Asthma is a debilitating condition that affects the young and adult alike; it needs lifelong management to help maintain quality of life. And since the problem involves a breathing disorder, will breathing exercises help relieve the symptoms?
There are three known types of breathing exercises used in alternative medicine and they are:
This breathing exercise theorized by the late Dr. Konstantin Buteyko was based on the principle that asthmatic patients tend to over breathe while having an attack.
So this exercise will help patients how to do controlled breathing during attacks therefore minimizing the amount of carbon dioxide in the body and improving the function of airway smooth muscles.
Developed in Papworth Hospital in England during the 1960’s this breathing exercise focuses on nasal breathing, abdominal breathing and the patient’s individual breathing pattern.
The objective of this principle is for the patient to have a control on what type of breathing pattern to do to cope up with various activities making them able to deal with the environment and temperature changes, exposure to pollutants & allergens and various emotional responses.
Originated in India, this is a type of yoga that is more focused on breathing techniques that incorporates exercises that improve lung functionality and promote relaxation.
Pranayama utilizes breathing methods to expand the lung capacity improving circulation and giving asthmatics more control of their breathing pattern.
Although these breathing exercises have proven benefits in gaining control of one’s reaction to asthma triggers and being able to cope up with considerable amount of stress, medications could not be done away with.
In fact a study made by researchers from the Department of General Practice and Primary Care at the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, UK stated that the quality of life of patients who performed breath training exercises was significantly improved.
Feelings of anxiety and depression during asthma attacks were decreased with breath training exercises which were associated with better control of asthma attacks.
Another finding stated that the peak expiratory flow rate of these same patients did not show significant changes after doing breath training exercises.
As a conclusion therefore, breathing exercises may help improve the quality of life of patients who are already debilitated by the condition, but, does not necessarily mean that symptoms are relieved and that the need for medication is minimized.