Log in
Asthma UK community forum
11,320 members17,590 posts

Osteopathic Treatment for Asthma?

Hi everyone,

I have roamed HealthUnlocked for a bit now and I noticed that there are little to no posts about the osteopathic practice within the asthma treatment. And I was wondering why that is, of course.

I've had some experience with osteopathy and came to find that it can have it's benefits on a wide range of problems, including thoracic mobility and breathing problems.

Has anyone here tried to go to an osteopath concerning their asthma problems? And if so, what was your experience? I'm really curious!

With kind regards, RobPrio

14 Replies

Osteopathy for asthma? The results may take your breath away:-





This is difficult to answer. The complementary medicine is up against medical people who have no idea how muscles work although these medical people believe they do know how muscles work.

Asthma is the name for a set of symptoms which have a variety of causes. Unfortunately the causes tend not to be investigated for the patient as the diagnosis is assumed to describe the illness.

For some people with asthma osteopathic practice will help. It will help in that it reduces the tight muscles in the back which hinder breathing. Many asthma patients have very tight rib muscles. This hinders breathing and leads to a number of people trying to breathe with raised shoulders. With the stresses that these tight muscles can produce an asthma attack can be likely. Reduce the the stresses from tight muscles by lengthening out the contracted muscles with osteopathic treatment reduces the possibility of the breathing system going into over stressed mode resulting in an asthma attack.

Hope this gives an answer to your question.


Medical practitioners do not know how muscles work but complimentary non-evidence based methods carried out by non-medical people do??? This is misleading and not true.


How closely have you looked at the situation? There is book learning and there is learning by using your hands and gaining the sensitivity in the use of your hands. This type of learning lets you find out how muscle fibers work and behave. Doctors do not study this. Many doctors do not know what fascia is neither do they know about muscles trains.

Have a lesson with an Alexander teacher and compare this with what a medical doctor knows.

It is easy to look at text books and comment. You need to experience what a skilled complementary practitioner can do with sensitive hands.


I am sorry to disappoint you but I doctors do know what fascia is. Where do you think book learning comes from? From empirical knowledge (based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience) which has in modern times been tested through double blind, randomised trials (look up the definition of these) and these trials provide evidence-based results and procedures. I also am familiar with the Alexander technique (very useful for certain conditions) and this can be easily compared to what a medical doctor knows (I won't elaborate because I'll be here all evening). You clearly have a strong belief or faith in alternative methods and similarly to strong religious beliefs it is difficult to counter these with rational, unemotional arguments. I would advise you to study the origins of science, including medicine, technology, physics but also religion and you may realise that our whole culture, progress of humankind and survival of humankind (so far) is based on science. Just one example: Think of centuries ago when people used certain herbs and plants to cure (or kill). There was no book learning. This knowledge evolved through trial and error (exactly as new scientific findings have done over centuries and still do now - only then it wasn't called science!). Science is not a knowledge which suddenly appeared in books and you have to learn. Science started when the first humans looked up at the stars and wondered what they were. When they looked at the trees and wondered where they came from. When they cut up their prey and discovered how animals looked inside. When they painted their animals on cave walls. In other words when humans tried to understand themselves and make sense of their environment. Science is a wondrous thing.

I would also look up 'placebo effect'.


I have a BSc (hons) Science degree. I studied biophysics as part of my degree.

I have an HNC in applied physics. I spent 12 years of my working life working in quality and reliability.

There is much quality clinical data which is thoroughly unreliable.

The science magazine "Nature" has had several articles on problems of scientific and medical research. Some of which detail some very serious problems in the science and medical field.

The "New Scientist" magazine, "American Scientist" magazine, and "Scientific American" magazine have all detailed problems with scientific and medical research.

"Lancet" a world renowned medical journal has had several articles on the problems existing in medical research.

I am aware of the placebo effect. I am also aware of how many medical people have misunderstood what it actually is.

The human body is an engineering system. As an engineering system it has a stress breakdown point. An engineering system subjected to stresses above the stress breakdown point miss functions. Take the stress just below the stress breakdown point and the system functions.

Unfortunately many doctors have never studied engineering.




I think the issue is Osteopaths spend 4 years predominately studying the musculoskeletal system with a little bit of everything else. Doctors spend 5 years studying everything equally at med school (Jack of all trades master of none) and then specialise. GPs have a lot of the basic knowledge for everything (Inc. medication) but most will admit when they are out of their depth then they refer to specialists be they respiratory, cardiac or even sometimes osteopaths.

As a student studying osteopathy I have had patients sent to me by GPs and others that I have sent back to them. Osteopathy in general is becoming more recognised as a medical profession and is now a well established protected title.

1 like

In my experience treatment can help the side effects of asthma... sore back/ribs/sternum/tight muscles/diaphragm/headaches etc. The profession can't treat 'asthma', but will work 'around' it. From my experience some people find it helps 'calm' there exacerbations, others say it does nothing to there asthma but helps with the 'side effects'. Yet others still find it does nothing... it's all patient dependent!

It's also important to find the right practiontioner for you... some treat structural focusing primarily muscles, bones and joints, others treat functionally (cranial) focusing on the sympathetic system (fight or flight response) with usually a slightly gentler approach. Some use a mixture! Whilst one treatment approach may work for one person it won't necessarily work for the next...

Also with a long term condition you're possibly going to be looking at long term treatment to keep any response from 'resetting' back to you pre-treatment point

If you're interested give it a try! For me it seems to help the 'side effects' and if nothing else I get a great night sleep the day after treatment!

1 like

I like your answer.


I actually have no idea what an osteopath is but I can tell you something simple like a nice relaxing massage is good for asthma. Anxiety and stress I think are co-factors. They are not the trigger - pollen is the trigger. It's obvious why - other people suffering at the same time as you (logically they can't have the same stress), location, wind, time of day are classic pollen. But I think the stress makes you more susceptible and more likely to make a minor flair up major. And to the extent a massage chills you out that is good. So that is all I can say on this topic.


Thank you all for the many replies!

I am not here to discuss the results of quantified statistically correct conventional research, I am here to learn from the experiences that people with asthma problems might have had with osteopathy.

It's a pitty to see conventional medicine clash with alternative medicine, specially since both sides work to improve the patient's condition, and are not primarily competing. It starts with the wrong chosen name, it shouldn't be 'alternative', it should be 'complementary'. And I think osteopathy stands now where conventional medicine stood a couple of decades ago. This doesn't make osteopathy useless or wrong, just less proven than conventional medicine is today.

Putting every who's-better-than-who discussion aside, can there be said that asthma is a hyperreaction of the sympathetic system? And using a manipulative technique on D1-5, which is the sympathetic innervation of the lungs I believe, would this make a difference? If so or if not, how come?


If to follow the idea that asthma cause is poor control of fluidity and SETS OF BODY STRECHINGS balances that energy, then it makes sense that it will reduce the chance of an attack or severity. In that case, yoga will do better here. Thus that every little sum the health.


You may also like...