Active Cycle of Breathing Technique (ACBT)

Active cycle of breathing technique (ACBT) combines different breathing techniques that help clear mucus from the lungs in three phases. The first phase helps you relax your airways. The second phase helps you to get air behind mucus and clears mucus. The third phase helps force the mucus out of your lungs.

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1. Breathing control
Breathing control helps relax the airways. You should breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth with very little effort. Use normal, gentle breathing with the lower chest while relaxing the upper chest and shoulders.

A good way to do this is to place one hand on your stomach as you breathe. Remember to breathe gently so you relax the airways. By using the pursed lip technique when breathing out (pursing your lips like you are kissing someone), you create back pressure in the airways that stents the airway open longer. Repeat breathing control for six breaths before moving to chest expansion exercises.

2. Chest expansion exercises
Breathe in deeply. (Some people use a three-second breath hold to get more air into smaller airways and behind the mucus.) Then breathe out without forcing the air out. This may be done with chest clapping or vibrating, followed by another cycle of breathing control.

3. Huffing or huff coughing
Also called forced expiration technique, huff cough at different, controlled lengths to move mucus up to the larger airways. This huffing should be repeated until all mucus has been huffed out of the lungs.

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