More and more people are suffering with chronically blocked noses. Not only is it annoying it is not good for health – mouth-breathing is associated with a range of dental issues, crowded teeth in children, and other health complaints such as frequent colds and flus and snoring.

Here is a simple exercise to try clearing a blocked nose:


  1. Sit on a straight-backed chair
  2. After a normal breath in and out, close your mouth (if it was open), and softly pinch the end of your nose to seal the nostrils.
  3. Gently and slowly nod your head up and down 6 – 8 times or until you feel a moderate to strong air hunger.
  4. Keep your mouth closed and take your hand off your nose, allowing the nostrils to open. Moving a finger from the nose pinch to over the lips can be a good reminder to keep the lips sealed at this point.
  5. Breathe softly and gently through your nose, while still keeping your mouth closed.
  6. Providing the nasal passages have opened slightly, continue to breathe gently through your nose.

Sometimes it can take a few runs through the exercise above before the nose will be totally clear. If that is the case for you, keep working on it. Breathe gently for a moment and then repeat the exercise. It can be repeated as often as necessary and several times consecutively in a short period with a few breaths in between if needed.

If the need arises to undertake the exercise discreetly (ie. because you are in a public place and don’t wish to look like a loon!) it can be performed in a modified manner: breathe out gently and hold your breath without pinching your nostrils and without nodding your head. You may need to repeat it several times to get the same effect.

So why does it work?

Carbon dioxide is a powerful dilator of airways. By holding your breath after you exhale you raise the level of carbon dioxide in the blood stream and this acts to open the airways in your nose. Nodding your head helps to move fluids around, making the exercise more effective.

If you need help getting your nose clear and keeping it clear, breathing retraining is a solution that many sufferers of blocked nose have found effective.