Asthma is a chronic disorder that is often triggered by external factors such as pollen and pollution. Synthetic scents used in the perfume industry, personal care products and household cleansers can also trigger asthma attacks. Internal factors such as emotional stress and exertion from exercise can also trigger asthma attacks. Asthma episodes result in spasmodic constriction of the smooth muscle layer in the bronchial tubes leading to the lung tissue that exchanges carbon dioxide for oxygen across the respiratory membranes. There is local chronic inflammation accompanied by excessive mucous production. When an episode is experienced there is coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing, especially exhaling.
Medications are often used to address the constriction of the muscles and the excessive mucous production. Inhalers are available for sudden attacks. Over time, chronic symptoms can lead to tightness and gluing of the muscles involved in respiration. These include muscles between the ribs, on the side and the back of the ribcage, the neck and the respiratory diaphragm which spans the bottom of the chest cavity. Massage is very effective to loosen the tension and gluing that develop in these muscles. Trigger points that develop in these muscles have pain referrals that can be felt in the chest, abdomen, low back, shoulder, arms, wrist and hands. Lung congestion that develops over time can be loosened with percussive techniques over the back and sides of the ribcage. If you use oil in the massage make sure there are no allergic reactions to it.
Aromatherapy with the use of therapeutic quality essential oils is generally safe for those with asthma. If the quality of the oils is poor due to adulterants and synthetic ingredients there may be poor results. The best use of essential oils for asthmatics is to apply them to the feet. They can be ingested in gel caps if they are generally regarded as safe (GRAS) by the FDA according to the Essential Oil Desk Reference. The reflex areas on the feet to apply oils to are on the chest, lung, sinus and bronchial tube areas. The oils to use include wintergreen, eucalyptus radiata, lemon, lavender, rose, frankincense, and marjoram. Oil blends, available from Young Living, include R.C., Raven, Inspiration, Australian Blue and Sacred Mountain.
An effective way to open the bronchial passages using inhalation of essential oils is to bring a pot of water to a boil and after turning off the heat , transfer the hot water to a bowl, and add a few drips of eucalyptus or RC to the water. Place a towel over your head, making a tent and breathe in the vapors. Be sure to remove yourself from danger of the hot stove or any other chance to burn yourself.
For acute asthma attacks we have found that a drop or two of lavender followed by a drop or two of Roman chamomile rubbed into the spinal bones between the shoulder blades (5th vertebral area) can reduce the severity of the attack quickly. If you can’t reach your back between your shoulder blades try putting the oils on the ribcage between the 5th - 6th ribs next to the breastbone. Rubbing the oils into your palms and inhaling deeply can also help.
Reflexology work would address the same reflex areas suggested for essential oil application in the paragraph above. It is always a good idea to work with the lymphatic reflexes whenever you are addressing drainage issues.
Spiral Synergy would work with the same areas suggested for massage. The instructional DVD on the ribcage is of particular interest along with the spine, of course, since the ribs connect to the spine.
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