Can Massage Therapy Help Asthma?
Anyone who suffers from asthma knows that its symptoms are worsened with stress. Most people also know that massage therapy tends to lower stress levels. However, few people combine massage and asthma as part of an effective coping strategy.
Asthma and stress can be a vicious cycle. Although rarely the root cause of asthma symptoms or an attack, stress tends to exacerbate symptoms, sometimes leading to a full-blown attack. For someone with asthma, symptoms such as shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and coughing can trigger anxiety, which usually causes an increase in heart rate and breaths per minute. This puts an added strain on a respiratory system that is already working in overdrive.
Combining massage and asthma can have the opposite effect on stress levels and symptoms. First, the massage atmosphere is itself usually calming. The mood lighting, soothing music, and burning of candles or oils can be a welcome respite from a lifestyle of constant stimulation. Second, a trained masseuse can use massage to help drain and relax the bronchial area, which will often reduce asthma symptoms, especially coughing and wheezing. Lastly, massage therapy releases tension in your muscles. Loosening the muscles of the upper body can be an effective way to reduce chest tightness caused by asthma.
A holistic approach to asthma treatment will seek to prevent and treat symptoms. Steroids and inhalers can treat symptoms, but combining massage and asthma can be an effective way to prevent them
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