Marking World Asthma Day with this advice on Osteopathy

How Osteopathic treatment – specifically, addressing the mechanics of breathing – can help asthmatics.

As World Asthma Day approaches on Sunday 7 May, it’s a good time to look at how Osteopathic treatment can help improve quality of life for asthmatics.

Asthma is a common and sometimes debilitating respiratory disorder, which can affect people of all ages.

Asthma Australia says, people often treat their asthma as a short-term condition that comes and goes. But asthma is a chronic condition that’s always there, even when you don’t have symptoms.

If you do have asthma – or think you have it – it’s important to recognise the common symptoms:

  • Wheeze
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough

How osteopathy can help

Osteopaths are allied health professionals that offer patient-centred approaches to healthcare and functional improvement, which recognise the vital link between the structure of the body and the way it functions, explains Kim Collins, BHSc/BAppSc (Osteopathy) of Casey Allied Health.

“Osteopaths focus on how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue and internal organs function as a holistic unit,” she explains.

Osteopathic techniques can:

  • Aim to free restrictions of the chest and ribs
  • Relax the respiratory muscles
  • Improve lymphatic draining from the lungs and air passages
  • Enhance blood supply to the chest region.

Given osteopathy focuses on how structure and function are inherently linked, osteopathic treatment can have an indirect effect on asthmatics by addressing the mechanics of breathing, says Kim.

In fact, studies have identified that osteopathic treatment can help improve the quality of life of asthmatics, subjective perception of symptoms and reduce the use of drugs.

Other lifestyle interventions

Find out more about how lifestyle interventions such as exercise can help people with asthma in this video with Professor John Upham, a medical researcher and respiratory specialist at the University of Queensland.

While osteopathy should not replace conventional treatments, Kim shares: “Osteopaths can also provide advice on how to manage through exercise prescription with emphasis on breathing exercises as well as providing advice on diet, lifestyle factors, posture and first aid measures that are all key factors in controlling asthma.”

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