The prevalence of asthma in North America has increased markedly in recent decades. Since the 1960s, asthma and asthma symptoms among children and adolescents have increased each decade by up to 75%,.
The United States and Canada have among the highest prevalences of both asthma symptoms and diagnosed asthma for both children and adults. Currently more than 1 North American in 10 has asthma, 35.5 million people overall.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by:
- recurrent breathing problems
- chest tightness
Asthma is often treated with steroids that actually weaken the lungs when used long term and come with many side effects such as:
Dryness, candida or yeast infection, lowered immunity, thinning of bronchioles, rashes, psoriasis and many more.
The sciences of yoga and ayurveda suggest that there are many ways to prevent asthma and treat it as well
Types of asthma.
Ayurveda states that there are five types of asthma determined by their range in difficulty to treat and three types based on imbalance of:
· the air element - dry type asthma,
· fire element - infection type asthma
· water type - congestion type asthma
Who is at risk?
Dry type asthma is usually found in people who are tin, frail and who have dry skin and constipation and are sensitive to cold climates.
Infection type asthma is usually found in those who are hot, who are prone to infection in general, who have red rashes on the skin or psoriasis and who are prone to bronchitis.
Congestive type asthma is usually found in those who are heavier in body weight, big boned, prone to colds and sinus congestion or chest congestion and water retention and are sensitive to cold and humid climates..
Upon seeing these characteristics what can we do to reduce our chances of developing asthma?
To treat dry type asthma - one should increase fluid intake. This will help to increase moisture and oxygen in the body. One should also keep the head, chest and back covered on cool days and avoid exposure to wind. Massage the body daily with sesame oil to add moisture to the body and try to eat foods that are moist and warm rather than raw, cold and rough dry foods. Avoid dairy products and nuts.
For infection type asthma- one should drink plenty of water and avoid eating after 10:00 PM. Eating late in the night can cause the accumulation of toxins in the body due to improper digestion. One should also avoid deep fried foods, exertion in the cold or heat and should try to eat more fruits and vegetables rather than meats and dairy. If a person who is prone to infection type asthma he or she should try to ingest more turmeric, Echinacea in the form of tea and dandelion to prevent infections and boost the immune system. Mediation and breathing exercises are also helpful for such people as their asthma is usually related to stress and anger.
For congestive type asthma - one should avoid dairy, wheat products, refined sugar and excess sweet, sour and salty foods. They should try to eat bitter, astringent and spicy foods to increase circulation and flow of mucus and to prevent congestion. They can massage the chest and back with mustard oil to promote circulation in the chest. Balm of Gilead is very effective when rubbed on the chest. It can prevent a chest cold from turning into pneumonia and can dilate the bronchial tubes to encourage deeper breathing. People who are prone to this type of asthma should exercise daily and try to do some cardio exercise for fifteen minutes per day. They should also avoid eating before 10:00am and after 9:00pm to ensure that they do not suffer from weak digestion which is the prime cause of asthma for them. They should keep the head and torso covered on cool days and avoid walking in the rain. It is important for them to drink hot water or Luke warm water rather than cold water and they should avoid iced beverages, ice cream and other cold foods to prevent mucus from becoming clogged.
In general, all people with asthma or chest problems should perform deep breathing exercises daily and can add a few simple spices to their diets to help keep their chests clear.
Ginger, turmeric, black pepper cumin can be ground together and mixed with honey to create a paste. A teaspoon a day of this mixture is very useful in keeping the chest clear. Applying balm of Gilead, eucalyptus oil, cinnamon oil or clove oil to the chest and back also helps to improve breathing. Note, essential oils should be mixed with a base oil - sesame would be the best for those with dry or infection type asthma or mustard for those with congestion type asthma.
Below is a breathing technique than can be used to help increase lung capacity and stamina.
- While inhaling, always remember that the body is being filled with air. When something is full it expands.
- When we exhale we are emptying the body, thus, it will contract or shrink as it is emptied.
- Also remember that unless otherwise mentioned, all breathing is done through the nose.
- Sit in a position that is comfortable. The posture should be good. If the spine is not straight, the body cannot fill to its full capacity.
- Sit with the hands on the ribs and tummy and inhale. Fill the tummy first and then feel the inhalation filling the rest of the lungs. Continue to breathe until the throat is full and then immediately begin to exhale. Exhale until the body is completely empty.
- Repeat this exercise four times.
- This breath can be performed anytime during the day to help you relax.
Many ailments can be treated with this breathing exercise because it increases the flow of oxygen to all parts of the body.
Note, for chronic conditions or severe cases of asthma it is always better to consult a qualified health practitioner, but we have tried to provide you with some simple tips to help improve your quality of living.
Christine and Venkat Machiraju offer unique consultations blending the sciences of Vedic astrology and Ayurveda consultations include not only predictions, but outline your spiritual path and suggest remedies such as gem therapy, mantra therapy and others to help you free yourself from negative karma and to increase joy, health and spiritual growth.
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