Things One Should Know About Respiratory Muscle Training Device
In ancient Eastern culture, Qigong is the source of breathing exercises that uses inhaling techniques while focusing on mindfulness. As per the legends, Qigong masters used to have extraordinary powers like moving objects without touching them, lifting heavy weights, evading fatal injuries, and curing deadly illnesses such as cancer! Although these outlandish claims are not supported by modern science, breathing exercises boost the health and function of the respiratory muscles (diaphragm, intercostal muscles, and abdominals). Companies have launched Respiratory Muscle Training devices commercially to capitalize on the popularity of breathing exercises. Let’s explore more about RMT and the pulmonary training device.
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What is Respiratory Muscle Training (RMT)?
Respiratory Muscle Training (RMT) is a technique that uses specialized exercises to improve the function of the respiratory muscles. IMT, in particular, has been proven to improve respiratory and inspiratory muscle strength, which may reduce dyspnea during exertion.
RMT is mainly meant for people with respiratory disorders such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and COPD. However, many people practice RMT as part of their athletic training. It has also been reported to be beneficial for people suffering from various conditions like stroke/CVA, spinal cord injury, and Fontan physiology.
What is a respiratory muscle training device?
Respiratory training devices (RTDs) are often promoted as “dumbbells for the diaphragm. These devices are quite popular among athletes. This device claims excellent benefits, such as improved anaerobic (lactate) threshold, more effective breathing, and higher vital capacity (maximum air inhaling). Often looking like inhalers, a pulmonary training device is designed to make breathing more challenging to strengthen the lung muscles. This device is used to exercise muscles such as the diaphragm and the intercostals through breathing in and out of the device.
Also, studies have found that practicing breathing techniques can lower blood pressure and enhance the quality of life for healthy people and those dealing with chronic ailments.
Types of respiratory muscle training devices
Respiratory muscle training devices are generally divided into three types-
Passive flow-resistance devices
While using these Passive flow-resistance devices, users need to choose a resistance level (tube width) at the start of the set, which stays constant for the duration of the exercise.
Dynamically adjusted flow resistance devices
With each breath, these devices automatically change the resistance level. The diameter of the tube changes as the person breathes in and out, offering dynamic resistance.
Pressure threshold valve devices
This type of pulmonary training device requires the user to produce a predefined breathing pressure to open and close a valve. Simply put, the valve won’t open until someone takes a sufficient vital breath in or out. The intensity is, therefore, customizable and measurable and ensures that the respiratory muscles are saturated to the optimum threshold.
For people with a condition that particularly impacts respiratory function, breathing exercises (device or non-device) have various advantages. Breathing exercises may reduce the feeling of unpleasant feelings (breathlessness and fatigue) when engaging in daily activities or exercise. Respiratory muscle training does not pose any significant risks. However, people with hypertension, cardiovascular illness, or generalized anxiety disorder should still exercise caution because resistive breathing may result in unforeseen repercussions (e.g., a rise in blood pressure, often causing a panic attack).