Friday, March 5, 2010

Effective Treatment for Asthma in Children: Pranayama and Yoga Poses

As per a research paper published in the International Journal of Yoga, pranayama and deep breathing exercises help in improving lung functions, especially when practiced regularly. The study evaluated fifty subjects and observed that individuals, who practiced correct breathing techniques, were found to show higher levels of improvement in Peak expiratory flow rates. Pranayama and Deep breathing exercises are hence very important modalities in the long term treatment plan for Asthma

Asthma is more frequent
in Children
Allergy Asthma: Asthma in Children

Asthma refers to chronic inflammation of the airways, which can be associated with recurring and variable symptoms primarily caused due to obstruction of the air passage. This obstruction is however temporary and reversible in nature. Asthma is often associated with symptoms like shortness of breath and tightness of the chest. In addition wheezing and coughing may also be experienced in some patients.

Though Asthma may affect individuals of all ages, it is more frequently observed among children. Asthma has a higher prevalence in the western and developed countries with seven percent of population of United States and Five percent of the population of United Kingdom affected by the condition.

The factors responsible for asthma include environmental and genetic factors. Allergies to pollen, dust, mite, etc are considered to be prime factors responsible for asthma in children. Family history of asthma plays a crucial role in the onset and progression of the disease in the individual. More and more studies are pointing towards the fact the yoga techniques including deep breathing exercises and pranayama are found to be of greater value in management of asthma.

Yoga Deep Breathing-
Breathing Excercises for Treatment of Asthma: Pranayama Yoga Pose
Pranayama, an important component of the ancient practice of Yoga, has been found to be the most effective form of treatment for asthma, more so, because, it offers long-term and lasting cure.

‘Prana’ is the vital energy or the vital principle, and ‘ayama’ signifies control. Pranayama means breath control. It trains you to breathe in a controlled and regulated manner.

Pranayama plays a vital role in the long term management of asthma. This is how,

  • Pranayama increases the body’s vitality and gives an incredible boost to the immune processes, thus reducing the body’s susceptibility to allergens. Conscious breathing augments the amount of oxygen reaching the cells, and provides greater energy, by enhancing the cellular processes.
  • Pranayama increases the overall breathing capacity, and decreases the need and dependence on medications and bronchodilators. It offers a healthy way of life, naturally.
  • The lung’s power / capacity is enhanced, breathing becomes more relaxed, and an attack of asthma is warded off.
Deep breathing Excercises: Yoga Poses for Treatment of Asthma 
The practice of this Pranayama technique. yields significant benefits to an asthmatic. The Yogi deep breathing opens out the chest and the lungs. It enhances the lung capacity to a significant extent.

Make it a habit to practice this technique, first thing in the morning.

The technique:

  • Sit comfortably, either cross-legged on to the floor, or in a straight-backed chair, keeping your spine erect.
  • (Remember, that you have to divide your breathing in to 3 phases – abdominal, thoracic, and clavicular, to optimize the amount of oxygen entering in to your lungs.)
  • For the first phase, inhale, so that the abdomen expands, next, expand your chest, taking in the air, and lastly, let the top most part of the chest (the clavicles or the collar bones) expand, so that the apices of the lungs get filled up.
  • Hold the breath for a few seconds.
  • Then exhale, gradually, in the opposite fashion, i.e., let the breath leave the clavicular part first, then the thoracic or the chest is deflated, and then, the abdomen.
  • Hold the breath for a few seconds, before starting the second round of Yogi deep breathing.
  • Five rounds of the complete breath are recommended.
  • It is imperative to ensure that you never forcefully inhale or exhale. That will generate no benefits, and could even be counter productive.
A multi disciplinary approach comprising of deep breathing excercises, dietary modifications and avoidance of allergens can play a crucial role in the management of asthma.