Asthma — When Breathing Becomes Scary

There are many different types of asthma, reflecting the different etiologies of this scary airway disorder.

In reality, asthma, no matter what type, refers to the sudden, temporary bronchoconstriction (bronchospasm) brought on by air pollutants, exercise, cold air, and emotions.

The causes of asthma are many.

At the top of the list of air pollutants is cigarette smoke.  Others on the list are chemical fumes, dust, animal dander, insect feces, bird feces, perfumes, and any type of spray, among others.  These irritants cause inflammation, injury, and potentially scarring of the airways.  The body protects the airways through mucus production to flush out the irritants.  Exposure to air pollution of any kind can set off an inflammatory reaction with excess mucus, swelling, and bronchoconstriction.

A fair number of top professional athletes suffer from exercise induced asthma.  The extreme and/or sudden demand on the respiratory system during sprints and sudden explosive movements may set off the wrong switch.  Instead of the airways opening up wide to allow the inhalation of more air, they clamp shut.  We might call it a charley horse of the airways.

Cold air may also cause bronchoconstriction.  This may be due to constriction of blood vessels in the airways (trachea, bronchi, and lungs), resulting in decreased delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and a reactive bronchospasm to stop the flow of cold air through the airways.

Emotion is a powerful type of energy that may wreak havoc with our ability to breathe.

It is always a mystery how emotions can cause illness.  Fear, anxiety, anger, and frustration cause chaos in the energy pathways of the body, the meridians.  This is a difficult concept for most of us Westerners.  We just don’t think in terms of energy supply, pathways, and energy balance the way the Chinese, Japanese, and people of India do.  Let me use the analogy of the electrical system in our homes to help clarify this concept.

The electrical wires in our homes bring energy in the form of electricity to all the wall outlets.  All our appliances, entertainment systems, computers, heating and cooling systems, etc depend on the flow of electricity in order to operate.  Without this constant flow of electricity, nothing works.  So it is with the body.

The meridians bring the energy to all the cells, tissues, organs, and other structures of the body.  An interruption of this flow of energy results in erratic behavior in the body.  The metabolism slows down or goes into overdrive, the immune system sleeps on the job or becomes overreactive, the organs can’t do their jobs properly, the musculoskeletal system becomes painful and stiff, and so forth.

Emotions lead to the contraction of muscles in the neck, shoulders, back, abdomen, and in the chest where we have the lungs, and the heart.  When muscles contract, they shorten and compress anything that lies underneath them, such as blood vessels, nerves, lymph vessels, and the meridians.

Connective tissue distortion affects the functioning of every structure embedded within it.

Moreover, the connective tissue of the body, which weaves through and envelops all the cells, tissues, organs, and other structures of the body, including the meridians, becomes stretched, compressed, and distorted by the pull and pressure of tight muscles.   This is analagous to the compression and distortion of electrical wires, interrupting the flow of electricity.

Thus, emotions can set off bronchospasms through the distortion in the connective tissue, caused by tight muscles along the spine, and in the chest.

Conventional treatment for asthma.

While corticosteroid inhalers and other asthma drugs help to keep the airways open, and ward off many visits to the emergency room, these medications (over-the-counter and prescription) can not cure asthma.  Moreover, they have numerous side effects, some of them very serious and potentially life threatening.

Natural treatments options for asthma.

Natural medicine (alternative medicine, naturopathic medicine) has much to offer in the treatment of asthma.  The natural methods, such as herbs, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, craniosacral therapy, energetic unwinding of the spine, joints & muscles, acupressure, and acupuncture all can help to heal the lining of the respiratory tract, strengthen and balance the immune system, calm the emotions, and re-establish and balance the flow of energy.

These methods not only address the bronchoconstriction but also help the body to heal from the causes of this scary airway constriction.

Until the next natural healing perspective blog…

To Your Health