Every breath you take…

Physiotherapists with a special interest in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation know deep breathing helps!

Simphiwe* is in intensive care in hospital, recovering from major abdominal surgery yesterday afternoon.

Even shallow breathing hurts; the idea of sitting upright seems an impossible dream. But her physiotherapist is here to help her recover.

You have to breathe – 12 to 16 times a minute – to keep your healing tissues supplied with oxygen. And a good deep breath about ten times an hour will speed recovery and make you feel better, the physiotherapist explains, as she shows Simphiwe some deep breathing exercises, gently encouraging her and steadying her with one arm. “We’ll have you sitting up and walking around in no time!”

Abdominal surgery can make coughing difficult, making it difficult to clear your mucus. Breathing is one thing physiotherapists with an interest in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation focus on, to ensure fast recovery; they will also work on getting patients up and moving as soon as possible to maintain cardiovascular health.

Every move you make…

Physiotherapists with a special interest in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation help patients get going after heart attacks or surgery

“Cardiac rehab doesn’t change your past, but it can help improve your heart’s future,” says the American Heart Association.

Daniel* already had a scarred heart from a heart attack when he had heart bypass surgery; his physiotherapist, who had done special courses on cardiopulmonary (heart/lung) rehabilitation, knew it was essential to get him up and moving as fast as possible, to ensure the best possible outcomes. Less than 48 hours after surgery, Daniel’s physio helped him to sit up, and his next target was walking round the room. Very soon he was taking his first steps down the hallway, with his physio by his side, one hand gently guiding him, his voice coaching Daniel on how to use sore chest muscles to remain steady.

The body is designed to move; physiotherapists have the training and experience to get you past bed rest and back to health!

Every step you take…

Physiotherapists with a special interest in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation can help you breathe freely

For some people, the struggle to breathe is a real obstacle to full enjoyment of life, to stepping out in the confidence that their lungs won’t let them down. People who face this daily struggle might have emphysema, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), like Sean*.

Sean consulted a physiotherapist who has topped up her four-year university degree with extensive courses in cardio pulmonary rehabilitation. “Physiotherapists are recognized as playing an important role in the management of patients with respiratory disease,” according to the prestigious Cochrane Review. “They use a variety of strategies aimed at reducing the work of breathing, improving ventilation, increasing function and enabling relief of dyspnoea.”

Sean’s physio also used the well-established technique of breathing exercises to help him tolerate exercise better and improve his ability to function normally. Now he’s taking steps to a better life, thanks to physiotherapy!

Every night you stay…

Physiotherapists with a special interest in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation will help you get out of bed!

When Alice* came home after an illness that had put her in intensive care on a ventilator for more than a week, her husband, her mother and her aunts kept urging her to “Stay in bed, rest!” But thanks to a chat she’d had with a physiotherapist in hospital who had helped her with passive exercise while she was bed-bound, Alice knew that was the worst thing she could do. Yes, she was feeling weak: prolonged bed rest (especially with ventilation) has been shown to result in skeletal muscle weakness. But the solution was more activity, not less.

Alice consulted a physiotherapist with a special interest in cardio pulmonary rehabilitation, who had extensive training in the field, and gradually built up her tolerance for exercise. Now she’s out of bed and functional 16 hours out of 24…

Every single day…

Physiotherapists with a special interest in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation will help you avoid serious illness

Hospitals… not the ideal holiday resort! Nobody wants to go to hospital; to avoid them, consult a physiotherapist with a special interest in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation. They’ve added to their four years of university medical training by doing extensive courses on looking after the heart and lungs, so they are full of cutting edge info on how to avoid and manage conditions like high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders.

Consult your physiotherapist to get advice and exercise prescriptions which are tailor-made to your individual physical condition and constraints, and will help you steer clear of hospitals!

*All names changed to protect identities.