Asthma is well-managed using naturopathic medicine.
Asthma occurs when the airways in your lungs (bronchial tubes) become blocked through inflammation, muscle constriction and excessive mucous production.
It is unclear why some persons get asthma and others do not, but potential triggers of asthma for those susceptible include air pollutants (e.g., smog, tobacco smoke), airborne allergens (e.g., pollen, animal dander, molds), food allergens (e.g., shellfish, sulfite food preservatives), certain medications (e.g., aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), respiratory infections, cold air, physical exertion, emotional stress and menses.
Early treatment of asthma, especially in children, may prevent long-term lung damage and prevent worsening of the condition over time.
Seek professional healthcare if you have frequent coughs that last more than a few days, or other symptoms that cause you to suspect you have asthma.
Seek emergency medical care if:
- Your asthma attack symptoms do not improve with use of short-acting bronchodilator medication
- You experience shortness of breath with minimal activity
- You experience rapid worsening of shortness of breath
Symptoms of Asthma
Possible symptoms of asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness or pain
- Wheezing or whistling sound made on exhaling
- Coughing or wheezing episodes aggravated by respiratory illness (e.g., common cold)
Treatment of Asthma at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, the goals of asthma treatment are to identify and address triggers of your asthma attacks, reduce or eliminate asthma attack frequency and prevent long-term lung damage.
Conventional treatment for asthma may include long-term use of a variety of control medications including corticosteroids, long-acting beta-2 agonists, leukotriene modifiers and cromolyn sodium; “quick relief” medications such as ipratropium; oral or intravenous corticosteroids; or allergy injections. These treatments may have short- or long-term side effects.
For this reason, you may choose to try natural treatment to possibly avoid use of conventional medications, or together with conventional medications in order to decrease dosages of conventional medications required to manage your asthma symptoms.
Naturopathic treatment of any chronic health concern must be recognized as a process that involves:
- Identifying specific treatment goals
- Development by your naturopathic doctor, of a thorough understanding of all factors affecting your health, including physical, psychological, emotional and lifestyle factors
- Development of a comprehensive treatment plan
- Implementation and maintenance of that plan through periodic monitoring and adjustment
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, a typical approach to treating asthma may be to:
- Identify and address underlying factors in your lifestyle (e.g., environmental and dietary factors, stress, use of certain medications, sedentary lifestyle, weight management) or general health (e.g., heartburn) that may be contributing to your asthma symptoms
- Relax muscles of airways using Bowen Therapy or botanical (herbal) medicines
- Reduce potential for inflammation using botanical (herbal) medicines or nutritional supplements
- Prevent recurrence using Bowen Therapy
Where appropriate, a number of therapeutic options are available, to be used alone, or more often in a complementary fashion, including:
- Nutritional counseling
- Nutritional supplements
- Metabolic detoxification protocols
- Botanical (herbal) medicines
- Bowen Therapy
- Exercise prescription
- Relaxation (meditation) training
- Lifestyle medicine and counseling
- Registered massage therapy
Treatments provided by naturopathic doctors and registered massage therapists are covered by most extended healthcare plans.
Asthma [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2009 Feb 18]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/asthma/DS00021.