Asthmatics, take a deep breath (if you can >_<) as this post is for you. While massage has a number of benefits that improve health and happiness, we’ve yet to mention how massage can help asthmatics. Thankfully massage can help asthmatics by directly minimizing everyone’s number one enemy…
Stress can really do a number on the body. We’ve covered it here and here so we won’t tread over familiar ground, nonetheless stress can make us feel anxious, fatigued, unhappy, and can make any illness even worse. As massage can ease stress and pressures on the body, it’s often used by asthmatics looking to relieve stress to better manage their asthma. When asthmatics feel stressed, their respiratory muscles can seize up making air flow more restricted. Following a massage which relaxes asthmatics, respiratory muscles are open enabling a better flow of air.
One study of 16 4-8 year olds revealed some interesting details about the effects of massage on their asthma. Of the children assigned a 20 minute massage before bed for 30 minutes, all reported an “immediate decrease in behavioral anxiety and cortisol” after the massage. Not only that, but “their attitude toward asthma and their peak air flow and other pulmonary functions improved over the course of the study”. From the same study, 8 9-14 year olds with asthma were also given massage. While their results were less promising than the 4-8 year olds, they still reported an improvement over forced expiratory flow as a result of the massage.
A popular accompaniment to massage is aromatherapy which can also help asthmatics. And just like massage which reduces stress, so does aromatherapy. For asthmatics looking for stress relief for their asthmatic symptoms, choose lavender, chamomile, frankincense, eucalyptus, and bergamot. Essential oils like lavender can reduce inflammation, while others like frankincense allow the lungs to expand for deeper breathing. Please note that not all asthmatics react positively to aromatherapy, with some finding they are sensitive. So please speak to your doctor first.
While massage might not be the first solution you might turn to if you have asthma, it does provide relief from symptoms by inducing greater relaxation and reducing stress. While the research is still growing, in children, massage therapy has been found to help with their asthma. So if breathing is hard for you and you’re looking for a relief, give massage and go and see if you feel better.
If you’re an asthmatic and have experience with massage, let us know in the comments section below.