Skip to comments.A Breathing Technique Offers Help for People With Asthma
Posted on 11/02/2009 10:44:23 PM PST by neverdem
I dont often write about alternative remedies for serious medical conditions. Most have little more than anecdotal support, and few have been found effective in well-designed clinical trials. Such trials randomly assign patients to one of two or more treatments and, wherever possible, assess the results without telling either the patients or evaluators who received which treatment.
Now, however, in describing an alternative treatment for asthma that does not yet have top clinical ratings in this country (although it is taught in Russian medical schools and covered by insurance in Australia), I am going beyond my usually stringent research criteria for three reasons:
¶The treatment, a breathing technique discovered half a century ago, is harmless if practiced as directed with a well-trained therapist.
¶It has the potential to improve the health and quality of life of many people with asthma, while saving health care dollars.
¶Ive seen it work miraculously well for a friend, David Wiebe, who had little choice but to stop using the steroid medications that were keeping him alive.
Mr. Wiebe, 58, of Woodstock, N.Y., is a well-known maker of violins and cellos with a 48-year history of severe asthma that was treated with bronchodilators and steroids for two decades. Ten years ago, Mr. Wiebe noticed gradually worsening vision problems, eventually diagnosed as a form of macular degeneration caused by the steroids. Two leading retina specialists told him to stop using the drugs if he wanted to preserve his sight.
He did, and endured several terrifying trips to the emergency room when asthma attacks raged out of...
Treatment From the 50s
Then, last spring, someone told him about the Buteyko method, a shallow-breathing technique developed in 1952 by a Russian doctor, Konstantin Buteyko. Mr. Wiebe watched a video demonstration on YouTube and mimicked the instructions shown...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
What about something preemptive, so people with asthma can do physical activity?
Thanks for posting this - my mom has both asthma and macular degeneration like the guy in the article! I will look into it - she doesn’t have access to YouTube, so I may have to learn it myself, lol.
wow- I dunno- when you are suffering an attack, it’s panic time- I can’t imagine takign shallower breaths. I’ve been on Advair for awhile now, and it’s a great medication- I don’t get short of breath anymore, but If I do, I’ll give the shallow breathing a shot- just seems so whacked though because hwen you’re starving for breath, ya just panic and breath deep
I’ve thought about breathing exercises as an alternative to steroids, but imagined it would be a deep breathing process like a vocalist would use, not a short one like the Buteyko method.
People should be careful about trying new methods to treat asthma especially with the flu season on top of us. It’s also a good idea to check for warnings regarding steroid treatment as it relates to the flu strains we’re now battling.
If someone has exercise induced asthma, they should ask their doc for an albuterol metered dose inhaler prescription if the doc agrees. Maybe mastering this breathing technique would make that unnecessary.
public service announcement time
If we would give them a breathalyzer, and a little treatment. You know, some treatment, and a, a breathalyzer.
A breathalyzer and the Last Rites, LOL!
ping for later (and thanks for posting!)
OTOH, I become very suspicious when I see claims like this: The Method helps in overcoming various illnesses, especially asthma, COPD, allergies, stuffy nose and other breathing difficulties, anxiety, depression, skin problems, issues with metabolism and the immune system as well as many other diseases. This method is a powerful tool in creating general health.
I've seen and heard way too many snake oil salesmen and "miracle ingedients/cures" that were also touted as panaceas, to take this at face value: Dr. Joel Wallach, and his various scams; blue-green algae; drinking urine; acai; vinegar & honey; aromatherapy; macrobiotics; Scientology....
I was a Weblow cub scout leader and had the boys away at camp when a ten year old boy came to me having a severe asthma attack and said he didn’t have his inhaler. We were fairly remote and there was no way to quick get him medical help.
I have never done this previously, or since, but I placed my hand on this boys stomache and pressed in, while telling him to inhale and push my hand outward with his stomache. In 3 or 4 breathes, his attack was gone. I was as amazed as he was that it worked.
Thanks - my daughter has asthma ... I’ll pass this along.
Preemptive treatment is the inhaled steroids. Albuteral will treat an attack without steroids. But that will increase heart rate. No medication comes without a side effect.
Thanks for the ping!
I’ve heard of this from a respiratory therapist years ago. I don’t know why the medical establishment is so resistant to alternative treatments like this. All the doctors I know really, truly do want to help their patients, in spite of the claim by the naturalists that the medical community wants to continue to see people sick because of the profit.
I certainly agree with the author’s point. Much of what the natural/alternative health community purports sounds pretty whacked out, BUT they have been right in the past on a surprising number of rather major issues.
I suppose that that is what keeps me from blowing them off completely.
I do wish, however, that American healthcare would be more open to new and less invasive, innovative ideas.
I had asthma as a child and had my last serious attack when I was 18. My breathing gets a little tight when I am exposed to things in the air that irritate like smoke and chemical fumes but as soon as I get clean air I am OK. This is very interesting.
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