What is a Valsalva maneuver?
The Valsalva maneuver is a breathing technique that can be used to unclog ears, restore heart rhythm or diagnose an autonomic nervous system (ANS).
To perform the Valsalva maneuver, you should close your mouth, pinch your nose shut and press the air out like you are blowing up a balloon.
Why do you need the Valsalva maneuver?
A Valsalva maneuver may be performed to treat clogged ears, diagnose an ANS condition, or restore heart rhythm.
Treat clogged ears
The Valsalva maneuver can help relieve pressure that is blocking the Eustachian tube in the inner ear. During the maneuver, clogged ears can be unblocked by forcing air through the sinuses and Eustachian tube.
Restore heart rhythm
If your heart is experiencing tachycardia, you can restore your heart rhythm by performing the Valsalva maneuver.
Diagnosing an ANS disorder
A Valsalva maneuver can help diagnose an ANS disorder. During the maneuver, can help identify problems with your sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve functions.
Risks associated with the Valsalva maneuver
Do not attempt the Valsalva maneuver if you have high blood pressure, you are at risk for a stroke or heart attack or you have been diagnosed with an arrhythmia.
Exercise caution when using the Valsalva maneuver to clear your ears; if it is performed too forcefully, you may rupture an eardrum.
How to perform the Valsalva maneuver
Steps of the Valsalva maneuver are:
- Pinch your nose closed
- Close your mouth
- Forcefully exhale
- Bear down, similar to having a bowel movement
- Hold this for 10 to 15 seconds