Approaches to Rehabilitation

Unique Approaches to COPD Rehabilitation

Approaches to COPD

There is no question that pulmonary rehabilitation is an extremely effective treatment for people with COPD. Programs usually include exercise and education but we are always looking for new and interesting ways to reduce symptoms and improve outcomes for our patients. We have conducted several reviews of alternative types of treatment. Unfortunately, we were unable to draw any conclusions from the studies done about mindfulness because they are all very different. However, yoga has shown promising effects on exercise capacity and quality of life in people with chronic diseases, and some studies show that active video games result in heart rates and shortness of breath levels that are similar to traditional (treadmill or cycle) exercise training. We have also conducted studies of one-legged compared to two-legged cycling in people with COPD and we found that using one leg only leads to greater improvements in aerobic fitness, exercise capacity and quality of life and that it can be incorporated into traditional pulmonary rehabilitation as a safe alternative to two-legged cycling. We have also examined the feasibility of a dance program in people with COPD. The program, which consisted of 1-hour dance classes delivered twice a week for 8 weeks, was feasible and safe to deliver with high participants’ satisfaction.  
Take home message: Exercise is an important part of pulmonary rehabilitation but we are always looking for new and alternative methods of exercise that may be effective for our patients. Yoga, active video games, one-legged cycling and dance are non-traditional types of exercise that may have training effects for our patients.     


Video Games 
One-legged Cycling