active cycle breathing technique

Active Cycle Breathing Technique

Feel like there’s something stuck deep down in your lungs which coughing can’t seem to clear? Or getting sore muscles from coughing?

A technique called Active Cycle Breathing could be the answer to moving the stuck secretions out of your lungs without the strain of repetitive coughing.

This technique is useful for those with chronic lung conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, as well as those with an acute or new lung infection resulting in an increase in sputum production.

What is it?

Active Cycle of Breathing Technique is a number of actions performed in a series to help move secretions stuck in the lungs. The key components are:

  1. Breathing Control: Relax the airways
    This phase involves doing a related normal breathing pattern. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. Breathe deeply, focussing on expanding your belly. Placing your hand on your stomach can assist with this expansion.
  2. Thoracic Expansion: Fill the base of the lungs with air
    This phase involves taking large, slow breaths filling the whole of the lungs. The breath should be held for a couple of seconds and then exhaled. Approximately 5 deep breaths should be taken.
  3. Forced Expiratory Technique: Clear the secretions from the lungs
    There are 2 methods for this – a huff or a cough. Try the Huff: form a circle with your lips and breathe out like you’re trying to fog up a mirror. The exhalation should be quick and short. This is the gentler technique and can help stop strain from excessive coughing.

For more information, or if you are interested in learning how we can help you manage your pain or an injury, call us on 1300 012 273 or head to