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Respiratory Physiotherapy: Benefits – Programs

Respiratory physiotherapy is a special branch and is performed by specially trained physiotherapists for the purpose of harmonious cooperation of the respiratory muscles, good ventilation of the lungs and good drainage of bronchial secretions.

Respiratory physiotherapy refers to the exercises and techniques used to relieve patients with chronic respiratory problems.

Patients with chronic respiratory diseases, face major breathing problems, even for performing small and easy movements, as well as intense stress.

The goals of respiratory physiotherapy are to improve pulmonary ventilation, increase endurance in patients with reduced respiratory capacity, and bronchial cleansing.

Specifically, respiratory physiotherapy is indicated in acute and chronic diseases of the respiratory system, in operated patients, in disorders of nervous respiratory control, in deformities of the chest and in disorders of respiratory function due to poor posture.


The physiotherapist is called upon to apply the techniques of respiratory physiotherapy in daily clinical practice, knowing that:

A) For the techniques of improving pulmonary ventilation and reducing respiratory work there is clear research evidence of their effectiveness.

B) For bronchial cleansing techniques, because not all bronchial clearance measuring instruments are valid, the evaluation of the effectiveness of the applied techniques is scientifically questionable.

The decision to choose the technique that the physiotherapist will choose, depends on many factors such as the patient’s history, clinical picture, laboratory test, time available and the patient’s ability but mainly on the goal we want to achieve. specific time for that particular patient.

For the physiotherapist it is important to know if the technique he decides to apply is more effective, with less cost of time and money, more understandable and in the long run more easily applicable by the patient himself.

These techniques are:

  • Proper Positioning: With proper positioning of the patient from supine to sitting position and gradually to the upright position, all lung tumors, capacities, and oxygen flow in the body’s airways increase.
  • Exercises for controlled breathing: Chest breathing, abdominal breathing and their combination are taught. In this way the synchronization of the movements of the chest and abdomen is achieved, increasing the pulmonary capacity and reducing the dead space.
  • Applying positive pressure to the body’s airways: This application is done with the use of various oxygen devices and achieves the temporary increase of lung tumors and the improvement of gas exchange.
  • Strengthening of the respiratory muscles: To strengthen the respiratory muscles, the intensity of the exercise should be high enough to achieve a result, its duration reaches 30 minutes and the frequency is up to three times a week.
  • Bronchial drainage with gravity and manipulations: Using gravity provides small results in bronchial cleansing, while clearly better results exist when bruises and vibrations are applied to the patient’s back and chest which is placed in different positions.
  • Technique of rapid exhalation: Cough removes foreign bodies or mucus from the upper respiratory tract. Thus, in cases where the patient can not cough, special tricks are adopted such as panting and flossing, which in combination with boredom and vibration help in bronchial cleansing.
  • Autogenous drainage: It is the combination of abdominal breathing together with chest expansion exercises that improves bronchial clearance and pulmonary ventilation.


The physiotherapist involved in respiratory physiotherapy should be informed in detail by the treating physician about the condition and precautions related to the patient’s problem. Then seeing the patient makes his own assessment, about his posture, chest shape, way of breathing, shortness of breath, cough, secretions and his general condition (color of face, lips, mental mood etc). So he implements a respiratory physiotherapy program suitable for the specific patient. In acute lung diseases in combination with drugs, it facilitates and accelerates the recovery of the patient while in chronic diseases it slows down the progression of the disease.

Serious daily problems of the respiratory system are COPD, asthma, chronic bronchial asthma, allergic asthma, pulmonary emphysema, pulmonary abscess, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

gonorrhea, atelectasis, pulmonary embolism and pneumonia. So with respiratory physiotherapy we can significantly improve many of the problems of the respiratory system whether it is the result of an illness or condition or due to anatomical changes, injuries, through the techniques of the physiotherapist and the aids to improve the respiratory capacity.

PhysioGalinos Rehabilitation Clinics have specialized physiotherapists on chronic respiratory problems as well as state-of-the-art equipment for immediate results. We also provide home support where necessary with portable special equipment.

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