Yes, a quick puff of air in the nose to help them catch their breath like you would do with a baby. Or, gently rubbing the throat.
It doesn't hurt them, no matter how dramatic it seems to humans. My dog usually has a small "episode" if he gets extremely excited or smells/tastes something spicy.
Make sure your vet confirms this is what is going on though, collapsing trachea is also an issue with smaller breeds with similar symptoms though it is remarkably different, and very serious in nature. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA-MNCdmAU4
The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike, than those who think differently.-Friedrich Nietzsche