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What is percussion?

Percussion is a manual technique used by respiratory physiotherapists to help clear the chest of secretions (phlegm). The physiotherapist will apply a rhythmical clapping motion upon the chest wall with a cupped hand to loosen the secretions from the sides of the lungs. The technique is applied over a towel to ensure it does not feel uncomfortable.

Active cycle of breathing exercises supervised by a specialist therapistAbove: Active cycle of breathing exercises supervised by a specialist therapist

Usually used in combination with active cycle breathing techniques, or coupled with positioning in those who are unable to actively participate in active controlled breathing exercises.

What are the benefits of percussion?

Percussion is used to help clear secretions which will significantly decrease the risk of developing a chest infection. Percussion also has a number of other benefits:
  • Can be used in combination with other respiratory physiotherapy techniques
  • Can be applied with the patient in a number of suitable positions
  • Can be carried out during suction to increase the volume of secretions removed
  • Effective in increasing lung volumes
  • Can provide relief to patients who are acutely breathless
  • In some cases, can be used with no active input from the patient

Who would benefit from percussion?

Percussion is beneficial as a manual physiotherapy technique to help removal of secretions in a number of conditions, these include: Percussion is particularly beneficial in patients with the above conditions who are unable to partake in active breathing techniques due to lack of muscle strength, fatigue or comprehension.

If you are currently struggling with a respiratory condition and would like to find out if respiratory physiotherapy may be beneficial to you, call today on 0330 088 7800 to arrange an assessment. You can also book appointments online using our online booking system

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