Stuck on an inhaler every since I can remember, I don't take it as often as i used to, but now my kid is showing signs. Does Asthma run in families? what can Acupuncture do for us?
Asthma is a chronic lung disorder, where the walls of the airways, become inflamed, often due to exposure to environmental triggers. The immune response causes swelling of the bronchial tubes and production of excessive mucus from the walls. This causes the tubes to narrow, blocking the passage of air producing symptoms ranging from mild wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and cough to potentially life threatening condition known as Status Asthmaticus, where prolonged constriction of the airways reduces oxygen supply to the body. An estimated 20 million Americans suffer from asthma and every day, 5000 patients visit the emergency room. It is the most common chronic condition among children, affecting more than one child in twenty. Allergies, chronic respiratory infections and hypersensitivity of the immune system are the most common causes of asthma.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been treating asthma for thousands of years. In recent years, the World Health Organization listed forty diseases that can benefit from acupuncture. Respiratory tract diseases, including asthma and bronchitis, were included on that list. There are many studies demonstrating the success of acupuncture and Chinese herbs for the treatment of asthma, as an example, in 1993, the Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care at the University Hospital of Vienna, Austria, conducted a study which demonstrated that after ten weeks of acupuncture treatments, over 70% of long-standing asthma patients achieved significant improvement. The key to my successful treatment of asthma relies on improving and balancing the immune system, reducing allergic reactions, eliminating excess mucous, and increasing lung capacity. I incorporate Chinese herbs, acupuncture and specialized Qi Gong exercises to achieve these results. Here are some recommendations that can help with asthma. It is important to have regular checkups with your doctor and be aware of asthma triggers. This can prevent potentially life threatening incidents. Do not stop your asthma medications unless supervised by your physician.
In our clinic we have seen many pediatric cases of Asthma and for many of them one of our recommendations is to help develop the child's lung capacity, the best way to do is by swimming, If you can, enroll in a swim team or take the child to the local swimming pool for regular swimming exercises. Swimming strains the lungs and thereby stimulates development and increases lung capacity.
Numerous studies have found that overweight and obesity contribute to asthma. Proper diet rich in complex carbohydrates, low fats and moderate proteins is recommended. During remission of asthma attacks it is important to nourish and tonify the lungs. Incorporate more tomatoes, carrots, green leafy vegetables, green and yellow bell peppers, yams, pumpkin, winter melon, squash, figs, daikon radish, mustard greens, sesame seeds, walnuts, almonds, apricot kernels, basil, tangerines, litchi fruits, loquats, and honey. Studies show that regular high consumption of apples can protect against asthma. Drink plenty of water and always warm or at room temperature.
Reduce or eliminate foods containing arachidonic acids, a fat found in shellfish, meets and egg yolks. Arachidonic acid was found to be a trigger in asthma. Avoid foods that produce mucous, including dairy products, especially ice cream, cold and raw foods, watermelon, bananas, salty foods, sweet foods containing simple processed sugars and sodas.
• Take one small winter melon and cut the top off. Remove seeds and fill with 2 tablespoons of honey or molasses, close top with cheesecloth and steam or broil for 10 minutes. Consume daily for 7 days.
• Drink apricot kernel tea, by boiling ¼ cup of raw kernels (shells removed) in 16 oz of water for 30 minutes.
• Drink fresh fig juice with ½ cup of warm water daily
• EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) from fish oil, and GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) from borage or evening primrose oil are helpful omega 3 fatty acids, which help reduce arachidonic acid in the body.
• 200 mg per day of vitamin C can help with inflammation.
• 200-300mg three times per day of Quercetin acts similarly to many asthma medications to inhibit inflammatory response.
• Tylophora indica (also called Tylophora asthmatica) 200 mg twice daily
• 300 mg three times per day of Boswellia serrata, was shown in clinical research to suppress inflamation
• Vitamin B Complex including B6 and B12 have also been shown to benefit pediatric asthma.
Helpful Herbal Remedies
• Several Chinese herbs have been used as bronchodilators to help with asthma, Including Ginkgo seeds, earthworm, schizonepeta, ephedra, perilla leaf, white mustard seed, platycodon, and Chinese chive bulbs.
• A good formula for remission state pediatric asthma is the “Three seed decoction to nourish ones parents,” containing white mustard seeds, perilla seeds, and radish seeds.
• Another formulation, specifically for acute asthma with excessive thick yellow phlegm and fevers, is the “Arrest wheezing” formula containing, ephedra, ginkgo seeds, perilla seeds, mulberry bark, skullcap, apricot kernels, pinellia, and coltsfoot flower.
• These herbs and formulas should be obtained from a licensed practitioner.
Mind Body and breathing Exercises
It is not recommended to exercise during an asthma attack, as this will worsen the situation. Calm and rest are important. Sitting or calm walk in fresh air can help. During remission moderate physical exercises can be integrated. Walking is good. For children, swimming exercise can help increase lung capacity. I recommend daily qi gong exercises to strengthen the body, open the lungs and improve capacity. The Eight Treasure Exercises are a wonderful set of Qi Gong movements, that, when performed daily for 30 minutes can improve the overall health. In particular the second movement of the practice called “great bird spreads its wings” is specially targeted to the lungs. Perform this exercise twice daily for best results.
1. In a quiet comfortable environment, preferably outdoors, stand with feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, spine erect, tailbone tucked in and head slightly tilted forward. Drape you arms at your sides, shoulders relaxed.
2. Being a preparatory breathing with a rhythmic, slow and relaxed breath. Inhale deeply softly and imagine the breath extending all the way down to the lower abdomen, about two-finger width below the umbilicus. Exhale gently and softly. Stay in this position for seven breath cycles and begin to relax and calm your mind.
3. Begin the exercise. Inhale bending down from your waist to drape the hands between your legs. Exhale and being gently swaying your arms back and forth, as a pendulum. The arms should be totally relaxed and motion should be rhythmic and gentle. Sway your hands back and forth for three times.
4. Inhale raise your torso back to the standing position, raise your arms to the chest, bringing the energy to the chest area and bend your knees more to get into a squatting position.
5. Exhale and spread your arms, palms facing out to both sides. As if you are pushing to the left and right sides. As you exhale, push your hands out three times.
6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 for seven times
7. To complete the exercise. Return to the starting standing posture; place your hands on the lower abdomen palms down one hand over the other. Rub your lower abdomen seven times in a clockwise small circles just below the umbilicus.
• During Acute asthma attack avoid excessive physical activity, get plenty of rest.
• Alcohol, smoking and caffeine are stimulants and can worsen the condition.
• Exposure to cold weather can trigger an asthma attach, bundle up and stay worm
• Stress, anxiety and emotional upsets are often known to trigger asthma, especially in children.
• Drug allergies can cause asthma, Aspirin is one such drug especially to those with allergies to it.