Invisible suffering: breathlessness in and beyond the clinic

Havi Carel, Jane MacNaughton, James Dodd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

30 Citations (Scopus)


The German poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote of breath as “an invisible poem”. Indeed, breath is invisible literally but also metaphorically; it is something we take for granted. Breath is intimately entwined with life, movement, and activity, but mostly goes unnoticed. In particular situations, it becomes the focus of our attention. When exercising, meditating, giving birth, or practising yoga, breathing is a focal point and becomes bound by particular techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-279
Number of pages2
JournalLancet Respiratory Medicine
Issue number4
Early online date5 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2015


  • Respiratory medicine
  • illness
  • breathlessness
  • life of breath


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