Healthy Living

Holistic Treatments for Asthma

Holistic Treatments for Asthma

Key Takeaways

  • The Chinese system of medicine combines acupuncture, acupressure, herbal, and mind-body practices that aid healing by removing blockages in energy flow. 
  • Ayurveda believes that a healthy lifestyle is possible through moderation in food, sleep, and sex, and through pursuit of a vigorous and active lifestyle balanced with frequent medicinal treatments rooted in plant and mineral products. 
  • Changes in your diet can also help in treating asthma

What is asthma?

Before discussing the remedies of asthma, we should all know what the disease is, how it is caused and what are its symptoms. Asthma is a condition in which the person who is suffering from it experiences difficulty in breathing, which is due to the narrowing of the airways leading to the lungs. These airways include the nose, nasal passageways, mouth and larynx.

Asthma is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It can be triggered by allergies that can be seasonal, related to food or can also be environmental.

Holistic treatments for asthma

Symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest rattling, pain and breathlessness associated with asthma reduce the quality of sleep and increase fatigue and stress in our lives in multiple ways. A lifetime spent pursuing treatment through conventional medicine takes its toll on patients by causing them negative side effects. Many adult asthmatics and parents of asthmatic children are concerned about their quality of life and weary of the reactions that conventional medications produce. So, they continue to search avidly for holistic treatments for asthma.

Here, we will share with you some of the most reputable holistic remedies, none of which carry side effects.

Traditional Chinese medicine

The ancient Chinese system of medicine combines acupuncture, acupressure, herbal and mind-body practices that aid healing by removing blockages in energy flow. This system involves approximately twelve herbs that are administered either as dried pills, liquefied essences or herbal teas.

In acupuncture, minute needles warmed in herbal steam are used to prick the skin along known energy meridians. This is believed to reduce stiffness, overcome inflammation and rejuvenate diseased lung tissue.

In acupressure, a mild pressure is applied to specific locations near the armpits, elbows, and wrists to relax breathing.

Indian Ayurvedic medicine

Though their age is unknown, ancient Indian texts called the Vedas contain an abundance of distilled wisdom in Ayurveda or the “science of life”. Ayurveda contains the belief that a healthy lifestyle is achievable by practicing moderation in food, sleep and sex, and by pursuing an active life. Individuals help achieve this balanced lifestyle with frequent treatments that are medicinally rooted in plant and mineral products.

In the Ayurvedic system, individuals are identified as belonging to one of three “doshas” or inherited biological patterns. They are Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Once the person’s body type is identified, ayurvedic treatment begins. The aim is to:

  • Rebalance the body’s reduced energy levels to promote healing
  • Remove harmful poisons that hinder tissue regeneration
  • Repair digestion and restore nutrient absorption
  • Restructure diet and rework daily routine
  • Remove stress from daily activity
  • Invigorate relationships
  • Follow strategies to alleviate symptoms 

Relief from asthma through homeopathy

Homeopathy studies the asthmatic individual, his/her family, historical trail of symptoms, and physical/emotional well-being before starting treatment. The homeopathic practitioner will also take into account the fact that children often graduate from skin disorders to asthma, since both afflictions are genetically transferable.  A widely used homeopathic medicine called Ipecac actually mimics asthma symptoms in what is called the “healing crisis,” before bringing relief in stages.

The ancient Indian science of yoga

Yoga is the combined use of breathing practices, meditation and postural techniques that boost health and aid in overcoming diseases such as asthma. Yogic breathing corrects imbalances in inhalation and exhalation using an ancient technique called pranayama. It reduces stress, relieves chest congestion, and boosts the capacity of the lung tissue to hold oxygen. The seated yoga pose with a spinal twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana) opens the lungs and improves its elasticity and capacity to hold oxygen. Other yoga poses (asanas) that relieve the distress caused by asthma are:

  • Pavanamukt asana: This exercises abdominal organs, aids digestion and relieves nausea and gas.
  • SetuBandh asana: Also referred to as the bridge mimicking pose, it is very effective in relieving chest congestion, restoring digestion, and boosting thyroid function.
  • Bhujang asana: Known as the cobra stance, it improves lungs' air retention capacity and improves blood circulation to lung tissue.

Lifestyle changes known to aid the holistic healing of asthma

  • Making plant protein (soy, lentils, spiraling, etc.) a major dietary component 
  • Removing milk, dairy products and meat as major dietary sources of calcium
  • Gradually switching to organic fruits and vegetables which contain little or no pesticide residue
  • Switching to olive oil and increasing access to natural or nonsupplemental sources of Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Increasing water intake as a means to liquefy lung phlegm
  • Lessening inhalation of allergens like smoke particles, dust, mold and toxic chemicals

Best food for treating asthma

Maintaining a healthy diet helps an asthma patient maintain the right amount of antioxidants and nutrients in the body so that they are able to combat environmental toxins, control inflammatory responses and reduce dietary triggers. Eating a large variety of food ensures that the immune system of your body and the body of your child remains strong. A number of studies have shown that having the right and appropriate amount and type of food can prove to be a very helpful remedy for the cure of asthma at home. Here is a list of food items that you should include in your asthma diet.

  1. Brightly colored carotenoid foods: The food items that fall under this category are red and orange colored vegetables and fruits. Carotenoid is rich in vitamin A which helps in maintaining healthy mucous membranes that line the inner air passageways.
  2. Foods containing folate (vitamin B9): The food items that fall under this category are green leafy vegetables, beans and nuts. Folate reduces allergic reactions and inflammation.
  3. Foods enriched in vitamin E and vitamin C: Research has shown that consuming food rich in vitamin C reduces wheezing and inflammation as vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps in detoxifying the body. Vitamin C is found in green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and berries. Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant found in nuts, seeds and healthy plant oils.
  4. Foods rich in magnesium: Studies have shown that an increased quantity of magnesium helps in lowering the severity of asthma attacks. Sources of magnesium are greens, nuts, seeds, beans, cocoa and certain ancient grains.