Naturopathic Medicine for Asthma

Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the bronchial airways that causes them to become constricted and narrowed. Bronchial airways are the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. Asthma attacks result in further narrowing of the airways, and symptoms including: shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, coughing, and wheezing. According to the American Lung Association, in the United States, about 20 million people have been diagnosed with asthma. Naturopathic Medicine offers a variety of natural treatments for asthma which can provide long lasting relief from its life limiting symptoms.

How Can Naturopathic Medicine Help Asthma?

Asthma is a life-altering and disabling condition that decreases quality of life. Conventional Western medical treatments generally focus on treatment of asthma attacks without addressing the underlying cause of asthma. As opposed to treating the asthma attacks, Naturopathic medicine uses natural therapies to address the underlying cause of the asthma. In the specific case of asthma, which has an immune system component, Naturopathic therapies focus on determining which allergens might be triggering the asthmatic condition and simultaneously restoring the balance of the immune system.

Naturopathic treatment for asthma is individualized based upon a detailed analysis of a physical exam, health history, current health issues, and current medications. Treatments may include dietary supplements, herbal medicine, nutrition, soft tissue work, joint manipulation, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, ozone therapy, ultraviolet blood irradiation, and/or injection therapies.

Specific Naturopathic therapies for the breathing difficulties of asthma can include:

  • Oxidative naturopathic treatments such as ultraviolet blood irradiation and ozone therapy. These treatments’ goal is to rapidly rebalance the immune system for improvements in breathing, and reduced reliance on drug medications.
  • Allergy testing/neutralization and oxidative naturopathic treatments to reduce underlying cause of asthma.
  • Dietary supplementation with natural anti-inflammatories such as omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Dietary changes to avoid foods that may lead to an allergic reaction, increased risk of asthma attack, or increased immune response.
  • Homeopathic remedies which can reduce immune response to allergens.

Why Use Naturopathic Medicine to Treat Symptoms of Asthma?

At a time when air pollution, poor diet, increased work and school pressure, decreased time for relaxation, and significant stress have stimulated the degradation of individual health, the Naturopathic Doctor’s natural methods of healing are a soothing alternative to Western Medicine. Unlike traditional medical practices, which focus on treating each specific disease or symptom as it occurs, Naturopathic Medicine helps the body overcome functional disturbances, restore health, and eradicate disease using natural therapies. Naturopathic medicine is designed use a whole body approach to decrease asthma’s impact on day to day activities and increase quality of life. In addition, the treatments are designed to improved overall health, decreasing the occurrence of other diseases.

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is a system of medicine that emphasizes the body's innate ability to heal and maintain itself. Naturopathic practitioners provide holistic, personalized care to each patient with the goal of creating unity of body, mind, and spirit. As tools, naturopathic practitioners use a wide variety of natural complementary and alternative therapeutics to maintain health, restore health, and relieve disease symptoms. Some naturopaths recommend patients use conventional medicine alongside their treatments to provide the best of both alternative and conventional medicine for managing their health.

What Causes Asthma?

Although the exact cause of asthma is unknown, studies suggest a strong link between asthma and allergies. This indicates that exposure to environmental allergens can trigger asthma attacks. The most common allergens include: microscopic droppings of dust mites and cockroaches, airborne pollens and molds, plants and plant proteins, enzymes, and pet dander. Other factors such as stress, pollution, chronic viral infections, medications, exercise, pregnancy, and chemical sensitivities also play a role in the development of asthma symptoms.

Finding a Naturopathic Practitioner

There are many experienced naturopathic practitioners across the world. In the United States, there are two different groups who are considered naturopathic practitioners. Naturopathic physicians, who have the designation ND or NMD, are licensed practitioners whose graduate training included four years of basic science, holistic and nontoxic natural therapies, disease prevention, optimizing wellness as well as four additional years of training in complementary and alternative therapies such as nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, and psychology. Each naturopathic doctor must pass a postdoctoral board examination to receive a license. 15 states, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands have licensing laws for naturopathic doctors the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) is a professional organization that represents licensed Naturopathic Physicians.

Naturopathic Medicine is also practiced by another set of practitioners called “traditional naturopaths”. Traditional naturopaths do not follow a set path of training and may come from a variety of backgrounds. Organizations such as the National Association of Certified Natural Health Professionals and the California College of Natural Medicine offer training for traditional naturopathic practitioners.

Additional Resources

The Naturopathic Medicine Network

Naturopathic Medicine by Michael Alan Morton Ph.D., and Mary Morton

Pangaea Clinic of Naturopathic Medicine, “Effect of Inhalant Allergies and Chemical Sensitivities on Asthma

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