Coronavirus: UK doctor offers breathing technique advice to assist in alleviating COVID-19 symptoms

Dr Sarfaraz Munshi demonstrating the breathing technique.
Dr Sarfaraz Munshi demonstrating the breathing technique. Photo credit: YouTube/Neil Hester

A doctor in the UK has given some breathing technique advice to support those suffering COVID-19 symptoms - advice JK Rowling says helped with her recovery.

Rowling - the author of the famous Harry Potter series - shared a video to Twitter of Dr Sarfaraz Munshi, of the UK's Queen's Hospital, explaining the technique.

The author urged others to watch the video and to follow the advice.

"Please watch this doc from Queens Hospital explain how to relieve respiratory symptoms," Rowling said on Twitter.

"For [the] last 2 weeks I've had all symptoms of C19 (tho haven't been tested) & did this on doc [sic] husband's advice. I'm fully recovered & technique helped a lot."

Dr Munshi explains that the advice came from the hospital's director of nursing Sue Elliot.

The technique involves getting a "good amount" of oxygen into the bases of the lungs, Dr Munshi explains, which is critical when someone has developed an infection.

Although it won't cure COVID-19, Dr Munshi said the technique is used regularly with patients in intensive care to help alleviate symptoms.

"I want you guys to start doing this if you have the infection - right from the beginning," Dr Munshi said. "If you want to do it before you have an infection, good idea."

He said it works, first off, by taking five deep breaths in.

"Each time you'll hold your breath for five seconds," Dr Munshi said in the video originally posted to YouTube.

"On the sixth deep breath, you will take it in - cough and cover your mouth. You will do this twice.

"Then, you will lay flat on your bed with a pillow in front of you, taking slightly deeper breaths for the next 10 minutes because you've got to understand that the majority of your lung is on your back, not on your front. So, by lying on your back you're closing off more of the airways - the smaller airways - and this is not good during a period of infection."

The technique has been widely shared throughout the UK and abroad. It comes after revelations British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in critical care after testing positive for COVID-19

Johnson was admitted to hospital on Sunday (local time) as a "precautionary step" when his symptoms turned persistent 10 days after testing positive.