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Active cycle of breathing technique

A three-stage process for clearing sputum

1: Relaxed breathing

The first stage: The process is gentle and rhythmic and a hand on the chest may help. (note that the lungs, at the point of full in-breath, diffuse the gas exchange of oxygen from alveoli into the blood vessels and, similarly, carbon dioxide diffuses back into the alveoli when gas pressure is lowest and the lungs are contracting).

2: Deep breathing

Also called 'thoracic expansion': Deep breathing includes holding the breath for a second or two (where possible) to encourage diffusion. After deep breathing, a few more relaxed breaths are recommended before continuing to the third 'huff' stage.

3: The huff

The critical stage: The huff is the point when the sputum is released, however if release is only partially successful, simply relax and repeat the three steps.. it is a process and not a test!