While gravity-assisted positions (postural drainage) and the forced expiratory technique are known to promote sputum clearance, the additional value of percussion, vibratory-shaking and breathing exercises individually in chest physiotherapy is uncertain. These modalities have been evaluated in 8 patients with copious sputum production (mean: 44 g/day), using an inhaled radioaerosol technique. Tracheobronchial clearance was unaffected by the addition of either vibratory-shaking or percussion with and without breathing exercises to postural drainage. There was however a significant (p less than 0.01) increase in the dry weight of sputum produced during each of these treatments. The combination of postural drainage used in conjunction with the forced expiration technique is responsible for the majority of mucus mobilisation and should form the basis of routine chest physiotherapy programmes; the other modes appear to be of lesser value.