Mr. Kwa Eng Keat, a PhD student, presented his paper titled “Effects of face mask on respiratory
performance: A Within Subject Design Study” at the 5th IEEE Eurasia Conference on Biomedical
Engineering, Healthcare and Sustainability 2023 (5th IEEE ECBIOS 2023), held from June 2-4, 2023.
The widespread adoption of face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic is crucial for preventing the
spread of the virus. However, prolonged facemask use has been linked to poor respiratory
performance. Meanwhile, there is an increasing trend towards relaxation exercises such as deep
breathing, which can improve respiratory function. However, there is no comprehensive study that has
examined the specific effects of deep breathing exercises while wearing a medical face mask. To
address this gap, Eng Keat investigated the respiratory impact of wearing a face mask during deep
breathing exercises and compared the resulting pulmonary performance with and without a mask.
To obtain his findings, Eng Keat conducted an experiment that involved spirometry measurements
taken before and after 5 minutes of deep breathing, twice a day, for 25 days without a face mask. This
was followed by another 25 days of the same routine but with the addition of a face mask. The study’s
results indicate that wearing a face mask during deep breathing had minimal impact on respiratory
performance. However, significant improvements in all respiratory performance metrics were
observed during deep breathing without a face mask. These findings suggest that the act of deep
breathing itself can lead to positive changes in respiratory function, while the presence of a face mask
may have limited effects.
During the online conference session, Eng Keat had the chance to attend presentations by researchers
from different biomedical and scientific backgrounds. These researchers shared their valuable studies,
keeping him updated with the latest trends and accomplishments in their respective areas. Eng Keat
was impressed by the researchers’ ability to deliver their presentations skilfully and address questions
from the audience. They delivered their speeches in a clear and organized manner, using effective
visual aids to enhance understanding. Eng Keat found the experience informative and inspiring,
gaining valuable insights into the focus of research in various areas.
Eng Keat’s primary focus is to investigate the impact of face masks on respiratory performance during
deep breathing exercises. His work holds significant implications for individuals seeking to engage in
relaxation practices while adhering to mask-wearing protocols, particularly in the COVID-19
pandemic. By shedding light on the topic, Eng Keat’s research contributes to improving community
health and overall well-being.