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Asthma: Comparison Between Modern and Ayurvedic Approach

Dr. Charminder Kaur

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Dirga Pranayam

It encourages slow deep breathing patterns.
Three parts of abdomen are filled with prana in Dirga Pranayam. The abdomen is divided into three parts: first part starts from the belly button and extends up to the genital area. The second part extends from the diaphragm (lower part of chest where ribs finish) till the belly. The third part is the area of chest.

1) Procedure: A person is asked to breath continuously from his nose. During inhalation the part below the belly is filled with air first then the upper abdomen and last the chest. During exhalation the air is let out first from the chest, then the upper abdomen and then the lower abdomen. Perform this slowly and swiftly, a sudden gush of air is not recommended.

2) Posture: Sit erect in a comfortable posture with stomach pulled in, back bone and neck erect, legs crossed and palms facing the knees.

3) Comfortable posture: To help control an acute attack, sit leaning forward with your head on arms, arms resting on a table. Or, try lying semi prone, with arms and legs slightly bent and relaxed, body and limbs well supported by pillows.

4) Diet an asthmatic patient should follow:

  • Moderately low fat and low sugar
  • High complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and starchy vegetables
  • Decreasing animal proteins because they tend to be inflammatory.
  • Fruits and vegetables to be taken are: juicy, pungent foods such as garlic, onions, leeks, turnips, grapes, pineapple, green leafy apricots, apricot kernels, almonds, walnuts, carrots, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, figs, spinach, loquats, honey, mustard greens, and sesame seeds.
  • Foods to strictly avoid are the mucus forming ones, such as:
    • Cow’s milk and other dairy products
    • White bread
    • Refined foods and processed foods
    • Sugar and sweets
    • Tomatoes
    • Meat
    • Ice cream
    • Watermelon
    • Salty foods
    • Cold foods
    • Bananas
    • Mung beans
    • Sometimes diet alone is not enough to help an illness. Specific vitamin and mineral supplementation to consider with asthma is as follows:
    • Beta carotene 100,000 I.U. daily
    • Vitamin E 800 I.U. daily
    • Vitamin C 1-2g daily
    • Vitamin B-Complex 500 mg daily.

1) Hydrotherapy: place a towel immersed in hot water over the chest. This relaxes breathing. Hydrotherapy done on shoulders is also helpful. Some naturopaths recommend taking baths with a cup or so of 3% hydrogen peroxide in the water to bring extra oxygen to the entire surface of the skin, thus making the lungs somewhat less oxygen hungry. This method can be performed preventively. Only hot foot baths is also useful.

2) Steam inhalation: For an acute asthma attack try a steam inhalation (draping a towel over your head and a bowl of hot water) with a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the water. Be careful that the water is not so hot that the steam burns your face. Some doctors recommend.

3) Naturopathy: occasional fasts for 1-2-3 days is advised. A non violent enema for first week, is useful. The number of enemas are increased for a course of 4-5 weeks.

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