Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory disease that affects the airways. It is characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction. Some common symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
The inner walls of an asthmatic person’s airways are swollen or inflamed. This swelling or inflammation makes the airways extremely sensitive to irritations and increases your susceptibility to an allergic reaction.
As inflammation causes the airways to become narrower, less air can pass through them, both to and from the lungs. Symptoms of the narrowing include wheezing (a hissing sound while breathing),
chest tightness, breathing problems, and coughing.
During an asthma attack, one experiences the following
- The muscles around your airways tighten up, narrowing the airway.
- Less air is able to flow through the airway.
- Inflammation of the airways increases, further narrowing the airway.
- More mucus is produced in the airways, undermining the flow of air even more
Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback can help in reducing asthmatic symptoms by increasing the amount of air that passes through the airways Read more on how Biofeedback can help asthmatic patients by clicking, here
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A research by Lehrer, Vaschillo, Vaschillo , Lu , Scardella, Siddique and Habib (2004), proved the efficacy of HRV Biofeedback in alleviating asthma symptoms in 94 asthmatic patients. The participants were grouped into four:
- a full protocol (ie, HRV biofeedback and abdominal breathing through pursed lips and prolonged exhalation);
- HRV biofeedback alone;
- placebo EEG biofeedback; and
- a waiting list control.
Their results showed that compared to the last 2 groups, the first two were prescribed less medications and showed a significant inprovement in the severity of the condition. Overall the research proved the use of this technique as an adjunct to asthma treatment.
Lehrer PM, Vaschillo E, Vaschillo B, Lu SE, Scardella A, Siddique M, Habib RH.(2004). Biofeedback Treatment for Asthma. Department of Psychiatry, New York. Retrieved on September 13, 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15302717