If you’ve ever had an asthma attack, you know they can be terrifying experiences. Your chest may tighten, you may struggle to breathe, and you may become anxious and begin to hyperventilate. I should know; 30 years ago I experienced a life threatening asthma attack which landed me in the ICU. That experience led me to write Reversing Asthma which chronicled my recovery and the natural approaches I used and still recommend to my patients.
Even if you don’t have severe asthma that leads to asthma attacks, the symptoms of mild asthma are inconvenient and annoying. With persistent asthma, you may experience occasional shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing or wheezing. At the Firshein Center in New York City, we can help you overcome asthma symptoms and restore your quality of life.
Most patients with severe asthma need medical treatments such as bronchodilators (medications that relax your airways). However, natural remedies can complement medications if you have severe asthma; and if you have mild asthma, natural remedies may replace medications altogether. Some of the natural approaches taken at the Fishein Center include supplements such as magnesium, Vit C, and Fish oils. Other approaches include specific exercises that are derived from mindful meditations that Buddhist monks use, as well as breathing exercises.
Some research suggests that practicing mindful breathing can ward off asthma attacks and decrease asthma symptoms.
One approach, that the Firshein Center uses is a technique that slow down breathing combined with diaphragmatic exercises. The Firshein method utilizes slow breathing with visual imagery and diaphragmatic breathing to maximize their approach to enhanced respiration. Some research links higher carbon dioxide content in the blood to more dilated airways.
Many other breathing techniques for asthma exist, and Dr. Firshein can teach you the best exercises for your asthma.
In his books the Nutraceutical Revolution and Reversing Asthma, Dr. Firshein documents the benefits of using specific nutrients to benefit his patients. Studies show that diets rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory foods, and other minerals reduce your risk of asthma. Foods with anti-inflammatory properties — such as berries, fish, avocadoes, and herbal teas — may reduce inflammation in your airways, which can minimize symptoms and lower your risk for an asthma attack.
Eating a healthy diet also strengthens your immune system, which helps your body fend off allergy attacks and illness, two common triggers of asthma.
Avoiding triggers is critical to avoiding asthma attacks. Common asthma triggers include:
- Allergen exposure (animal dander, pollen, dust, mold)
- Strong scents (fragrances in soaps, perfumes, and colognes)
- Rapid changes in weather (hot to cold, humid to dry)
- Illness, such as a cold
While we don’t recommend avoiding exercise completely, take care to monitor your breathing during exercise. Slow down or back off the intensity if you start struggling to breathe, and only exercise in places where your other triggers aren’t present. Also pulsed exercise which uses intermittent on off cycling of intense exercises cab benefit recovery
You should take care to avoid the other triggers on this list to the best of your ability. Definitely don’t smoke, or quit smoking, if you have asthma. Keep your living space clean and free of dust, dust mites, and mold. Don’t wear perfume or cologne; use fragrance-free dish soaps, cleaning products, and body wash; and ask the people you live with to do the same.
Use your air conditioner — it cycles air throughout your home so allergens and dirt don’t build up as easily. Use a humidifier or dehumidifier if you live in a climate without ideal humidity. But Hepa filtration systems are the most effective way to reduce pollution the home
Do your best to keep your immune system strong: Get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, and eat a healthy diet full of antioxidant- and anti-inflammatory-rich foods.
Create an asthma action plan
Dr. Firshein knows and understands the causes, symptoms, and risk factors for asthma, as documented in his two books: Reversing Asthma and Your Asthma-Free Child.
Dr. Firshein will work with you to create a treatment plan based on your symptoms and triggers, as well as the severity of your asthma. Your treatment should be flexible, and it can change based on fluctuations in your symptoms.
Call Dr. Firshein or request an appointment online to schedule a consultation. When you come to see Dr. Firshein, make sure to bring a list of your symptoms and triggers so he can best assist you.