To understand the role of yoga in helping asthma patients we need to understand what asthma as a disease is. Asthma is a disease of the airways in which the airways go into a state of spasm (narrowing)which results in reduction of airflow into the lungs thus causing breathlessness to the patient. As the disease progresses patients start trapping air into the lungs resulting further worsening of their symptoms. While in the initial stages deep breathing exercises are important, in the later stages forceful and prolonged exhalation helps in removing the trapped air.
The medication prescribed to asthma patients includes drugs which dilate the airways(bronchodilators) and steroids which control the inflammation.
Yoga can play an essential role in the management of an asthma patient. The various aasanas performed in pranayama can help in improving lung functions. Deep breathing (patient sits in sukhasana and performs deep inhalation and exhalation through both nostrils), Brahmari (patient sits in sukhasana, inhales through both the nostrils and while exhaling produces sound of female humming bee), and Omkara (patient sits in sukhasana, inhales deeply and then while exhaling produces the sound Om with maximum force and continues till no further exhalation is possible), Anuloma viloma (patient breathes through alternate nostrils while sitting in sukhasana) and Sasankasana (patient sits in vajrasana with their hands back, holding the right wrist with the left arm, with inhalation the person bends backward and with exhalation bends forward touching his/her forehead to the ground).
In all these aasanas deep breathing helps in opening up the collapsed airways while Prolonged and forceful exhalation helps to expel the trapped air from the lungs. Significant improvement has been noticed in asthma patients who perform yoga regularly.
Although it may not be possible to perform yoga during an acute episode when symptoms are more pronounced but should be performed regularly during the stable phase.
Many asthma patients develop weakness in their legs following the use of steroids. Such patients are advised to perform yogic asanas which help in strengthening the quadriceps or the thigh muscles. Yoga also helps in strengthening the minds of the patients through meditation thus taking care of stress as a triggering factor.
Nasal allergies and sinusitis are common accompaniments to asthma. Jalniti and Sutraniti help in cleansing the nasal passages of all the dirt and bacteria filled mucous lining the nose.
Yet another trigger for asthma can be gastroesophageal reflux, which can be effectively kept under check with Kunjal.
Dr.Nangia was one of the five Physicians from across the globe and the only one from India to be felicitated by her Royal Highness Princess Royal of London on successfully completing the prestigious program of infectious diseases.
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