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Can Qigong and Other Breathing Training Techniques Help Asthma Management?
 
February 27, 2011 -
There is considerable public interest in the use of breathing modification techniques in the treatment of asthma. Surveys suggest many people with asthma use them, often without the knowledge of their medical attendants. Extravagant claims have been made about the effectiveness of some techniques, resulting in scepticism from orthodox clinicians. The evidence supporting breathing training for asthma was previously weak, and limited by the small size and methodological limitations of published research.
 
In their latest study, researchers from University of Southampton in Southampton, UK found that the evidence base for the effectiveness of breathing training has recently improved, with reports from several larger and more methodologically robust controlled trials. These trials are reviewed in this study, and the findings placed in context. Trials have investigated a variety of breathing training programs delivered by different therapists in different ways. All incorporate some instruction in breathing pattern, usually focusing on slow, regular, nasal, abdominal breathing and reduced ventilation, with patients instructed to practice exercises at home and when symptomatic.
 
Current evidence suggests that breathing training programs can be effective in improving patient-reported outcomes such as symptoms, quality of life and psychological impact; and may reduce the use of rescue bronchodilator medication. There is little evidence that airways physiology, hyper-responsiveness or inflammation is affected by such training. The optimal way of providing breathing training within the context of routine asthma care is still uncertain.
 
This study is published in the February 2011 issue of the journal Current opinion in allergy and clinical immunology.

 

 


 
 

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