Natural Remedies for Asthma
Methods ranging from acupuncture to massage to herbal medications have all been claimed to be useful for treating asthma. Although there is little substantial evidence supporting the use of these asthma "natural remedies," these non-pharmacological forms of relief remain popular. Make sure to discuss any alternative treatments you are considering with your healthcare provider.
Natural Remedies for Asthma: An Overview
Some natural remedies that have been used to improve symptoms of asthma include:
- Breathing exercises
- Herbal medications and supplements.
Evidence for the effectiveness of these remedies is limited because of the small number of research trials being done. Thus, it is difficult to compare these natural remedies for asthma and the current pharmacological standard of care.
Acupuncture as a Natural Remedy
Acupuncture is a form of natural healing in which thin needles are inserted into specific areas of the body. The mechanism by which acupuncture works remains unknown. Some individuals find temporary relief from their asthma symptoms with acupuncture. However, studies have not shown that this practice relieves asthma symptoms, decreases medication use, or improves airway responsiveness.
Massage Therapy as a Natural Remedy
Massage therapy is another technique that has been used by parents on their children who have asthma. One study showed that younger children who received massage therapy at bedtime had improvement in their lung function. The older children in the study also improved, with a lower anxiety level and a better attitude toward their asthma, than those who did not receive massage therapy.
Using Breathing Exercises as a Natural Remedy for Asthma
Breathing exercises may involve deep breathing with prolonged exhalation and a decreased rate of breathing. It has been suggested that this will improve asthma symptoms, although most studies have not shown that breathing exercises are particularly effective. However, in one study, the group who did breathing exercises reported fewer symptoms and a decrease in their use of inhaled medications compared to the group who did not do the breathing exercises.