Asthma affects over 25 million people in the US, which equates to about 1 in 13 individuals. Both children and adults suffer from asthma, which makes breathing more difficult than it ever should be.
There’s no cure for asthma, but there are things you can do to help provide relief and ease symptoms. These home remedies for asthma are meant to be used in conjunction with your prescribed medicine; you should always consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes in the type or amount of asthma medication you take.
If you’re looking for relief, we’ve compiled some of the most popular asthma remedies to try:
1. Breathing Exercises
Regular cardiovascular exercise helps improve heart function, and the same holds true for breathing exercises with your lungs. For people with asthma and other lung conditions like COPD, lungs can lose their effectiveness over time. As lungs lose their effectiveness, they lose their ability to exhale completely which leads to stale air getting trapped in the lungs. Trapped air in the lungs leaves less room for the diaphragm to bring in new oxygen when breathing in, which puts strain on other muscles to assist and results in lower oxygen levels.
Breathing exercises help get rid of this stale air and increase oxygen levels, and there are two commonly recommended breathing exercises:
Pursed Lip Breathing
This breathing exercise focuses on making your breaths more effective by taking slow, deep breaths that keep your airways open for longer periods of time than with normal breathing. To practice this technique, purse/pucker your lips and inhale normally through your nose, then slowly exhale while counting to two through your pursed lips. Practice this technique 2-4 times a week, or as recommended by your healthcare provider.
This breathing exercise helps strengthen your diaphragm, which does about 80% of the work when you breathe in. To practice this exercise, sit in a comfortable chair or lie flat. Place one hand on your stomach just below your rib cage and the other on your chest, then breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose. The hand on your chest should not move, while the hand on your stomach should rise. Tighten your stomach muscles and slowly breathe out through pursed lips. Practice this technique for 5-10 minutes, 3-4 times per day or as recommended by your healthcare provider.
2. Natural Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients
There’s a lot of supposed natural remedies for asthma such as honey, garlic, ginger, caffeine, and essential oils among others. Asthma is an inflammatory disease that causes the inner linings of the airways to swell leading to a more narrow pathway for air to travel, so it’s understandable why some people believe anti-inflammatory ingredients like these can help provide asthma relief. However, most of these ingredients have very few or no studies backing up their effectiveness as an asthma remedy.
3. Regular Exercise
While it’s important to note that some people may suffer from exercise-induced asthma which can trigger or worsen asthma-related symptoms (in which you need to take extra precaution when exercising), most people with asthma can and should exercise regularly. Regular exercise has a range of benefits for people with asthma such as increased endurance, reduced inflammation, and improved lung capacity.
Some of the best exercises for asthma include:
Swimming is probably the most recommended exercise for asthma sufferers because it’s less likely to cause asthma-related symptoms during the activity. When swimming, your lungs are constantly exposed to plenty of moist, warm air and it's great for building up breathing muscles. Just be wary when swimming in chlorinated pools, which can trigger symptoms for some individuals.
Casual walks are a great low-intensity exercise that can help improve your physical health. If walking outside, make sure conditions are ideal first — dry, cool air can trigger asthma symptoms, and so can a high pollen count for certain individuals. Alternatively, you can walk on a treadmill or indoor track to minimize your exposure to these potential triggers.
Much like walking, leisurely bike rides are a great way to exercise without overexerting yourself. You can bike outside, or on an indoor cycle to minimize exposure to potential asthma triggers. Just make sure the bike ride is casual, as going up steep hills can cause overexertion which dries out airways.
While there’s not enough evidence to fully support the notion that yoga is an effective asthma remedy, a lot of people believe it can help provide relief by slowing your respiratory rate and relieving stress. It’s important to note that some yoga poses are more difficult than others, so start slow and find a routine that works well for you.
Some yoga poses you can try for asthma relief include:
- Savasana: Helps with breath and stress management
- Sukasana: Focuses on relaxation and stress control
- Forward Bend: Opens up the chest to ease breathing
- Seated Spiral Twist: Promotes calmness in respiratory muscles
- Side Bend: Opens up the side of your body and lungs
- Cobra Pose: Stretches your chest and neck muscles
If you are unsure about trying yoga to help with asthma, consult with your healthcare provider to determine if it’s safe to do.
5. Air Purifiers
Asthma symptoms or attacks can be triggered by a variety of airborne particles such as:
- Pet dander
Air purifiers work to capture these irritants so they aren’t left floating around in the air. This makes it easier to breathe during the day, and at night when asthma symptoms sometimes flare up. The most effective air purifiers for asthma are True HEPA (H13) purifiers, which provide medical grade filtration that captures 99.99% of particles down to 0.1 microns in size including asthma triggers such as dust, mold, and more.
Alen has a range of True HEPA air purifiers for asthma to suit your unique needs:
- Alen BreatheSmart FLEX: Cleans 700 SQ FT every 30 minutes, making it ideal for medium-sized rooms such as apartments, condos, or bedrooms.
- Alen BreatheSmart FIT50: Cleans 900 SQ FT every 30 minutes, making it ideal for large-sized rooms such as bedrooms, kitchens, and home gyms.
- Alen BreatheSmart Classic: Cleans 1,100 SQ FT every 30 minutes, making it ideal for open living spaces such as the master bedroom or living room.