Asthma breathing exercises effective management technique

Asthma breathing exercises effective management technique

Breathing exercises meant to reduce asthma symptoms are effective at improving quality of life but do not eliminate the need for inhalers, according to an article released on December 2, 2008 in Thorax, one of the BMJ Specialist journals.

Previously, it has been shown that the number symptoms exhibited by asthma patients are associated with the degree of control they have over their lives. To elucidate the relative beneficial effects of breathing exercises, the researchers performed a randomized controlled trial, recruiting 200 adults who were being treated for mild to moderately severe asthma in primary care.

The subjects were assigned to one of two groups: one receiving three sessions of breathing exercise training with a physiotherapist, and the other given information and advice by a nurse. Subjects completed questionnaires at baseline, after one month, and after six months evaluating the impact of the disease on their lives and how well they controlled it. Additional questionnaires were distributed to determine anxiety and depression.

In both groups, patients indicated improvement in quality of life in the first month, with similar results in both approaches. However, after six months, a difference appeared, with the group assigned breathing exercises having less anxiety, less depression, and better control over their asthma. However, there was no significant difference in the need for inhalers.

The authors conclude that the breathing exercises may be helpful if patients are not controlling their asthma well, but that these are not a substitute for medication.

Breathing exercises for asthma: a randomised controlled trial

M Thomas, RK McKinley, S Mellor, G Watkin, E Holloway, J Scullion, DE Shaw, A Wardlaw, D Price, I Pavord

Online First Thorax 2008;

doi 10.1136/thx.2008.100867

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Section Issues On Medicine: Disease