Can Meditation Help Relieve Asthma?
Many studies claim that meditation can be used to ease problems associated with asthma and as asthma attacks are often associated with stress, shock or excessive physical strain it is clear why this may be the case: Meditation is well proven to be effective in addressing all of the above (see related article: ‘Does Meditation Improve Your Health?’ ).
As well as helping to reduce the effects of an asthma attack and their frequency by helping to control stress and reduce physical strain, it is possible for meditation to help asthma sufferers to cope with the anxiety associated with having asthma, particularly with not knowing when the next attack may occur.
Can Yoga Help?Some Yoga practitioners believe that asthma can be treated through a healing of the Chakras associated with their condition and there is no reason why such a Chakra based for of meditation cannot be sought as a treatment for the treatment of asthma, especially when taking into account the positive effect that such a breathing based and mindful form of meditation may in any case have. ‘Sahaja Yoga’ is thought to be particularly good for the treatment of asthma and is supported by a medical study that also pointed to the repetition of positive affirmations having no discernible effect on asthma sufferers. The inference in this case is that the breathing elements of meditation may be most instrumental in the treatment of asthma with repetition (such as in Mantra meditation ) being of secondary significance.
However, all studies relating to the treatment of asthma through meditation must be treated with caution with the positive outcome often being very small in relation to the sample group. If meditation can be said to helpful for dealing with asthma beyond a doubt it is surely as a means of coping with the outcome rather than as a cure.
Meditation for Coping with AsthmaAsthma sufferers may wish to try any form of meditation depending on their own personal circumstances. Sufferers who experience attacks due to excessive exercise may wish to avoid more rigorous forms of meditation such as Osho’s ‘Active Meditation’ (see related article: ‘Active/Dynamic Meditation’).
Any form of meditation which contributes to a greater mindfulness of the moment may be of help in reducing the fear associated with having asthma attacks in the future. Breathing techniques may also be of use in actually reducing the frequency of attacks, whilst also being of use in helping one to relax and in developing an awareness of ones place in relation to the wider world.
Much of the anxiety related to asthma manifests itself as a social anxiety (a fear of having an attack in social spaces). This can be particularly true of young sufferers who may feel stigmatised by their condition. Meditation can help one to be more accepting of their condition and through an understanding of the interconnectedness of all things become more accepting of other people’s attitudes.
For those that have asthmatic attacks triggered by stress this can in turn reduce the likelihood of attack inasmuch as it will reduce both the stress caused by asthma and the stress that causes it in the first place.