They’ve named songs, movies, mindfulness programs and even cosmetics after this phrase, but for Port Macquarie physiotherapist Mehrnoosh Alipanahi, ‘just breathe’ is more a matter of life and death.
In her clinical practice at 2 Rehab You, Mehrnoosh works with patients to help them develop better coping strategies for breathlessness and teaches them how to manage their symptoms to prevent them worsening.
She also offers gentle group classes to eligible clients to help improve their heart and lung function, while meeting new people and having a COVID-safe social connection.
Mehrnoosh has a master degree in cardiorespiratory physiotherapy and a keen interest in chronic disease management. She also works as a senior physiotherapist providing cardiorespiratory rehabilitation at Kempsey Hospital and has previously worked in aged care settings.
As a Lungs in Action instructor, Mehrnoosh offers a maintenance program coordinated by Lung Foundation Australia. It is designed for people suffering from chronic lung disease and heart failure.
‘My focus is to re-educate patients about their condition and help them to understand their limitations,’ she said.
‘I encourage them to participate actively during their treatment course, which includes supervised exercise in tandem with other medical treatments.’
Mehrnoosh says breathlessness can be a very frightening condition to live with. Her treatment approach is both mental and physical.
‘Breathing occurs automatically throughout our life, however it can go out of natural rhythm. Breathing retraining is the technique that I utilise to help my patients understand there is still some voluntary control on the rhythm of breathing that can be retrained to improve breathlessness,’ she said.
‘Even though you might not think it, gentle daily physical exercise can help a patient with a chronic lung condition greatly. In addition to exercises, in some cases, relaxation and nasal breathing can also be used to improve and reduce the perception of breathlessness.
‘At my clinic I work with people of all ages and diverse cultural backgrounds to help improve both their physical and mental wellbeing and live a healthier life.
‘I have found that this approach generally has a very positive effect on a patient’s quality of life.’
Keeping fit and healthy is a high personal priority for Mehrnoosh.
‘My spare time belongs to my family and exercise. I go Zumba dancing regularly and love it. I’m also at the gym three times a week,’ she said.
‘On weekends my husband and I just enjoy all the benefits of being in such a beautiful place as Port Macquarie. There is always plenty to do!’
2 Rehab You is located at 3/4 Flynn Street, Port Macquarie.