DALLAS – Asthmatics can improve their conditions by changing the way they breathe, say experts.
ThomasRitz and AliciaMeuret, from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, have developed a four-week program to teach asthmatics how to better control their condition with the help of new breathing techniques.
During an attack, sufferers tend to hyperventilate, breathing fast and deep against constricted airways to fight an overwhelming feeling of oxygen deprivation.
Unfortunately, this makes the problem worse by lowering the body’s carbon dioxide levels, which restricts blood flow to the brain and can further irritate already hypersensitive bronchial passages.
Patients who “overbreathe” on a sustained basis risk chronic CO2 deficiencies that make them even more vulnerable to future attacks.
Rescue medications that relieve asthma symptoms do nothing to correct breathing difficulties associated with hyperventilation.
As part of a four week program, Ritz and Meuret use their biofeedback-based Capnometry-Assisted Respiratory Training (CART) to teach asthma patients to normalize and reverse chronic overbreathing.
A hand-held device called a capnometer measures the amount of CO2 exhaled. Using this device, patients learn how to breathe more slowly, shallowly and regularly.
Ritz said that CART techniques could have a positive impact on quality of asthma treatment even as they reduce the need for acute care.
“The research shows that this kind of respiratory therapy can limit both the severity and frequency of asthma attacks. That means fewer doctor visits and less frequent use of rescue medications, with the associated savings of both time and money,” he said
“The training gives patients new ways to deal with acute symptoms, and that helps them to feel more in control,” said Meuret.
HONG KONG – Chinese herbal remedies and medicines such as ginger, garlic, ginseng, and others have become quite common in Western culture. Many of us have assimilated these traditional Chinese herbal remedies into our daily lives in an effort to promote better health and well-being.
But there are many lesser known Chinese herbal remedies that are still undergoing testing and research to determine their healthful properties, despite the fact that they have been used by the Chinese for thousands of years.
Corydalis is one such herb that is said to have a number of healthy benefits. Traditionally used to bring pain relief, Corydalis is also said to help prevent cardiovascular disease and strokes. Studies have also proven the herb to have an effect on lowering blood pressure and relieving the symptoms of heart arrhythmia. It has also been utilized as a cure for insomnia in traditional Chinese medicine, and to treat stomach ulcers. Scientists are very interested in Corydalis, as a number of healthful properties are still being discovered.
Reishi mushrooms are used as a Chinese herbal remedy to treat a variety of ailments, including fatigue and weakness, helping to revive the body with energy. Reishi mushrooms have been shown to contain a number of useful compounds that may help with lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and reducing the risk of coronary disease. Other healthful properties may also include benefits for individuals suffering from diabetes and hepatitis B.Reishi is consumed either as a dried mushroom or in a tea.
Most westerners know of licorice as a tasty candy, but the licorice plant has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years and plays a number of useful parts as an herbal remedy. Proven to help fight against infection and aid in digestion, acting as a soothing aid in the stomach, intestines, and urinary tracts, it also provides relief from ulcers, sore throats, and coughs and canker sores.
The healthful properties of licorice stem from its high amount of anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants. Licorice is used to treat many other ailments in Chinese medicine, and its healthy properties and benefits are still being studied extensively.
Dong quai is a member of the celery family and its root is used as a medicinal herb beneficial to women. In traditional chinese medicine, it has been used to treat painful menstruation and other related ailments in women, and cardiovascular disease in both men and women. Dong quai is usually combined with other herbs to help with other ailments and afflictions, such as anemia.
The root of the Astragalus plant has been utilized in a tonic to help cure fevers, fatigue, the common cold and cough, and is said to help strengthen the immune system. The various flavanoids found in the root of Astragalus are being studied to determine their effects on cancer prevention and other diseases, such as viral hepatitis. It is normally taken as a tincture or with tea.
The berries of the Ligustrum shrub have been used for a variety of benefits in traditional Chinese medicine, specifically for strengthening the immune system and treating infections. Other useful properties may include cancer prevention, though studies have yet to prove this.
The medicinal properties of the bupleurum plant are mainly focused in the roots, and have been used for thousands of years to treat a number of ailments. Used on its own or as an ingredient in a powerful herbal formula known as sho-saiko-to, bupleurum root is said to be able to treat infection, liver disease, hemorrhoids, and other afflictions. The root contains anti-inflammatory properties and may also aid in treating hepatitis and even epilepsy.