One of the hardest things about having asthma is learning to cope with it. True, there are several medications on the market with more emerging all the time, but what happens when they’re not enough or take time to start working? Coming from a family of asthmatics, and having asthma myself, here are a few basic tips I’ve learned to help deal with it.
A piping hot shower can work wonders for asthma for a variety of reasons. First, the steam can help clear out and loosen any mucus that may be clogging up the airways, which is a common complication with asthmatics. The warm air may also help relax and open constricted airways. The warm water can also get the breathing muscles to relax, which frequently tense up during an asthma attack. Of course, a nice warm shower is an excellent way to relax in general, especially as tension and even panic frequently accompanies an asthma attack.
Eucalyptus can be used in conjunction with a hot shower: Placing a few leaves on the shower drain, or a few drops of eucalyptus oil on a washcloth that’s hanging under the stream of water, will release the aroma. Eucalyptus can help clear out the airway as well as improve lung function. It can also be placed in a cup of steaming hot water and inhaled that way.
As always with any new aromatherapy treatment, an allergy test is recommended before using.
Personally, I like this method the most, and I know it works well for others too. Whenever possible, I take slow, deep breaths of cool air, preferably with low humidity such as in a refrigerator. It can be as simple as opening the freezer door and taking a couple of deep breaths-it never fails to help my lungs feel like they’re expanding to the fullest. It helps especially during those few minutes it takes for my medication to start working.
A massage will help anyone feel better at any time, but I’ve found that it can really help with recovering from an asthma attack. Focusing on the shoulders, upper back, and under the collarbones will help soothe and relax the muscles most affected by breathing. Massage can also help tone these muscles, which can make breathing easier when in crisis. At the least, a good massage can stimulate the immune system (keeping the complications associated with secondary infections to a minimum) and help with relaxation, which is important on its own when dealing with asthma.