Breathing lessons to help asthma symptoms

I'm a lifelong asthmatic from Australia. I listened this morning (07/12/08) to a radio interview with Dr Mike Thomas on ABC Radio National's Health Report (you can listen to it here, or read the transcript: abc.net.au/rn/healthreport/... ).

When I was a child in the 1960s my grandfather (also a lifelong asthmatic) taught me how to do diaphragm breathing and I have breathed this way ever since. I have always found it to be helpful, especially when symptoms are persistent, or if I've been caught out without a 'puffer' at the onset of an attack. Diaphragm breathing has been enough to keep the attack from worsening until I can reach my reliever medication. My dear old granddad also recommended ginger to help with symptoms. This is in the decades before preventer and reliever medications were available.

I often think that asthma is a condition where one can not-so-much breathe as exhale, which therefore results in the lungs remaining full of air, making further intake of air impossible. At least that's how it feels for me. Regards, Kate

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  • I have been going the the physio at Southend Hospital and can confirm that diaphragm breathing is providing help, by helping to remove some of the hyperventillation which can sneak in with an attack. It is very early days as I have only been practicing this technique for a month and it does take a lot of getting used to, but I think it will be a very helpful addition to the drugs to keep the asthma under control.

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