The COVID-19 pandemic has affected millions worldwide, with severe cases requiring hospitalization and respiratory support. One emerging exercise that has recently gained attention is self-proning, a simple yet effective way to improve patient breathing. Over its implementation in ICUs and Ventilation, ¾ of the patients fighting with serious respiratory discomfort caused by low oxygen level has remarkably reduced death rates. This article will explore how it can be performed safely at home.
Self-proning is a simple and effective technique that can help improve breathing. The method involves positioning the body, which can help improve oxygenation in the lungs by redistributing blood flow and reducing the pressure on the lungs. This technique has been used in hospitals for years to help patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), but it has gained renewed attention during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Step-by-step guide on how to perform self-proning at home:
Performing self-proning at home is a simple and effective technique that can help improve breathing. The self proning method is practised in four significant positions – belly down, left lateral, right lateral and back. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to perform self-proning:
1. Find a comfortable and safe place, enough to lie down, and place a mat on the floor.
2. Take a few pillows and place them in the positions:
Place 1 pillow below the legs (It can be removed in case of causing discomfort).
Place 3 -4 pillows depending on the thickness of the pillow, to support the pelvic or hip bone (Make sure it is not under the stomach).
Place 1 pillow below the head end to support the upper chest.
3. After taking the prone position, place your arms resting to support your chin or at your sides.
4. Relax and breathe slowly and deeply for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours at a time. You can change the position of your hands and head to comfort and reduce stress at every interval.
5. If you feel uncomfortable or experience tiredness, pain, oxygen saturation or pressure sores, raise your chest and practice the deep breathing exercise and get back to the prone position.
You may observe approximately 3-5% oxygen saturation level within 30 minutes. However, the minimum duration of this process can be 2 hours, and the maximum can be 4- 5 hours with different positions. After 2 hours of practising the prone position in the stomach direction, you can change it to a side lateral position.
Every position will show you variable results; observe yourself to understand which position brings you more oxygen saturation and practice that for a longer duration in the self proning process.
One must understand that self proning is not a magic bullet to reduce breathing difficulty. And it is neither a sure alternative to Oxygen Cylinder, Ventilator or ICU. This scientifically proven method can be easily performed at your home without any expenses. Self-proning provides temporary relief from low oxygen and emergencies to control respiratory discomfort.
In addition, there are some precautions and safety measures to keep in mind while performing self-proning; some of them are:
Self-proning is a non-invasive and low-cost technique that patients can use in their own homes. By promoting better oxygenation, self-proning can reduce the need for supplemental oxygen or mechanical ventilation and may even help prevent hospitalization. While self-proning is not a substitute for medical treatment, it can be a valuable option for patients to use in conjunction with other therapies recommended by their doctor.
In case of experiencing any breathing difficulty, you can consult the Pulmonology department to get the best possible cure.