If youíre in the middle of an asthma attack, telling you to relax is like telling someone who just wrecked their new car to smile.† The feeling of breathlessness naturally causes tension and perhaps panic.
Still, relaxing is what you need to do since tense muscles will make your attack worse.† Try these approaches to help you gain some breathing space.
The complementary therapies identified below should be used in addition to Ė not instead of Ė your asthma medication.† And, they should be done when you are not having an asthma attack so your lungs can practice deep full breathing
According to a recent survey, of those asthmatics who tried breathing techniques, most found the exercises helpful.† Psychologist and breathing expert Dr. Gay Hendricks has written a book called Conscious Breathing:† Breathwork for Health, Stress Release, and Personal Mastery.† It contains exercises designed specifically for people with asthma.† Here are some of his tips:
Breathing techniques for asthma.
†A set of basic breathing exercise helped mild asthmatics decrease their need for fast-acting inhalers by 86% after 7 months and cut their preventive inhaler use by 50% according to a study by Australiaís Woolcock Institute of Medical Research.† For more information, go to† http://www.asthma.crc.org.au/
- Breathe through your nose.
Dust and other irritants can trigger an asthma attack.† While it canít keep out all trouble, your nose is designed to filter out some of these pollutants.† Let your nose be your first line of defense.
- Breathe slow and deep.
Most people breathe too rapidly, making their lungs and hearts work hard.† Concentrate on slowing your breathing down to about 8 to 12 breaths per minute.† Do this when you are not in the middle of an asthma attack.† Itís a form of prevention
- Empty your lungs fully.
Every day, make sure that air reaches the lowest part of your lungs; take deep breaths, pushing your diaphragm down into your abdomen.
- Go deep
To make sure air reaches the lowest part of your lungs, take deep breaths, pushing your diaphragm down into your abdomen.
- Stay in your comfort zone
Breathing exercises are designed to relax, not make you more stressed.† Donít push yourself to breathe too deeply or slowly at first.† With a little practice, good breathing techniques will be a breeze.
According to research, older people use prayer to control stress more than any other alternative therapy.† Science even supports the power of prayer to heal.† Why not ask for Divine intervention?
If praying helps relax you during an asthma attack, by all means, pray.† There are no known side effects.
Some asthmatics find that visualizing a comforting image during an asthma attack helps them breathe easier.
- Get in a comfortable position, either sitting or reclining.
- Close your eyes and gradually relax your muscles, beginning with your toes and working your way up.† Imaging that a comforting quilt is being pulled up over your body may help the feeling of comfort, relaxation, and safety.
- Imagine (visualize if you can) a scene that you find relaxing. Once you get into an alternative state of consciousness you may actually imagine that your senses are functioning, such as feeling the warm sun on your face, listening to waves rolling up a beach, touching warm sand beneath you, and smelling a sea breeze.
A Colorado study found that asthmatics practicing yoga techniques were more relaxed, had a better attitude, and tended to use their inhalers less.
Practicing yoga typically involves breathing exercises (pranayama), physical postures (yogasanas), and meditation (quieting of the mind).† While yoga wonít eliminate asthma, all three aspects help one control symptoms.
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