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Asthma Treatment Do Complementary and Alternative Approaches Work?
While a number of people try them, evidence is still unclear whether any of the following treatments really work for asthma.
Acupuncture. This alternative treatment involves the insertion of thin needles to various depths at strategic points on your body. Acupuncture originated in China thousands of years ago, but over the past two decades its popularity has grown significantly in other parts of the world. While some evidence suggests that asthma symptoms improve with acupuncture treatment, theres still not enough solid evidence to be certain it helps.
Relaxation therapy. These techniques include meditation, biofeedback, hypnosis and progressive muscle relaxation. Although these techniques seem to reduce stress and promote well-being, its still unclear exactly what benefits relaxation therapy techniques provide for asthma. Initial research does show that muscle relaxation techniques may improve lung function.
Naturopathy. This method aims to stimulate the bodys self-healing response using very small doses of substances that cause symptoms. In the case of asthma, naturopathic remedies are made from substances that generally trigger an asthmatic reaction, such as pollen or weeds. Theres still not enough clear evidence to determine if naturopathy helps treat asthma. The substances that trigger symptoms are used in such minute amounts they are unlikely to cause a reaction. Even so, most asthma experts discourage naturopathic treatment.
Massage and chiropractic treatment. Although some claim that these treatments help, theres no solid evidence that physical manipulation of the spine or muscles, such as massage therapy or chiropractic treatments, helps with asthma symptoms.
Muscle training. This technique helps strengthen the lung muscles with a series of breathing exercises using a special, hand-held breathing apparatus. This type of lung training is sometimes used for other lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and to strengthen the lungs after certain types of surgery. There still isnt sufficient evidence to verify whether this technique helps with asthma.
Herbal remedies. These include butterbur, ginkgo extract and dried ivy that may help with asthma symptoms. But studies are unclear about the benefit of these or other herbal treatments for asthma. Herbal remedies can cause unwanted side effects and interact with prescription medications and they may not contain consistent doses and may contain harmful substances. Always talk to your doctor before trying any herbal remedy.
If you do decide to try any complementary or alternative treatment for asthma, be sure to first talk to your doctor about it and continue your regular treatment. Though some of these treatments may help, when it comes to controlling asthma, alternative treatment is never a substitute for prescribed medications and advice from your doctor.
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