June 13, 2024

Respiratory Trainer: How Breathing Trainers Can Help Improve Lung Function

What is a Breathing trainer?

Respiratory trainers, also known as incentive spirometers, are portable medical devices used to improve breathing and lung function. They work by prompting the user to take slow, deep breaths which helps expand the lungs and prevents lung collapse.

Benefits of Using a Respiratory trainer

There are several benefits to using a Respiratory trainer on a regular basis:

Improved Lung Capacity

Taking slow, deep breaths using an incentive spirometer can help expand the lungs and increase their vital capacity over time. For patients with lung conditions, this increased capacity can mean improved oxygen delivery and stamina. Regular use promotes maximum inhalation to strengthen respiratory muscles.

Prevention of Atelectasis

Atelectasis is the collapse of alveoli in the lungs. It commonly occurs after surgery when deep breathing is limited. Breathing trainers encourage full inhalation to counteract atelectasis and reduce the risk of respiratory complications. Slow, controlled breaths help keep lung bases and posterior segments fully inflated.

Decreased Risk of Pneumonia

Poor lung expansion and collapse makes it easier for pathogens to accumulate in the lower airways and cause pneumonia. Breathing trainers minimize this risk by facilitating full inspiration and expression of secretions with each breath. This prevents mucus from accumulating, reducing the risk of infection.

Faster Recovery from Surgery or Illness

For patients recovering from thoracic surgery or respiratory illness, regular use of an incentive spirometer can speed healing time. It allows for full lung re-expansion sooner to restore normal function. Deep breathing also reduces postoperative pain and discomfort while promoting recovery.

Improved Exercise Tolerance

Inspiratory muscle training with a breathing trainer strengthens the diaphragm and intercostal muscles. Over time, this leads to improved stamina during physical activity. For patients with COPD or other lung diseases, it enhances their ability to be physically active.

How to Use a Breathing trainer Properly

Using an incentive spirometer correctly is important to maximize its benefits. Here are the proper steps:

1. Sit comfortably in an upright position, supported by pillows if needed. Good posture allows full expansion of the ribcage.

2. Place the mouthpiece between teeth and form a tight seal with lips. Hold the spirometer level or slightly elevated.

3. Inhale slowly and deeply through the mouth, focusing on fully filling the lower lungs first before finishing the breath. This takes 5-6 seconds.

4. Watch the spinning disc or bouncing ball indicator rise as lungs fill to the target level. Hold breath for 3-5 seconds.

5. Exhale slowly and naturally through pursed lips. This takes 5-6 seconds to fully empty the lungs.

6. Repeat 10-15 times per session, performing 2-3 sessions per day until fully recovered from illness or surgery.

Proper technique is important to effectively train the inspiratory muscles and expand all lung segments fully. Going too fast won’t allow full inhalation. Sessions should be comfortable without causing coughing or pain.

Types of Respiratory trainers Available

While all incentive spirometers work on the same principle, they vary in design:

– Basic Digital Spirometer: Features a digital display of inspiration volume inhaled.

– Analog Spirometer: Uses a spinning disc or sliding indicator to demonstrate depth of inhalation.

– Game Spirometer: Incorporates games or virtual rewards to motivate patients, especially children.

– PEP Therapy Device: Delivers positive expiratory pressure on exhalation to clear secretions.

– Feedback Spirometer: Provides real-time feedback on inspiratory flow rates and volumes inhaled.

Choosing the best type depends on the individual’s needs, abilities, and whether additional therapy like PEP is required. Portable models make adherence to home use more convenient.

In summary, regular respiratory training with an incentive spirometer can significantly improve lung function, recovery from lung illness or surgery, and exercise tolerance. Following proper technique a few times daily maximizes the benefits. They are a simple, low-cost therapy most patients can easily use at home to support lung health.


  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it