From asthma to stress and fatigue... Could these gadgets help you breathe easy? trends now
We take an estimated 25,000 breaths a day, and mostly don't realise we're doing it. For some, it might not come as easily, though, due to asthma, for instance, or following surgery. But can products to improve lung function make a difference? ADRIAN MONTI asked experts to assess a selection, which we then rated.
30ml, £25, dropfx.com
CLAIM: This liquid supplement contains peppermint, coconut, monk fruit and wintergreen. Use the pipette provided to place a drop at the back of the tongue. This, the maker says, will instantly 'expand your airways' and 'boost oxygen flow and performance' to improve 'energy levels, clarity of mind and breathing efficiency'. Benefits 'last one to three hours'.
EXPERT VERDICT: Sucking a peppermint sweet can sometimes ease breathing if you have a cold or blocked nose, because the menthol it contains can act on receptors in the nose and sinuses to reduce mucus production, says Professor Pallav Shah, a consultant physician in respiratory medicine at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London.
'But I've not seen evidence of drops like these having any long-term impact. I think the maker is overselling the product by saying it will expand the airways and boost oxygen flow like this.' 2/10
Human beings take an estimated 25,000 breaths a day using our lungs
This liquid supplement contains peppermint, coconut, monk fruit and wintergreen
CLAIM: Worn between the chest and navel, this adjustable belt will 'reduce snoring, sleep apnoea, asthma, stress anxiety and other breathing issues', says the maker. It applies 'gentle resistance' so you breathe lighter than normal, and 'experience calmness throughout the day'. It can be worn while you work, exercise and sleep.
EXPERT VERDICT: Dr Simon Taggart, a consultant chest and general physician at Spire Manchester Hospital, says: 'I can see this belt has potential as a way of carrying out respiratory muscle training.
'Presumably it has some elasticity, so acts in the same way as a resistance band you might use at a gym; by slightly restricting your breathing, you're giving your lungs and respiratory muscles a workout.
'But for asthma, I would try a patient on inhalers rather than recommending a belt like this. Solely relying on this belt could make it worse.
'I can't see how it would help with sleep apnoea or snoring, as other mechanisms can play a part - for instance, blocked or narrowed airways.' 4/10
Tilcare Breathing Muscle Trainer
CLAIM: Inhaling and exhaling into this pipe-shaped plastic device, its maker says, will strengthen your diaphragm muscles and 'help increase the volume capacity of your lungs, which will allow you deep breathing and more oxygen to reach your blood'.
Its maker suggests using it for five minutes once a day, and says it offers respiratory support for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), for people who have suffered a stroke or have Parkinson's.
EXPERT VERDICT: 'This creates a degree of resistance when you breathe through it,' says Professor Shah. 'It could help people with chronic bronchitis or COPD, when the airways narrow causing breathlessness.
'It might help them bring up mucus secretions in the lungs more easily by strengthening their intercostal [rib] muscles.
'But I'm hesitant about it helping with asthma. This device wouldn't improve your lung capacity - which you cannot make physically larger. But, with regular use, it could make your lungs more efficient by strengthening the diaphragm. I don't think it's worth buying as it will make only a small difference - unlike, for example, stopping smoking.' 5/10
CLAIM: The maker says this device (which consists of a tube attached to small, clear plastic box with three chambers) 'helps maintain lung capacity and function after periods of inactivity' by encouraging deep breathing. Breathing forcefully into the mouthpiece causes a small plastic ball in each chamber to 'float'. Use it after heart or lung surgery and 'the quality of your breathing will improve'.
EXPERT VERDICT: 'Studies have shown these types of devices - where you breathe in or out against a resistance - are very effective,' says Dr Taggart. 'Using one for about ten minutes a day for 12