Hayfever and Rhinitis Clinic of Ireland


The following exercise as described by Patrick McKeown will temporarily free your nose even when you have a heavy cold. It is only when your Control pause is greater than thirty seconds, will you be permanently free. Be sure not to take the breath in through your mouth after the breath hold.

Unblocking the nose

How to unblock the nose:

Sit upright on a straight-backed chair

Take a small breath in through your nose, if possible, and a small breath out. If you are unable to take a breath in through your nose, take a tiny breath. in through the corner of your mouth

Pinch your nose and hold your breath. Keep your mouth closed.

Gently nod your head or sway your body until you feel that you cannot hold your breath any longer. (Hold your nose until you feel a relatively strong need for air.)

When you need to breathe in, let go of your nose and breathe gently through it, in and out, with your mouth closed. Avoid taking a deep breath when you breathe in, and calm your breathing as soon as possible by focusing on relaxation. Repeat to yourself “relax and breathe less”.

Continue to do this exercise until you can breathe through your nose fully. If your nose does not become totally unblocked, wait about two minutes and perform this exercise again. Initially you may need to do this a number of times before your nose is completely unblocked. This is yet another case of ‘practice makes perfect’.

Unblock Nose Naturally

After doing this exercise a few times your nose will be unblocked. If you continue to overbreathe, or take a deep breath, you will lose the additional carbon dioxide and your nose will become blocked again. Perform this exercise each time that your nose becomes blocked. Even if you have a cold, make sure to breathe through your nose. You may think you can't clear your nose when you have a heavy cold, but you can.

When the switch is first made from mouth to nasal breathing, the volume of air being inhaled will reduce. The body may begin to play tricks and convince individuals to breathe more by inducing yawning, sighing, regular sniffing or the odd mouth breath. Try not to increase breathing at this point.

When the need to deep breathe arises, for example during a sigh, swallow immediately. If the need to yawn also occurs, avoid taking the deep breath that accompanies a yawn. Instead stifle the yawn by keeping the mouth closed, or swallow.

It takes just a few days for a habitual mouth breather to change breathing to permanent nose breathing. Increasing observation of breathing, reducing volume of breathing and practising nose unblocking exercises are important elements in trying to make this change.

After the change to nasal breathing has been made, it will become uncomfortable to mouth breathe because the effects of cold dry air entering through the mouth will be felt. Often people begin to wonder how on earth they managed to go through life with a permanent, and very uncomfortable, blocked nose a condition which is frequently, and usually unsuccessfully, addressed by the use of nasal sprays, decongestants or even an operation.

Nasal remedy

Those suffering constant nasal congestion and inflammation should practise nose unblocking exercises but also wash out the nose daily with the following remedy ? especially those who have become dependent on nasal sprays.

Dissolve half a teaspoon of good quality (celtic or Himalayan) sea salt in one pint of boiled water and let it cool. Cup the warm salt water into the hand and sniff the water up into the nose one nostril at a time (with the other nostril blocked). Do this a number of times. This is a traditional remedy which also works well for sinus problems.