cough

It important after surgery that you are able to cough effectively.

Huffing may clear your sputum, however if you need to cough it is important to support your tummy while doing it.


You will be given a cough cushion to help support your muscles and the physios will teach you the best way to use this.