Date of Award

Summer 1982

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Fourteen research studies dealing with the physiological effects of diaphragmatic breathing on persons with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease(COPD) were reviewed. Accounts from the 1950's to the present were put into one of three categories: diaphragmatic breathing effect during rest; diaphragmatic breathing effect on distribution during rest; and diaphragmatic breathing effect during exercise. Accounts earlier than 1950 were excluded from the review because little attempt was made to evaluate physiologically the effect of diaphragmatic breathing. The findings of the studies reviewed were conflicting. However, three conclusions can be drawn from the review: diaphragmatic breathing at rest produces positive physiological effects in the majority of persons with COPD, though not necessarily statistically significant effects; diaphragmatic breathing at rest does not change the distribution of ventilation in the person with COPD; and diaphragmatic breathing during exercise has shown positive physiological effects, statistically significant in persons with COPD. Recommendations for the future include the replication of studies for simple or construct validity and the use of reliable and valid measurement tools in the studies. If this is done, a research-based innovation protocol could be established for the use of diaphragmatic breathing in the treatment of persons with COPD.



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