Acupunct Electrother Res. 2009;34(1-2):15-26.
The role of alternative and complementary treatments of asthma.
Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa. firstname.lastname@example.org
Asthma is one of the leading chronic diseases of our times, with millions of sufferers worldwide and can be defined as a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways that is temporarily reversible either spontaneously or by treatment. Although there are many allopathic treatments including bronchodilators and corticosteroids, which either focuses on long-term control or immediate relief, there is no single medication that is effective against both the inflammatory and bronchoconstrictive components of asthma. Therefore, many sufferers turn to alternative or complementary therapies, typically in conjunction with their regular allopathic medications. The current short communication briefly reviews the disease and investigates the types of alternative and complementary treatments available to asthma sufferers. It is concluded that therapies like acupuncture, yoga, Tai Chi Chuan and hypnosis are used by many asthma patients but it seems as if many patients do not communicate the use of such therapies to their medical practitioners. Results from documented research, however, show alternative therapies for the treatment of asthma have a role to play and are effective to alleviate symptoms. However, well-organized clinical trials are needed to document efficacy and delineate the specific types of interventions most appropriate for particular asthmatic populations.