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What are alternative treatments for asthma? There are different treatments and practices as well as diet regimens; that can help patients alleviate asthmatic symptoms; but of course none of these will replace a standard medical treatment. What are alternative treatments for asthma? Asthma is a chronic pulmonary condition that can make breathing hard for patients. This is because the bronchial tubes which are the passage of air in the lungs become inflamed. The surrounding muscles usually produce mucus and tighten up the airways making it difficult for breathing. This condition can be fatal and you shouldn’t rely on self – treatment. If you have asthma, make sure to consult a doctor first before trying out alternative treatments. In this article, you’ll learn what are alternative treatments for asthma?

Mind and Body Techniques

What are alternative treatments for asthma? Here are some mind and body treatments that you can try if you have asthma. Please take note that these are not to be replaced by proper medical treatments. These techniques will only help you cope better with the symptoms, reduce triggers, and lessen the severity of the condition. Consult your doctor first before trying these things.

Breathing Exercises

What are alternative treatments for asthma? There are different breathing techniques used for asthma; and according to some research it can have some benefits but more research is needed. Breathing exercises usually is all about focusing and relaxation. This will help patients modify their breathing patterns like in the nasal, lung and abdominal areas.

There was a recent experiment that included about 2000 participants diagnosed with mild to moderate asthma; and this concluded; that doing breathing exercises certainly have positive benefits especially on the lungs’ functions, asthma symptoms/ triggers and also their quality of life. The results for overall asthma symptoms were inconclusive and the authors noted that many of the studies used poor methodology. More high-quality studies are needed to explore these potential benefits, to identify any adverse effects; and to parse out which techniques may be most helpful.

Here are some of the breathing practices proven helpful in the research:

Pranayama

What are alternative treatments for asthma? This is a type of breath manipulation that implements a deep nasal breathing with rhythmic patterns like long exhalations; as well as nostril breathing.

Buteyko Breathing Technique

This is a famous asthma breathing exercise that was developed by Konstantin Buteyko, a Russian researcher. It’s just like Pranayama breathing wherein it implements shallow breathing. This is based on the premise that raising blood levels of carbon dioxide through shallow breathing may dilate the smooth muscles of the airways; yet this has not been proven. What are alternative treatments for asthma? There are some people who say that this is expensive and doesn’t make that much difference in the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood; that higher levels of carbon dioxide is not an effective strategy, and that any effects of the technique may be due to general relaxation. It may not be applicable or effective to everyone.

Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing

This type of breathing focuses on the movement of the diaphragm, a dome-shaped muscle below your lungs.

Papworth Method

What are alternative treatments for asthma? This is commonly used by respiratory physiotherapists. The Papworth technique integrates relaxation with gentle diaphragmatic breathing and nasal breathing; that focuses on adapting patterns of breathing that can suit you ability.

Mindfulness Meditation

What are alternative treatments for asthma? Mindfulness meditation can definitely improve one’s asthma and reduce severity of the condition as well as improve one’s overall health. There was a research called MBSR or Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction which is sort of an intervention for asthmatic patients. And the study found out that this didn’t lead to the lung’s actual function but it boosted the quality of life; and also reduce stress in asthmatic patients compared to a control group. The benefits appeared to be lasting and were still evident a year after the training.

What are alternative treatments for asthma? There are three main techniques when implementing the Mindfulness meditation. The first one is Body Scan. This is a technique that you can use by focusing your attention to the certain areas of your body; and bring awareness to the sensation you will feel. This will help one relax. The second one is Sitting Meditation. This is a technique wherein one should focus on their breath; and also be aware of the feeling and thoughts on their mind without analyzing or judging them. Just simply observing the thoughts that will come. The last one is Gentle Stretching. This is when one develops mindful awareness during slow movement.   

Mindfulness Exercise

In the study, participants were also given recordings of guided mindfulness exercises that they were told to practice for 30 minutes six days a week. You could start with a few minutes of mindfulness meditation each day; and slowly work your way up to 30 minutes most days of the week.

For a body scan, start at your feet and think about how they feel and try to relax them; and work your way up by region and body part until you get to your head. In a seated meditation or during a gentle stretch, focus on your inhales and exhales. Observe wandering thoughts but try not to get involved too much with them. Just acknowledge them and get return to focusing on your breath.

Tai Chi

What are alternative treatments for asthma? According to various research; Tai – Chi has proven time and time again that it can help improve the quality of life especially those who are diagnosed with chronic conditions. It is a form of martial arts that are slow – moving, combining physical and mental ability.

While the research on tai chi and asthma is minimal, a small study of 38 elementary school kids found that after practicing an hour of tai chi weekly for a period of 12 weeks; lung function and airway inflammation improved in both the children with mild asthma and those without asthma.

The results of larger sample sizes are not yet confirmed but according to researchers; this technique allows asthmatic patients to become active without being at risk of getting asthma attacks that usually occurs when one engages into vigorous activities. While serious injuries are unlikely while practicing tai chi, there is some risk of aches or pains.6

Yoga

What are alternative treatments for asthma? There was a review of various studies regarding how yoga could be helpful for asthmatic patients. There are more than a thousand participant in these studies; and it concluded that practicing yoga only leads to small improvements when it comes to reducing asthma symptoms. Researchers warned that larger sample sizes are needed to confirm the results; and to further explore potential benefits or any adverse effects.

There was also a study that reviewed patients with mild to moderate asthma and they found out that those who regularly practice yoga for at least thrice a week over a period of 2 ½ month had significantly improve their quality of life; and also heart rate compared to those who didn’t. Heart rate variability is a measure of the timing between heart beats; and can be a general marker of health and wellbeing. Keep in mind that serious injuries in yoga are rare, the practice carries risks of sprains or strains, especially in adults over the age of 65.

Biofeedback

What are alternative treatments for asthma? Biofeedback is sometimes can be used as supporting therapy for asthma patients. It also make use of electronic monitoring devices to identify when certain techniques, such as visualization or slow breathing, have a direct impact on the monitor. The idea is that this loop of feedback can help you learn techniques to better relax and control asthma symptoms and potentially improve lung function.

Acupuncture

What are alternative treatments for asthma? There are some tests that suggest that acupuncture which is a traditional Chinese medicine technique, can help reduce asthma symptoms and even lessen medications for children. However, the research is very randomized and inconsistent to support these claims.  Acupuncture involves stimulating specific points on the body that is typically done by inserting thin needles through the skin. It is generally well tolerated but there may be some pain or sensitivity in places where needles were inserted.

If acupuncture is not properly delivered or carried out by a licensed acupuncturist, it can be damaging to the body and organs. It can also cause infections and injuries which can be potentially life – threatening. Make sure to ask first the acupuncturist about their experience and credentials especially for asthmatic patients. It’s also best to get a referral from your physician.  

Steam Baths

What are alternative treatments for asthma? Breathing warm steam can help soothe people with asthma simply because it helps clear out the mucus in the airways and enable them to breathe easily. It also relaxes the body but research on the effects of steam baths is still lacking. Treatments can include filling the bathroom with steam from a hot bath or shower, spending time in sauna, or using at at-home portable steam machine. Keep in mind that this treatment may not be good if warm water is an asthma trigger for you.

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