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Yoga, Ginger and Controlled Breathing: Alternatives in Managing Asthma

Yoga, Ginger and Controlled Breathing: Alternatives in Managing Asthma


Sufferers of asthma and other breathing issues often are consigned to taking steroids, carrying an inhaler or spending time with a nebulizer to control their symptoms. Some, however, are also treating their breathing issues with more natural remedies. And while none have been proven to eliminate symptoms altogether, a few have proven to offer some additional relief, especially for those with mild symptoms.


Yoga can help open airways to better enable breathing in asthma patients, according to Prevention. “Yoga can’t cure asthma, but certain poses can certainly help open up your airways, helping you breathe better,” noted the article, which lists a number of poses beneficial to breathing.


Yoga’s positive effect on breathing has been studied by the medical community as well. One study published in Thorax compared a group of asthmatics, half of which participated in a two-hour yoga session once a week for 4 months. Results showed that yoga did help improve the patients’ confidence and overall mood, helping them feel better about being able to control their asthma.


“This randomized controlled trial has shown that the practice of Sahaja yoga does have limited beneficial effects on some objective and subjective measures of the impact of asthma,” the study noted.


Ginger, meanwhile, has caught the attention of the medical community for its ability to relax the airway. A recent study published in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology compared the effects of compounds found in ginger and noted that certain ones “caused significant and rapid relaxation” on airways. “These novel data show that ginger and its isolated active components … relax airway smooth muscle, and [8]-gingerol attenuates airway hyperresponsiveness,” the study noted.


For some, controlling mild symptoms can be as simple as following a controlled breathing method called the Buteyko method, a shallow-breathing technique developed in 1952 by a Russian doctor, Konstantin Buteyko. Clinical trials worldwide have measured the effectiveness of the Buteyko method, including one in the United Kingdom that found that patients practicing Buteyko breathing exercises twice a day experienced improved asthma symptoms and cut the use of their reliever inhalers by up to two puffs a day.

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