Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways of the lungs causing breathing difficulties. Asthma is  linked to a reaction to a stimulus from pollen, dust, chemicals, dairy foods and drinks as well as a whole host of others. The walls of the bronchioles swell, the cells lining the tubes secrete abnormal, increased amounts of mucus and the smooth muscles in the tubes contract. As this happens breathing becomes more and more difficult. Signs/symptoms include wheezing, coughing, tightness in the chest and shortness of breath. Asthma symptoms range from minor to severe and vary from person to person. You may have infrequent asthma attacks, have symptoms only at certain times — such as when exercising — or have symptoms all the time.

For some people, asthma symptoms flare up in certain situations:

  • Exercise-induced asthma, which may be worse when the air is cold and dry
  • Occupational asthma, triggered by workplace irritants such as chemical fumes, gases or dust
  • Allergy-induced asthma, triggered by particular allergens, such as pet dander, cockroaches or pollen
  • With stress, diagnosis shocks, accidents or every day work or family stress

Asthma' symptoms can be controlled and relieved by improving mechanics, balancing structure, easing tensions and imbalances in respiratory muscles and relaxation massage. Self help techniques included specific ways to nurture yourself, breathing techniques and relaxation techniques. Working the lungs through the feet with Reflexology is very effective. Stress Management is essential. Relaxation and Relaxation Massage can make a great difference to stress management and therefore managing asthma.

Because asthma often changes over time and in response to therapies, it is advisable to check with your doctor to track your signs and symptoms and adjust treatment as needed.

Dietary changes will be necessary and Reflexology can help by relieving tensions in the lungs and the muscles via the feet.

  • Reflexology is very effective for sinusitis as well as helping in many other respiratory conditions
  • Clinical Aromatherapy can help in many respiratory problems used in sprays and inhalations.
  • Osteopathy and Remedial & Sports Massage  have many effective techniques for chronic respiratory problems by working on the respiratory muscles and mobilising the areas. 
  • Osteopaths will help by improving the mechanics of the ribs and thoracic spine.
  • Shiatsu works with pressing certain points, similar to acupuncture, to encourage a free flow of energy. When there are inconsistencies in energy flow e.g. too much, too little, congestions and blockages occur, interfering with healing.
  • Breathing Techniques are useful but do be careful to monitor how you are feeling as you do them
  • Emotional Freedom Technique works with stess reduction, assisting breathing and also with the emotional part of asthma - not that we can separate one from the other.

Remember that improving posture will also help respiration. We often do not breathe properly. It is important too, to inhale fresh air to balance the time we spend in stuffy or polluted atmospheres.

There are several breathing techniques we recommend but these should be done with caution if you are having a flare up in conditions.

The risk factor is a life-threatening asthma attack. If this is suspected, go to A and E

NB Status asthmaticus (severe acute asthma) is a medical emergency. It manifests as excessive wheezing affecting speech, exhaustion, dyspnoea, restlessness, and a pulse rate of over 110 per minute in an adult.

DANGER SIGNS – pale, clammy, cyanosis, prolonged asthmatic attack, non-response to inhalers. This is an emergency condition and must be treated in hospital without delay

Reducing stress is of utmost importance and Swedish Massage can help here. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can also help.


Osteopathic treatment involves realigning the spine which will influence the nerves which play a role in all body functions, especially breathing. Restoring healthy nerve function to the lungs and airways helps these structures work as they were designed to do. Treatment also involves improving and freeing off joints in the ribcage so that the thoracic cavity which houses the lungs and airways can expand as it should and take in the necessary air needed for life. Children benefit from osteopathic treatment for asthma. The flare ups of asthma often reduce not only in frequency but also in intensity.

Matrix Reimprinting and Emotional Freedom Technique

Asthma and other chronic conditions have been linked to past traumas that are stored in our memory field. We offer EFT and Matrix Reimprinting at Brooks-Carter Clinic.

Peter Levine, Bruce Lipton, Gabor Mate have much information, in books and on-line, in regard to the long lasting effects of trauma on a person's health.


While some alternative remedies are used for asthma, in most cases more research is needed to see how well they work and to measure the extent of possible side effects. Alternative asthma treatments include:

  • Breathing techniques. These exercises may reduce the amount of medication you need to keep your asthma symptoms under control. Yoga classes increase fitness and reduce stress, which may help with asthma as well.
  • Acupuncture. This technique involves placing very thin needles at strategic points on your body. It's safe and generally painless.
  • Shiatsu is a whole body therapy done through the clothes. The therapist assesses which energy meridians are out of balance and causing the breathing difficulties. He also uses specific acupressure points in his treatment, the goal of which is to balance the system so that healing can take place and signs and symptoms diminish
  • Relaxation techniques. Techniques such as meditation, biofeedback, hypnosis and progressive muscle relaxation may help with asthma by reducing tension and stress. Also massage, reflexology, Shiatsu etc.
  • Herbal and natural remedies. A few herbal and natural remedies that may help improve asthma symptoms include caffeine, magnesium and pycnogenol. Blends of different types of herbs are commonly used in traditional Chinese, Indian and Japanese medicine. However, more studies are needed to determine how well herbal remedies and preparations work for asthma.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. Found in fish, flaxseed and other foods, these healthy oils may reduce the inflammation that leads to asthma symptoms.