Managing Your Asthma Naturally
Asthma is a chronic condition requiring lifelong care. For many people, the idea of constantly using mediations is not agreeable. Fortunately, there are many natural alternatives to manage asthma.
Aerobic exercise improves lung capacity and function. Thus it is particularly beneficial to people with asthma. However, for some people, intense exercise can trigger asthma. If this happens to you, you may want to consider tailoring your exercise to fit with your condition. Endurance exercise is especially likely to trigger asthma attacks, therefore, burst activities like sprinting may be better. Swimming also has aerobic benefits, but the moist, warm environment reduces the risk of an attack. Finally, yoga, while not strictly an aerobic exercise, incorporates breathing techniques that may help asthmatics. It also improves fitness and reduces stress, a common trigger for asthma attacks.
Along with the breathing techniques practiced in yoga, there are also two techniques specifically developed for people with asthma and one used with other lung conditions that has recently shown some promise:
- The Buteyko Technique. The Buteyko technique focuses on minimalizing breathing, thus preventing hyperventilation.
- The Papworth Method. The Papworth method, conversely, involves deep breathing and nose breathing. The goal with this method is to learn to breathe in a manner suitable to the occasion, i.e. increased breathing during exercise, decreased during rest. Several studies have found that practicing the Papworth method can reduce symptoms of asthma considerably.
- Muscle Training. Muscle training is geared at strengthening the lung muscles. It incorporates the use of a hand-held breathing apparatus. This technique has been successfully used in treating other lung conditions, and recent evidence indicates it may be useful to asthmatics as well.
Some people claim that targeted acupuncture treatment helps relieve asthma symptoms.
Relaxation therapy is used to reduce stress and increase overall well-being. This can be helpful as emotion stress is a trigger for many people with asthma. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that it may enhance lung function, although the mechanism for this is not well understood.
Several herbal remedies have traditionally been used to treat asthma . They include:
- Chamomile tea, an antihistamine.
- Nettle tea and lobelia tincture, both of which have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Green tea, ephedera and mullein oil, all of which act like bronchodilators.
- Elderberry and hyssop tea, to help with congestion.
Herbal remedies, like prescription medications, can have side effects. Some of them may interact with prescription medications. Their distribution is not controlled, and different products may contain different amounts of the active ingredients. Be sure to consult with your physician before beginning an herbal treatment regimen.
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