Anyone with asthma knows that the onset of breathing difficulties is one of the worst feelings imaginable. Knowing that, within minutes, the suffocating feeling will make it feel as though there is no way to get any oxygen causes a panic that, in turn, increases breathing difficulties. However, recent studies have indicated that some breathing techniques can help to alleviate some of the asthma symptoms.

According to a study published in Thorax, researchers at the University of Sydney discovered that through practiced breathing techniques the use of rescue inhalers dropped by 86%, and the use of corticosteroid inhalers decreased by 50%.

This is good news for asthma sufferers because the use of inhalers is not without certain risks. For example, long-term corticosteroid use is known to have several serious side effects, such as hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus, anxiety, depression, colitis, hypertension, hypothyroidism, and retinopathy.

If, as the study suggests, asthma sufferers can control their breathing and lessen or eliminate their dependence upon inhalers, many negative side effects can be avoided. In addition, the panic attack that comes with the onset of an asthma incident can be managed because the person has the confidence of knowing that with a few simple breathing techniques, the suffocation can be avoided. No need to worry about where the inhaler is. No sending someone else to go find it, simply some calm, controlled breathing.

Many in the study were able to stop using their inhalers altogether. Even those that did continue to rely on their inhalers, however, did so less frequently. And, when they did need to use the inhaler, they found that using the breathing techniques before and after inhaler use made the treatment more effective.

Many children outgrow their asthma once they reach adulthood. Some studies have suggested that learning breathing techniques can speed that growth along, or, at the very least, eliminate the chronic use of inhalers during their crucial formative years. Even for those with life-threatening asthma, results have been seen with using breathing techniques to control asthma. Sufferers who were unable to compete in sports, missed excessive amounts of school or work, or who had frequent hospitalizations, have been able to decrease their use of prescription medicines by as much as 83% by relying upon breathing exercises and techniques.

If you suffer from asthma, or if you have a child who does (especially if inhaler treatments make up a large part of life), consider investigating alternative treatments for asthma. What wouldn’t any asthma sufferer give for the ability to breathe freely and deeply while at the same time being inhaler-free? Breathing techniques can bring your asthma under control.

When you learn asthma breathing techniques and improve breathing, you improve your total health. The Buteyko Center offers a free breathing test online and a free Buteyko Health Evaluation report with our recommendations. The test will help you determine whether you hyperventilate or not, and if so to what degree, and how that may be affecting the quality of your sleep, as well as recommendations for improvement.