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A few weeks ago I caught wind of a breathing device that looked very interesting.
It has been around since 1999 and a number of studies and white papers support its efficacy in improving breath control. Its users and advocates include musicians, doctors, athletes of all kinds, scuba divers and swimmers, and lung patients.
So, I decided to buy one on a fluke and check it out.
Called the PowerLung, it is a nifty device that gives measured resistance throughout the respiration cycle. It does this through what the company calls threshold resistance. It provides for a more consistent exercise experience.
When you breathe in and out through PowerLung, you are working against a threshold of resistance that is the same for every breath. You are not breathing through a restricted orifice where the load can be reduced just by changing the way you breathe.
The device has two large control dials for adjusting the inhalation and exhalation resistance levels independently. Inside each control dial lies the secret to the PowerLung – some type of control-flow valve that helps to keep the resistance consistent.
Fortunately, the company provides an 8-part video series on YouTube that gives very comprehensive instructions. One of the best – and I think the most important – video tips, advises you to not let pride get in the way of using the device and trick you into setting the levels too high.
This sample video from that series gives an overview of the product and its purpose.
Where and how do I buy one? Which model do I buy?
The most disappointing aspect of the PowerLung experience has nothing to do with the product itself, buy rather has to do with their web site.
Choosing which model that will work for you is not particularly easy. Sorting through the company web site and understanding the purchasing process is also a bit confusing.
First and most hard to image, their web site is not geared for e-commerce, online purchases.
In my own quest to buy a PowerLung, I was first channeled into a U.S. regional site, then after deciding on which model I wanted, I was forwarded to a local distributor’s web site where it could be ultimately purchased.
To compound the confusion there are seven different models to choose from. In addition to the four base models:
- Performer Series M422T
- Performer Series P617B
- Performer Series T343A
How I chose the BreatheAir model
Each model comes with fairly detailed description and so I was able to create a short list of three potential models to buy.
However, during the purchasing process the decision was made for me. I discovered that only one model was available for me to buy through the distributor and this is how I ultimately ended up with the yellow-colored BreatheAir model.
Fortunately for me, dumb luck was on my side and this model seems to be the right fit.
Training with PowerLung is very simple – it involves a 3-set routine, done twice daily.
- Inhale and exhale through the PowerLung (a repetition)
- Perform these repetitions 9 more times
- Take a short break
- Repeat these steps two more times for a total of 30 repetitions
That’s it. A two-minute routine, done twice every day.
Now the question that I am sure you are asking right now is, yeah but does it work?
After two weeks of owning and working with mine I would have to say that yes, it does work. However that being said, I could not tell you with any certainty what those changes and improvements are – at least not yet.
Within the first few days for example, my embouchure aperture felt strange – as if it were twice its normal size.
I chose to ignore that sensation, and after a week it felt normal again; I started to feel that indeed my breathing was smoother and more relaxed. I felt less fatigued over the long haul – especially at the very ends of the breath or at the very ends of phrases.
To me, this sensation – as well as other, less-tangible positives – was worth the high price and the hassle of how to select and buy one. The PowerLung ain’t cheap, but it sure is handy. Most important for me personally is that having it around has helped to keep on track for doing breathing exercises on a daily basis.
If you decide yourself to buy one, you will need to weigh out these options; namely, the high price and purchase hassle, against the device’s potential benefits.