Holistic Treatments and Practices for Asthma

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Because Yoga (through pranayama) is specifically a way of managing and controlling your breath, it can be extremely effective for sufferers of asthma in reducing both the emotional impacts of asthma (fear and anxiety) as well as in alleviating the symptoms of an asthma attack (problems breathing) as well as in reducing the number of asthma attacks (by retraining the pulmonary system). Yoga can teach asthma sufferers to be more relaxed and to breath more easily, which then helps the lungs work better and enhances your airflow.

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Interestingly for those with asthma, multiple research studies have shown that Guided Imagery can be an effective adjunt treatment for asthma and can increase oxygenation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  Using Guided Imagery in combination with conventional treatment has allowed asthma patients to improve their respiratory function, reduce their medications and have fewer emergencies and hospitalizations.

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Both Acupuncture and Acupressure increase the flow of oxygen to the lungs and by decreasing stress, reduce asthma symptoms. Acupuncture and Acupressure also stimulate endorphins (the body’s natural pain killer) which can help calm the overactive immune system to lessen or relieve asthma attacks.

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Because allergies are a common cause for or trigger of asthma attacks, therapies that treat allergies can reduce the need for asthma medication, reduce the severity of the symptoms and asthma attacks and even eliminate the sensitivity that may lead to asthma attacks and symptoms.

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Moderate Research
Some Success Stories

The person using biofeedback or neurofeedback learns to modify their styles of inhalation (often related to asthma attacks) and to moderate and normalize their breathing patters as well as their lung functions and other physiological factors that contribute to the severity of an asthma attack.

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Moderate Research
Some Success Stories

There are many forms of light touch therapies that provide asthma relief. One of the most popular is the Bowen Technique, which has been very effective in relieving asthma and other respiratory ailments.  Another popular light touch therapy that can help with asthma symptoms is CranioSacral Therapy, which can help release constrictions in the connective tissue and all the immune system to be more effective and resilient. 

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Little Research
Lots of Success Stories

Asthma is frequently treated using magnetic therapyMagnetic therapy relaxes the capillary walls and increases blood flow to the lungs, which relieves the constriction common to asthma sufferers.

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Meditation lowers emotional stress and promotes a more even emotional keel. Asthma attacks are often triggered by the sufferer coming in contact with something that irritates their airways (an asthmatic trigger), and meditation provides relief by reducing sympathic activity and lowering respiratory rates.

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Moderate Research
A Few Success Stories

Because allergies are a common cause for or trigger of asthma attacks, therapies that treat allergies can  can reduce the need for asthma medication, reduce the severity of the symptoms and asthma attacks and even eliminate the sensitivity that may lead to asthma attacks and symptoms.

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Moderate Research
A Few Success Stories

Both Acupuncture and Acupressure increase the flow of oxygen to the lungs and by decreasing stress, reduce asthma symptoms. Acupuncture and Acupressure also stimulate endorphins (the body’s natural pain killer) which can help calm the overactive immune system to lessen or relieve asthma attacks.  

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Little Research
A Few Success Stories

Chiropractic care releases stress on a patient’s nervous system. This allows the immune system to operate more effectively, which is can help reduce asthma symptoms or the frequency of asthma attacks.

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Reflexology can help reduce the levels of stress of the person with asthma (stress is known to be a trigger for asthmatic attacks) and can also stimulate the respiratory system.

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A Few Success Stories

Colourpuncture helps asthma by regularizing breath frequency, enhancing circulation and relieving the inflammation that triggers asthma attacks. In colourpuncture, asthma is treated by the use of coloured lights beamed on to acupuncture points.  This treatment method was created by Peter Mandel and is based on the theory that all memories of past events are held in the cells of the body and that light and colours can unlock the root causes of pain and disease due to these past traumas.

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There are anecdotal stories about Body Talk effectively reducing asthma symptoms and attacks, including emotional improvements, relief from symptoms and clearing of the lungs/reduction in mucus. 

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Bowen Therapy is a type of bodywork (like massage) that involves gentle, precise movements performed by the practitioner. It relies on the concept that signals constantly circulate throughout the body, telling the various parts of the body how to respond under certain conditions.  Bowen Therapy was developed by an Australian, Tom Bowen, whose wife suffered from asthma and he used his technique for her benefit.

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People who suffer from asthma have stated how much easier it is to breath and how much more relaxed they feel after a Reiki treatment session. Reiki can be a very powerful tool to relief stress and therefore reduce the severity and frequency of asthma attacks.

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Asthma

Summary

Asthma is defined by the Global Initiative for Asthma as ‘a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways in which many cells and cellular elements play a role’. The chronic inflammation is associated with airway hyper-responsiveness that leads to recurrent episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing especially at night or early in the morning.

Asthma episodes are usually associated with variable airflow obstruction within the lung that are often reversible spontaneously or responds to a wide range of treatments. Continuing inflammation makes asthmatics hyper-responsive to such irritants as cold air, exercise, dust, pollen, infection, pollutants in the air, and even stress or anxiety.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 18.7 million adults and 7 million children in the US had asthma as of 2010 and this number is increasing every year.  The medical costs (again according to the CDC) related to Asthma were 50.1 billion in 2007, and rising year over year.  According to World Health Organization estimates, over 235 million people worldwide suffer from Asthma and it is the most common  chronic disease among children.

Asthma may be classified as atopic (extrinsic) or non-atopic (intrinsic), based on whether symptoms are precipitated by allergens (atopic) or not (non atopic). Asthma usually begins in childhood or adolescence, but it can also first appear in adult life, so asthma can start at any age and in a wide variety of situations. While the symptoms may be similar, certain important aspects of asthma are different in children and adults. When asthma begins in childhood, it often does in a child who is genetically predisposed to become sensitized to common allergens in the environment, such a child is known as an atopic person. Allergenic materials may also play a role when adults become asthmatic, but many adults who are not allergic have conditions such as sinusitis or nasal polyps, they may be sensitive to some medications such as Aspirin. Another major source of adult asthma is exposure at work to a host of different products.

Asthma and athletics might seem as if they don’t mix well as most sports require fitness and endurance and asthma can make working out difficult. Exercise is a common trigger for an asthma attack, but the record books are filled with athletes who overcame asthma on their way to victory. Some developed asthma in childhood, others when they were already at the top of their game, either way asthma didn’t stop them from achieving success on the track, field, court, or in the pool.

There are a large number of holistic treatments that can provide relief from the symptoms of asthma and decrease the frequency of asthma attacks.  These are not a replacement for asthma medication but some treatments significantly reduce the frequency of the need for medication.

Also known as

Allergic Asthma, Asthmatic Bronchitis, Bronchial Asthma, Exercise-induced Asthma, Reversible Obstructive Airway Disease, Twitchy Lung Syndrome, Wheezy Bronchitis