Attention note

In the event of acute occurrence of unusual symptoms, such as severe shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, or confusion, please get help, for example by calling the emergency number 144 (Switzerland).

These exercices can help in case of Shortness of breath

Pursed Lip Breathing

Pursed lip breathing helps when it is difficult to breathe in deeply, as well as in case of shortness of breath, air hunger, or when breathing is faster than usual.

Pursed lip breathing brings relief in many ways: it calms the breathing and keeps the bronchi open longer, which improves exhalation. Breathing becomes slower, calm, and relaxed and deeply breathing in becomes easier. Air hunger is satisfied, and anxiety can be brought under control.

Performed regularly, the pursed lip breathing technique can have a preventive effect and reduce shortness of breath episodes.


This is how it works:

  • Breathe in calmly, if possible, through your nose.
  • Pucker up your lips as if you were carefully blowing out a candle.
  • Let the air flow out evenly through the small gap between the loosely stacked lips. Make sure you breathe out at least two times longer than you breathe in.
  • Do not force your lungs to empty completely.
  • Repeat the technique as often as it feels good for you.


Here you will find a PDF on pursed lip breathing with instructions and illustrations. 

Here are some videos about pursed lip breathing (in French):  

soH - Positions de soulagements et respiration avec lèvre pincées

Ligue Pulmonaire Suisse : Souffler avec les lèvres, ça soulage. Sais-tu comment faire?

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Breathing training

Targeted breathing exercises can help with inner restlessness or in stressful situations. They ensure better ventilation of the lungs and give you inner peace and well-being.

For breathing training, choose a well-ventilated room or, even better, go outside. Whenever possible, inhale slowly through your nose and let the breath flow out through your nose in a relaxed and automatic manner (or via the lip brake).

Please do not practice on a full stomach.

Initially, perform the exercises at rest for two weeks at least once a day. After this first training phase, you can integrate the breathing exercises into everyday life and use them at any time in stressful situations.


The 3 breathing exercises at a glance:

  • The three-stage breathing - creates a reservoir of fresh life energy in the body.
  • Opening the chest - gives you rest and relaxation.
  • The change of breath - is good for the lungs and circulation, and is also suitable for inflammation of the airways, coughing, accumulation of mucus and oppression in the chest area.

Here you can find a PDF with instructions and illustrations for the breathing training.

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Active breathing cycle

The active breathing cycle helps with dry and irritable cough. But the exercise is also used for breath awareness and breath training. The active breathing cycle improves your lung ventilation and gently loosens the secretion produced so that you can cough it up. In addition, the exercise can reduce energy-sapping coughing attacks.

Repeat the three-step active breathing cycle several times a day for about 10 minutes. Suitable positions for this exercise are sitting and the side or prone position. The supine position is not suitable, as the lower lung areas are poorly ventilated in this position.

The active breathing cycle takes place in three steps:

Step 1: control breathing, perceive breathing
Step 2: deepen breathing
Step 3: breathing out/ "huffing"

Here you will find a PDF (in German, EN version follows shortly) with detailed information about the active breathing cycle.
Here you will find a video that shows the active breathing cycle.
Here you can find a video explaining "huffing" (in Dutch).

In a short video, the physio team of the Bürgerspital Solothurn shows and explains (in German) the breathing exercise for breath awareness and breath deepening.

Slow diaphragmatic breathing

In case of restlessness, palpitations, anxiety or panic, slow diaphragmatic breathing calms the nervous system by activating the parasympathetic. This nerve of the autonomic nervous system is responsible for calmness and serenity.

In addition, diaphragmatic breathing supports the heart in its activity and relieves it by slowing down the pulse.

We usually breathe too much in a state of excitement and stress. Doing so, we lose too much of the important gas carbon dioxide. All the muscles tense up and we get stressed and breathless. If we practice moving the diaphragm slowly and evenly, we get an optimal oxygen supply.

Here you can find a PDF (in German, EN version follows shortly) with detailed information and excercices for the diaphragmatic breathing. 

Altea Illustration Zwerchfell Online (1)
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