Updated 26 October 2017

Breathing exercises help asthma

Breathing exercises might help control asthma, results of a study hint.

Breathing exercises might help control asthma, results of a study hint. In the study, adults with asthma who received breathing training showed improvement in their health and psychological well-being, and suffered fewer symptoms.

Dr M. Thomas, of the University of Aberdeen, UK, and colleagues conducted a randomised study in which 183 asthma patients with impaired health status received either three sessions of physiotherapist-supervised breathing training, or nurse-delivered education. Those who learned the breathing exercises were asked to practice them for at least 10 minutes a day.

How the study was done
At one month, similar improvements on an asthma-specific quality of life questionnaire were observed in both groups. At six months, however, significant "between-group" differences were evident. Patients in the breathing training group were less anxious and depressed, had fewer asthma-related symptoms, and scored better on lung function tests.

The breathing exercises, however, did not produce any significant changes in airway inflammation or airway "twitchiness."

"This study," the investigators say, "suggests that breathing exercises may potentially have a role in patients with suboptimally controlled mild to moderate asthma, but the use of such techniques must occur with patient education on the ongoing need for anti-inflammatory pharmacotherapy." - (Reuters Health, January 2009)

Read more:
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Sweating linked to asthma


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Professor Keertan Dheda has received of several prestigious awards including the 2014 Oppenheimer Award, and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and holds 3 patents related to new TB diagnostic or infection control technologies. He serves on the editorial board of the journals PLoS One, the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, Lancet Respiratory Diseases and Nature Scientific Reports, amongst others.Read his full biography at the University of Cape Town Lung Institute

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