Aromatherapy is one of a range of natural health treatments that are being used to reduce the symptoms and effects of asthma. The appeal of these treatments is that they are non invasive with no or relatively few side effects. Aromatherapy is easily accessed via the use of essential oils and extracts, which are widely available.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a bronchial condition that effects the functioning of the lungs. The lungs sit at the end of the respiratory system and are comprised of two bronchi. These divide further into bronchioles, alveolar ducts and alveolar sacs – which is where oxygen transfer into the bloodstream takes place. It is also where mucus is produced during an asthma attack. This causes a sensation of tightness in the chest, with sufferers coughing and gasping for breath. It is also often more difficult to exhale than inhale during an attack. Though there is no definitive cause of asthma, genetics are thought to play a major factor in susceptibility. Other triggers include:
- Allergic reactions to food
- Cigarette smoke
- Dry, cold weather
- Airborne allergens such as pollen and mould
- Pet fur; and
Conventional asthma treatments focus on drugs that dilate or prevent the constriction of the bronchi. The sufferer typically administers this via a vapour pump when the symptoms of an attack are experienced.
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy involves the use of plant and flower extracts to stimulate or soothe the senses. These are typically applied as an oil massage, infusion or rub. Some essential oils which may be beneficial in the relief of asthma symptoms include:
- Bergamot; and
Some of these oils should however not be used during an attack as they may aggravate the symptoms of asthma.
How Can Aromatherapy Help Asthma?
Aromatic plant oils have the ability to stimulate all well as calm - which is why it is best to consult an aromatherapist. Common aromatherapy treatments for asthma include the use of a steam infusion which is inhaled, an aromatherapy diffuser or humidifiers, scented baths and chest rubs. Lavender is noted for its therapeutic properties, as is chamomile and peppermint.
Aromatherapy treatments for the symptoms of asthma are best enjoyed under the guidance of a trained aromatherapist.
Find out about other effective natural asthma treatments.