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Using Breathing Exercises To Reduce Asthma

Tips to Help Minimize Asthma Symptoms

Make sure you change your furnace filters regularly, and choose filters that remove dust mites, mold spores, pollen and other allergens.

Avoid all chemical fragrances including perfumes, and fragranced personal care products such as shampoo, conditioner, lotion and deodorant.  Ask your family and friends to use fragrance free products.

Use fragrance free laundry detergents and dryer sheets to avoid toxic fragrances that can trigger severe asthma attacks.

Use an air purifier to help clean the air in your home.

Use special mattress and pillow barrier covers that block dust mites.

Eat foods with omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, or take a good fish oil or krill oil supplement.

Supplement with vitamin C (ideally in a natural form such as Rose Hips, and including bioflavonoids), which can help to reduce allergies and wheezing.

Make sure you receive regular chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic adjustments, especially to the thorax spine, are extremely important in the treatment of chronic asthma.  

Approximately 20 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma; and almost half of them are children. Over the years, corticosteroid inhalers have been the most commonly prescribed treatment for Asthma.

A recent study found that special breathing techniques can reduce the necessity of using these reliever inhalers by more than 80% and reduce the dose of preventer inhaler that is needed in mild asthma by half, according to this research.

This study, which was published in the journal Thorax1, compared the effect of two different breathing techniques on the use of medication, symptoms, lung function, and quality of life among 57 adults with mild asthma.

One technique had the participants focus on shallow, nasal breathing with slow exhalations.  The other technique relied upon relaxation and general upper body exercises.

To qualify for the study, subjects required the use of a preventer inhaler and also needed reliever inhaler at least four times a week.  These participants were then randomly assigned one of these two breathing techniques.

Over a period of 30 weeks, the subjects were required to practice their assigned breathing exercises two times a day for approximately 25 minutes. They were further encouraged to use an abbreviated version of their exercises instead of their reliever inhaler, and to only rely on the reliever inhaler if the exercises failed to halt the asthma attack.

Researcher Professor Christine Jenkins, of the the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, found that the use of reliever medication fell by 86% in both exercise groups.  This drastic improvement began within weeks of starting the exercises, and was maintained over eight months.  She writes: "Breathing techniques may be useful in the management of patients with mild asthma symptoms who use a reliever frequently."

By the end of the study, the participants dropped from using around three puffs of their reliever inhaler each day to approximately one puff every third day.  Preventer dose requirements were also cut in half.

Another promising treatment for bronchial asthma is the natural anti-inflammatory Boswellia, which we often recommend to patients to reduce musculoskeletal inflammation and pain.  In a 1998 study,2 asthmatic patients given the gum resin of Boswellia serrata resulted in 70% improvement evidenced by disappearance of symptoms, versus only 27% of the control group who showed improvement. 

1 Thorax 61:651-656 doi:10.1136/thx.2005.054767

2 Eur J Med Res. 1998 Nov 17;3(11):511-4

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