Online Course
Dysfunctional Breathing
Enhance your clinical outcomes with an understanding of how to recognise and treat breathing pattern disorders

3-4 hours





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Dysfunctional breathing is defined as chronic or recurrent changes in breathing patterns that cause significant respiratory and non-respiratory complaints. Around 10 percent of people are diagnosed with hyperventilation syndrome. However, many more individuals have subtle, but clinically significant breathing pattern disorders (BPD). Symptoms of BPDs are varied and can mimic serious illnesses, including cardiovascular disease. They have also been linked to musculoskeletal complaints, including back pain and pelvic issues, as well as anxiety. Having an understanding of BPDs is, therefore, essential for physiotherapists to ensure that we can effectively manage this condition.


This course aims to provide you with an understanding of the assessment and treatment of breathing pattern disorders, so that you can recognise and effectively manage clients who present with this condition.


This course is made up of videos, reading, discussions and a final quiz. The course content is split into the following sections:

  1. Section One: Defining Dysfunctional Breathing
  2. Section Two: Assessing for Dysfunctional Breathing
  3. Section Three: Treating Dysfunctional Breathing

Target audience

This course is aimed at Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy professionals, clinicians and students.


Availability - this course is online and can be completed on your own schedule.

This course is divided into 4 sections and it is suggested (but not required) that each section be completed over the duration of approximately a week. Please note that no deadlines are applied and this course can be started and completed according to your own schedule. We expect the required elements of each section/week to take around 3-4 hours depending on your schedule and learning style. Additionally there are many optional resources provided and if you choose to review these the course could take longer to complete.

It’s not going to be easy, we’ll expect you to work hard for your completion certificate and Plus points! You won’t be sitting back and watching webinars, we’ll expect you to reading tasks, complete quizzes, perform literature searches and other learning activities. You’ll need to reflect on your own experiences and contribute them within the discussion forum, this is where we can learn from each other’s experiences and knowledge from all around the world! At the end of the course, when you have completed all of the required elements, you will be able to download a certificate of completion and 3.9 Plus points will be added to your personalised learning dashboard.

Requirements to complete this course

In order to complete this course and receive a course completion certificate you will need to:

  1. abide by the Plus Community Culture
  2. log as completed all the required learning activities
  3. actively participate in the course forum discussions
  4. pass a final quiz with a score of 80% or more
  5. complete a course evaluation form

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course you will be able to:

  • list at least ten symptoms that can be associated with breathing pattern disorders
  • design an appropriate intervention for patients who present with breathing pattern disorders
  • select an appropriate set of tests and outcome measures to use in the assessment of breathing pattern disorders
  • explain the aetiology of breathing pattern disorders
  • compare and contrast normal and abnormal breathing patterns


For special needs or accommodations please contact us with details of how we can meet your needs.

Featured reviews
This course is amazing! Everyone must do it, even if you don’t treat patients with BDP or HVS!
Lipi Verma
Very informative, well-structured course! Was able to put the theory into practice in my Post-COVID Clinic immediately.
Arrah Valenzona
Excellent and simple to evaluate and manage. This should be a vital part of any evaluation and management of all patients by physiotherapists.
Wilma Erasmus
Physical Therapist
South Africa
It is a long-overdue mind shift to target breathing in order to relieve trigger points.
Susan Grobler
South Africa
The course was a great source of learning and understanding of dysfunctional breathing and how physiotherapists can help their patients.
Glenda Gutierrez Neich
This course was a great way to see how the body and its functions (as well as dysfunctions) marry into each other in a holistic way. This being done with simple scientific reasoning and explanations.
Lauren Heydenrych
South Africa
It is a nice course to look at breathing holistically. We tend to treat the chest as a separate entity, when in fact we should be assessing the muscles, and surrounding structures and treat accordingly with more modalities than just chest physio or breathing techniques.
Yulandie Ludick
South Africa
This course is a must for physiotherapists that deals with chronic musculoskeletal pain
Cristopher Alejandro
A comprehensive summary of a topic which was novel to me. The evidence base provided was very good and lots of audiovisual resources were a big help in understanding the practical techniques discussed
Ian Kenny
Profession not set
I think this is an area left out all to often in the PT practice. It is logical to the patients and can help them alleviate many of their acute and chronic symptoms.
Steve Finn
United States
This course made me realise how important correct breathing patterns are in treating a patient holistically. It was very informative, and I never lost interest. The information makes so much sense, and I will definitely use the content in practice!
Liesl Van Heerden
South Africa