The effect of physiotherapy-based breathing retraining on asthma control

J Asthma. 2011 Aug;48(6):593-601. doi: 10.3109/02770903.2011.587583. Epub 2011 Jun 13.


Background: The mechanism of the breathing retraining effect on asthma control is not adequately based on evidence.

Objective: The present study was designed to evaluate the effect of physiotherapy-based breathing retraining on asthma control and on asthma physiological indices across time.

Study design: A 6-month controlled study was conducted. Adult patients with stable, mild to moderate asthma (n = 40), under the same specialist's care, were randomized either to be trained as one group receiving 12 individual breathing retraining sessions (n = 20), or to have usual asthma care (n = 20). The main outcome was the Asthma Control Test score, with secondary outcomes the end-tidal carbon dioxide, respiratory rate, spirometry, and the scores of Nijmegen Hyperventilation Questionnaire, Medical Research Council scale, and SF-36v2 quality-of-life questionnaire.

Results: The 2 × 4 ANOVA showed significant interaction between intervention and time in asthma control (F = 9.03, p < .001, η(2) = 0.19), end-tidal carbon dioxide (p < .001), respiratory rate (p < .001), symptoms of hypocapnia (p = .001), FEV1% predicted (p = .022), and breathlessness disability (p = .023). The 2 × 4 MANOVA showed significant interaction between intervention and time, with respect to the two components of the SF-36v2 (p < .001).

Conclusion: Breathing retraining resulted in improvement not only in asthma control but in physiological indices across time as well. Further studies are needed to confirm the benefits of this training in order to help patients with stable asthma achieve the control of their disease.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Asthma / psychology
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Dyspnea / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hyperventilation / diagnosis
  • Hypocapnia / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange / physiology
  • Quality of Life
  • Respiratory Rate / physiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Carbon Dioxide