I have a great affinity for asthma sufferers in the world. I had asthma from when I was a very young child until my teen years. It was so severe at times that they put me in makeshift vaporizing tents to help relieve the symptoms. I couldn’t participate in a lot of physical activities because it would bring on an attack. I no longer have asthma, thankfully, but I learned a few things along the way and would like to share those tidbits of wisdom with you. I didn’t call this post natural cures for asthma, although I guess it has some components of that, but really it is more about learning how to control your asthma and easing the panicky feelings one gets, as well as some alternatives to inhalers and drugs.
It is hard to describe asthma to someone who has never experienced it. That panicked feeling of not being able to take in enough oxygen no matter how many times you take a breath. The inability to participate in activities because it might bring on an attack. It can be a frightening and debilitating illness. In fact, I get exhausted just remembering how hard it was trying to take a breath. I overcame asthma because of a wonderful country doctor. I think he was before his time. I have read articles since his passing that talked about the same treatment he used on me as if it were new material. I owe my recovery to his innovative ideas and my parents commitment to see that I followed his advice.
The first thing he had me do was breathing exercises. I know that sounds strange but it isn’t really when you understand what happens to someone with asthma. During an attack the air sacks in the lungs become filled with fluids, which cuts down on the capacity of the lungs to take in air. An inhaler opens the air sacks to help the fluid drain. Well these forced breathing exercises essentially do the same thing. I never used inhalers whether that was because he didn’t believe in them or they weren’t around I am not sure. I just know that my doctor had me blow a feather across a long table in one long drawn out breath. I would have to do this for 20 minutes everyday. (I did this for several years.) I remember thinking how mean he was because he would make me blow even when I didn’t think I had any air left in me. I even told my mother it was a stupid exercise because I couldn’t take in enough air to be able to blow out. However, that wasn’t entirely true because every time I blew the feather across the table in one long breath the next time I inhaled I could take in more air and blow the feather even further. I was eventually able to blow the feather the entire length of the table in one breath. Now this was very exhausting and would make me light headed but it did help me to breath better and I found as time went on that I could control my asthma whenever I had an attack. I simply had to stop what I was doing and do my breathing exercises and after a few minutes I could start to breath a little more normally. I never panicked after that because I knew I would be able to help myself breathe better and also be able to control it.
I know you are thinking why go to all that trouble and hard work when the inhaler would do the same thing. Well maybe my story will change your mind. Sometime after my last symptoms of asthma had disappeared I came down with an respiratory illness. I went to the doctor and during his questions I mentioned I had once had asthma. He decided to do a breathing test to make sure asthma was not contributing to my problems and to better know how to treat my illness. He decided to measure my lung capacity as well. Not only did I not have any lingering asthma symptoms but my lung capacity was that of an athlete. I know that was a direct result of those breathing exercises.
An article I read not long ago talked about the same kind of treatment for controlling asthma. The author/doctor suggested doing some of the breathing exercises upside down or lying on your back on your bed with your head hanging over the edge. He said that position during the forced breathing exercises would help that expelled fluid to drain more easily from the lungs rather than doing it in a standing position.
The next thing he did for me was to get me tested for allergies. I know that is common practice now but it wasn’t when I was young. What was even more amazing was how he figured out and treated what was really triggering my asthma. I know they don’t even do it anymore, that is if they have ever heard of it, because I have asked other doctors about it when my own daughter developed asthma. In analyzing the things I was allergic to, which were quite a few, he realized that my most severe attacks occurred when I was ill. He realized that the thing I was most allergic to was my own bacteria. He had the lab make up a serum using my own bacteria as the base along with some of the other allergens. For the next 10 years I received a shot once a week.
Radical? Inspirational? I don’t know what to call it, but I know it worked and it helped my own daughter as well. If it could help someone to not have to rely on drugs and inhalers so much wouldn’t it be worth trying? Well I guess that is for you to decide, but I hope you will think about it.