A holistic approach to healing.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is defined by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine as “a group of diverse healthcare systems, practices, and products that are not considered part of conventional medicine”. Many patients with asthma use CAMs as an attempt to reduce asthma-related impairment.
The appeal of treating asthma with vitamins, natural herbal treatments, exercise programs, and acupuncture are some of the many non-traditional approaches to asthma care. These unconventional treatments offer an approach that feels more wholesome, using substances found in the natural world seems safer to patients, and also consistent with their culture and beliefs.
The evidence is still insufficient to recommend most complementary and alternative medicines for asthma. The most commonly reported CAM used among Asthma patients was breathing techniques. These techniques include Buteyko breathing and inspiratory muscle training, both which provide the tools to consciously reduce the rate of breathing, as well as increase the overall volume of air taken in with each breath (increasing lung capacity).
Caffeine appears to improve airways function and relieve the symptoms of asthma for up to four hours after consumption.
Herbal remedies which include the use of plants and plant extracts to treat asthma.
Note: patients must be aware while using some herbal treatments because they may contain harmful ingredients or may interact with other pharmaceutical products.
Antioxidants such as magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin E may have some effect on asthma. Also Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D.
Meditation and yoga (relaxation therapy) tend to improve breathing and help relieve some symptoms.
Acupuncture: commonly used due to low cost and ease of accessibility, no reliable data supported the efficacy of it and its limited effect of treating asthma.
In summary, CAM interventions have been reported to provide a form of benefit in terms of relieving symptoms, scientific evidence exists with regard to some CAM therapies, yet there are many questions that remain unanswered.