Asthma affects more than 24 million people in the United States and many traditional treatments focus on using medication to relieve symptoms after an asthma attack has begun. However, preventing the triggers that cause asthma is often the best approach. That’s where alternative and complementary treatment options come in. Using a natural method of prevention in conjunction with a traditional treatment may be the secret to easing asthma all around. Discover some fresh techniques:
1. Meditation and Yoga
Stress is a key trigger for asthma attacks and a regular yoga or meditation practice can help you learn breathing techniques to reduce stress on the spot. The slow, deep breathing used during mediation and yoga is geared towards relaxation and reducing hyperventilation. Another technique called Buteyko breathing features a schedule of regular exercises to retrain your breathing and prevent attacks.
Acupuncture is an ancient alternative therapy that involves inserting tiny needles into the skin at certain points to balance your body’s energy. Though studies have not been able to prove the effectiveness, there is some belief that this method can help ease asthma symptoms. This therapy often incorporates relaxation and meditative breathing, so at the very least that aspect of the treatment might be a benefit.
Biofeedback is an approach that uses electronic monitoring devices to help you learn how to manage your body’s physical responses. For example, you might monitor your heart rate and discover ways to keep it controlled at a moderate pace. Studies have shown that this method can affect heart rate variability and help asthma patients improve airway flow and lung function. Plus, it’s another indicator that relaxation may play a big part in naturally preventing asthma attacks.
4. Steam Bath
Just the idea of a steam bath will probably make you feel better, but this natural treatment is one of the simplest ways to potentially ease asthma symptoms. Warm steam is a common remedy for opening airways when people are suffering from a common cold. While this isn’t a cure, it might be a soothing quick fix when asthma symptoms pop up. Just be careful that the steam isn’t too hot. Excessive heat can sometimes make symptoms worse.
Unfortunately there’s no magic diet to prevent and relieve asthma symptoms, but food allergies sometimes trigger asthma and a diet update can bring relief. Everyone is different, so it’s worth working with a dietician to find a diet that is right for your body. Some common dietary changes that benefit asthma sufferers include increased vitamin C and D, avoiding sulfites and eating fruits and vegetables that are packed with antioxidants. Also, maintaining a healthy weight helps reduce symptoms.
6. Garlic and Ginger
Many doctors are wary of incorporating herbs into asthma treatment because they may cause side effects or interact poorly with your medication. That said, foods that you eat every day might be a safer route to a natural remedy. Ginger and garlic both have anti-inflammatory properties and are commonly used to manage cardiovascular disease. This tasty treatment may also decrease inflammation in the lungs and help prevent or relieve asthma attacks.
7. Omega 3s
Did you think fish oil was just good for cholesterol? It turns out these fatty acids that help prevent heart disease may also decrease airway inflammation and help lung function. If you don’t like taking supplements, eating Omega 3 rich foods like fish, walnuts and flaxseed can do the trick. More research still needs to be done to prove the effectiveness of Omega 3s for asthma treatment, but if you’re keeping your heart healthy in the meantime then it’s a win-win.