Turn away from symptoms. At Life College in Marietta, Georgia, sports medicine researchers measured the respiratory efficiency of 10 people before the group learned a 20-minute qigong routine. After performing the routine, the participants had their respiratory efficiency measured again. It improved by an average of 20 percent suggesting that qigong may help prevent asthma attacks.
Consult a Trager work practitioner. For one study, physical therapists enrolled people with asthma in a 2-week course on Trager psychophysical integration, a gentle movement-based form of bodywork. Beforeand-after tests showed that Trager work significantly improved the participants’ lung functions.
Give triggers a taste of their own medicine. Researchers in Glasgow, Scotland, recruited 28 volunteers with asthmamost of whom also had allergies to dust mites. Some of the volunteers received homeopathic medicines specific to their individual symptoms, while the rest received a placebo (a fake pill). Everyone continued their usual treatment programs. Within a week, the group given homeopathic preparations reported significantly greater relief from their asthma symptoms.
According to homeopath Dana Ullman, a number of homeopathic medicines help reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks. He often prescribes Aconitum, Arsenicum album, Ipecacuanha, Natrum sulfuricum, Pulsatilla, or Spongia to his asthma patients. To fmd out which of these medicines would work best for you, consult a homeopath.
Pharmaceutical companies have developed a dizzying array of asthma medications. Most of these drugs fall into one of three categories: bronchodilators, anti-inflammatories, or leukotriene modifiers.
These drugs can be taken either orally or as puffs of aerosol spray from an inhaler. Most physicians prefer inhalers because they deliver the medication directly to the respiratory tract, which minimizes side effects. “The problem is that too many doctors simply hand out inhalers without explaining how to use them,” Dr. Firshein says. “About half the people who come to me for treatment aren’t using their inhalers properly.”
Perhaps the most common mistake is putting the inhaler inside the mouth. It should be held an inch away from the lips to give the particles of medication room to separate. Then the particles can travel deep into the lungs. If you use an inhaler, Dr. Firshein recommends having it fitted with a spacer. The spacer is a small tube that attaches to the mouthpiece of the inhaler. The spray hangs like a cloud inside the spacer, giving you more time to inhale and absorb the vapor-and increasing the effectiveness of the medication.