Breathing Exercises of Alexandra Strelnikova

Basic idea:

Any degree of  Asthma causes  problems  with physical exercises, as they can cause attack. At the other hand, absence of exercises aggravate asthma as frequency of respiratory infections increases. Solution of this paradox - exercise that specifically develops muscles and blood vessels associated with respiratory apparatus (as well as cardiac), but (!) does not cause and in fact can stop an ongoing attack as it prevents hyperventilation by applying stress on the lungs during breath in and using increased air resistance due to strictly nasal fast breath in or "sniff". Clinical trials show that regular practicing of exercise reduces frequency of attacks, and can completely eliminate chronic infection caused asthma. It also benefits allergy caused asthma by strengthening breathing apparatus as well as through keeping the nose clean and developing strong habit of nasal breathing, that reduces exposure to allergens 3 times. Exercise is very easy to learn, and is therefore specifically helpful for children.

Personal experience?
  I had great results with this gymnastic solving my 4 years old daughters respiratory problems including chronic cough, wheezing, night attacks of shortness of breath needing a bronchodilator (doctor identified possible asthma and prescribed 6 month of steroid treatment!). Since we started exercising once a day (I am doing it too) there was none of the above symptoms for already 6 month and counting (thanks God). Having this amazing results without any medications(having well known side effects) I felt compelled to translate the self-learning guide to English, as everybody can easily learn it from simple description as I did and start using it right away with assured positive effect. For visual learners, here is a link to a video that I and my daughter prepared, to make learning even easier:

This breathing
exercise have been developed by Alexandra Severovna Strelnikova, and further developed by her daughter Alexandra Nikolaevna Strelnikova and their follower Michail Shetinin. Original application was for restoring of the voice for singers but later it has been shown that method is effective for treatment and prophylactic of wide range of respiratory illnesses, in particular asthma, tuberculosis and chronic bronchitis. Main idea of the exercises is to exert a strong nasal breath-in (sniff) while compressing the lungs by a simultaneous straining of different muscles (see here for more basic concepts ).

Self-learning guide:
Description of all 12 exercises sufficient for self-learning is here.

Other resources:

short summary in English is here.


Description of first 3 exercises is given here, but I am not a fan of the translation quality:


General approach

Here is the general idea that applies to each of 12 exercises:








If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact me, though I am not an expert but it looks like you don't need to be one to have good effect from this exercise. 



Short description of all exercises, sufficient for self-learning

Below is short descriptions of all twelve exercises, described after M. Shetinin's descriptions and a bit of own experience.
Thanks for sketch images.


(1) Palms:

Stand straight, bend hands with elbows down, showing your palms forwards towards an imaginary viewer in front of you. Make short loud sniffs while strongly and forcefully "grabbing" air with your fingers, forming a fist. When making a break between each 4 (or 8 or 16 sniffs, depending on your preference) lower and relax your hands.


(2) Shake off hands:
shake off

Stand straight, place hands on the level of your belt, fingers are pressed in a fist. Make a short strong sniff, while pushing your fist down and backwards, as if shaking something off your hands. Return hands to the belt level and repeat.


(3) Pump:

Stand straight with feet a bit wider then shoulders. Lean slightly forwards as you hands push down as if pressing a ball on the floor. Palms reach about the level of knees. Sniff at the end of the movement (imitating the air coming out of the ball you are pushing, or as if you are pumping a bicycle tire).


(4) Cat:

Stand straight, feet on shoulder width. Make dance-like sitting down with simultaneous turn of upper-body and hands to the right as if catching something. At the end of movement, when you catch - sniff. Repeat same to the left.


(5) Hug the shoulders:

Stand straight with hands up on the level of your shoulders and bent so that they make together a square. Move strongly both hands towards each other until they make together a triangle - at the end of the movement sniff. At the moment of movement head can swingh slightly backwards.


(6) Hug and push:
push hug

Stand straight with feet a bit wider then shoulders. Lean slightly forwards as you hands push down as if pressing a ball on the floor. Palms reach about the level of knees. Sniff at the end of the movement (imitating the air coming out of the ball you are pushing). So far it is same as exercise (3). Now straighten up and make "Hugging" also with the sniff when hands reach "triangle" position. Repeat while counting sniffs in 4 portions.


(7) Head turns:

Stand straight, feet on shoulder width. Turn head left - sniff at the end of movement, then right - sniff and the end of movement. Don't stop in the middle, only at the right and left end of the turn. Only head turns, body is not moving.


(8)Touch shoulders with ears (I call it "surprised dog")

Stand straight, feet slightly narrower then shoulder width. Lean the head right so that ear almost touches the shoulder. Sniff at the end of movement. Repeat to the left.


(9) Up and downs

Stand straight, feet slightly narrower then shoulder width. Lean head forwards (facing floor) - sniff. Lean head backwards (facing ceiling) - sniff. Note that in all exercises sniff does not come after the movement, but simultaneously with last phase of the movement and finishing together with the movement as if caused by the movement.


(10) Rolling

Stand so that left foot is forwards and straight, right foot is backwards and bent (as if in rapire fighting position). Place the weight on left foot.

Now slightly sit down on left foot, bending it as if dancing. Simultaneously with end of the movement make sniff. Now move weight on the right foot (which is place backwards) and slightly sit on it, bending it more and making sniff at the end of movement. Repeat both movement while counting sniffs.


(11) Up-kicks:


(see left image)
Stand straight, feet slightly narrower then shoulder width. Pull up left foot, bend in the knee, so that knee reaches the level of the abdomen.

From the knee down the foot is straight, pull the toe forward as in ballet. In the same time slightly sit down on the right foot and make strong short audible sniff. Get both feet completely straight for a moment. Repeat same with right foot up so that knee reaches abdomen, while sitting down slightly on left knee and sniffing. Upper body remains straight.


(12) Back-kicks:
(see right image above)

Stand straight, feet slightly narrower then shoulder width. Move left foot, bend in the knee, backwards as if kicking yourself on the bottom with the sole. Simultaneously slightly sit-down on the right foot and make a short strong sniff. Get both feet completely straight for a moment, than repeat same with opposite foot.


Short summary of one of the clinical trials in childrens hospital (Russian):


Short summary of test and results:

participated 70 children, most with middle degree and 5 with

severe asthma

- 7 children were treated in clinical setting and 62 received

6 lessons once a week with 1.5 hr duration and otherwise were

exercising at home. Observations were performed during 2 month.

- 12 did not finish the course

- Results were evaluated by spirometry and symptoms dynamic

- After the end of test 58 children exhibited reduced number of attacks,

reduction of cough and improved nasal breathing

- No cases of atack induced by exercise observed.

Spirometric data: for 50 children has been observed positive dynamic

- Average in the after-attack period before the treatment

FVC 89

FEV1 81

After treatment

FVC 100

FEV1 95

- Average in the non-agravation period before treatment

FVC 101

FEV1 99

After treatment

FVC 110

FEV1 014

Specialysignifican increase is observed in PEP and FEF25, characterizing

reduction of obstruction in large bronchs.

Overal evaluation: positive result, method is recomended for use as part

of complex treatment of children with bronchial asthma.


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