Learning to Breathe Can Alleviate Asthma Symptoms

by | Sep 21, 2012 | Health

People who suffer from breathing difficulties, such as asthma, COPD, sleep apnea or allergies may all have in common the fact that they breathe too quickly or too fast. Many alternative treatments claims that they can provide a natural cure for asthma and other breathing difficulties through learning new breathing techniques in order to normalize the intake of breath and the presence of carbon dioxide in the lungs. The idea is that since carbon dioxide regulates the delivery of oxygen throughout the body, gentle breathing increases oxygenation. If most people breathe too quickly or too deep, in other words they hyperventilate, then pathologies such as asthma and other breathing problems can occur. However, if a person learns how to breathe gently, they disappear.

Most of those who promote breathing techniques as a natural cure for asthma do not suggest foregoing conventional medical treatments that provide relief. Rather, while they might consider anti-inflammatory medication to be solely treating a symptom rather than the cause of the problem, on a pragmatic level it is still useful and even necessary until the problem no longer exists. If quality of life improves after learning how to normalize one’s breathing, then it’s possible after the fact to begin to decrease one’s dependence on steroids and other asthma medications. Insofar as that goes, learning how to breathe might be thought of as a natural cure for asthma.

The basic premise behind normalizing one’s breathing is to develop ways to control how one breathes through a decrease in the amount of air you inhale with each breath, as well as the number of breathes one takes in sixty seconds. So the general advice is to learn how to slow down the depth and speed you breathe – to breathe less, in order words. People who suffer from asthma may find that advice initially paradoxical – that is, to breathe less in order to breathe better, but for many, it has improved their quality of life.

The University of Aberdeen conducted a study in order to find out if breathing techniques actually did have any effect on people suffering from asthma. The six month study concluded that the group practicing breathing exercises scored higher on their quality of life scores than those who merely received traditional asthma treatment and medication. Not only that, but when anxiety and depression was measured, they found that it had decreased as well. In the end, the study showed that breathing techniques are at least helpful; other studies have shown it to be even more beneficial to asthma sufferers.

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