TV3: Drug-free alternatives to asthma needed

Mon, 04 May 2009 10:32a.m.TV3

Drug-free alternatives to asthma treatment need to be promoted, two internationally recognised breathing experts say.

With asthma awareness week beginning today, authors of Dynamic Breathing, Dinah Bradley and Tania Clifton-Smith, have called for the promotion of drug-free asthma treatments to help the 600,000 New Zealanders with the respiratory illness.

The New Zealand trained physiotherapists believe current asthma treatment and management plans, which often promote drugs and inhalers, neglect the importance of breathing techniques.

This had led to worsening outcomes for asthma sufferers, they said.

“Curiously, since the advent of user-friendly inhalers 30-odd years ago and newer asthma `wonder drugs’, less attention has been paid by the medical profession to the business of breathing itself,” the pair said.

“Dependency on asthma medication is regarded as the norm and there is little encouragement for people with asthma to try alternative methods to control their breathing.”

It was estimated that 70 percent of people with asthma breathed with difficulty and without using their full breathing potential.

“Knowing how to breathe properly and efficiently by employing physical coping skills enhances drug therapies, and in many instances helps people reduce medications.”

Ms Bradley and Ms Clifton-Smith have developed their own breathing technique, the BradCliff Method.

They said it added value to basic asthma education by looking at the mechanics of breathing patterns and the muscles involved, not just the airways and medication use.

NZPA