5 Alternative Approaches to Treating Asthma

What are Alternative Treatments

Natural remedies are alternative therapies, or a natural cure, that people try instead of, or in addition to some of the more traditional approaches that are recommended by modern medicine. Alternative treatment options that people try today can range from using different herbal treatments to eating certain foods to engaging in exercises to strengthen breathing. People who are in favor of natural remedies are often drawn to the holistic approach of treating the entire body, not just one specific part or symptoms, and to the fact that there are generally fewer side effects with alternative methods than with taking medications. That being said, many doctors feel that there isn't enough data to prove these approaches work to keep asthma symptoms at bay.

Different Approaches

If you want to try incorporating a natural cure into your daily lifestyle and you aren't deterred by the lack of data proving the effectiveness, here are some things you may want to explore:

Take a breath. There are a variety of breathing techniques that people try to strengthen their airways and help people with asthma to breathe better. The Buteyko Breathing Technique is one popular method that relies on a host of shallow breathing exercises in order to raise people's levels of carbon dioxide, which is said to dilate the smooth airways muscles and reduce asthma symptoms. While a few studies have found that some participants do experience improvement, critics say that this is an expensive option and question its true effectiveness.

Add more color in your diet. Some people believe that eating a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables such as bright orange carrots, red tomatoes and dark green leafy lettuces can have a preventative effect on asthma. In addition, there are many other health benefits that you will get from the nutrients.

Consider the benefits of plants and herbs. There are many natural herbs and plants that are said to have healing properties that some people believe can improve or prevent asthma symptoms. For instance, a shrub extract called Butterbur and a pineapple extract called Bromelain have been used by some patients to reduce airway inflammation with some success. And an herb called boswellia is said to prevent leukotrienes, which are natural chemicals produced by your body that can cause your airways to narrow and prompt an asthma attack. Just keep in mind that these and other such natural substances can also trigger allergies and come with a host of their own side effects, so always check with your doctor before trying any of them.

Eat more healthy fats. A fat called arachidonic acid causes inflammation and is thought to trigger asthma symptoms. Increasing your levels of healthier fats is one strategy to counteract the effect. To this end, some people take Omega-3 fatty acid capsules with positive results. You can also reduce inflammation by cutting down on your intake of arachidonic acid by eating less in the way of egg yolks, shellfish and meat, which are foods that contain this substance.

Relax. When you relieve some of your stress, you may just find you also reduce some of your asthma symptoms at the same time. That's why you may want to look into the variety of alternative methods that are said to achieve a calmer state of mind. These include meditation, biofeedback, hypnosis and a technique called progressive muscle relaxation. The jury is still out on what benefits these approaches will bring, but there is some thought that when you relax your muscles, your lung function may improve as well.

Proceed With Caution

Before trying any alternative methods or natural cure to treat asthma, always check with your doctor first. Also make sure that you continue taking your control medications and fast-acting relief inhalers as your doctor recommends so you don't take any unnecessary health risks.