The ID band company provides a range of medical ID bands to asthma patients to help protect asthmatics during attacks and increase medical response speeds. However, we are also interested in equipping you with knowledge that can help you alleviate your suffering and cope better with asthma attacks when they do happen.
There is growing evidence suggesting the efficacy of meditation in health care and the field of stress management (Chiesa and Seretti, 2009) and some potency to enhance positive feelings (Chang et al., 2004) increase pain tolerance, and reduce anxiety (Wachholtz and Pargament, 2005).
The diaphragm is a muscle located horizontally between the chest cavity and stomach cavity. Learning to utilise this muscle can optimise the amount of oxygen drawn into your lungs and strengthen your respiratory system. Breathing exercises such as “diaphragmatic” breathing, can result in fewer asthma symptoms and a better quality of life according to the NHS.
Transformational Breath is a breathing technique that combines meditation and diaphragmatic breathing in one practice. The benefits this practice can provide for asthma sufferers as a complementary treatment cannot be overstated. That’s why we’ve invited Ronica Joshi, Founder of MindBodyFeelGood and a Certified Transformational Breath Facilitator to help explain its benefits to you.
Founder of MindBodyFeelGood and a Transformational Breath Facilitator: Ronica Joshi explains
As asthma sufferers you can experience chronic coughing, chest constriction, regular shortness of breath and lack of stamina. This can have limitations in your ability to take part in physical activities such as exercise, sports, or in more severe cases, simply traveling or negotiating stairs and inclines. These experiences can induce states of fear and anxiety, which can induce a negative association in your mind regarding the setting you were in when the attack took place, thus creating an irrational fear of it. For example, if you were hospitalised by a severe asthmatic attack whilst visiting a museum, you could experience panic or shortness of breath from the mere sight of a museum post recovery. The emotional complexities of asthma in line with its physical restraints can be difficult to manage or assuage. Transformational Breath represents a genuine option for counteracting both these aspects of the disease.
Transformational Breath is a Breathing Meditation technique that incorporates diaphragmatic breathing with acupressure, sound healing, affirmations and a focus on issues with anxiety or stress that are specific to you. Your personal issues in relation to asthma can be discussed with a facilitator, who can then use their experience to help negotiate relief from those emotions using the various techniques above.
The diaphragm is the major muscle that controls the lungs ability to inhale and exhale, the rate of breathing and the volume of air moved. Research conducted into the effects of breath on asthmatics are instructive. Upton, J. et al, showed that erratic or discordant diaphragmatic breathing (thoraco-abdominal asynchrony) was associated with decreased control of asthma. Transformational Breath’s focus on drawing air into the lungs using the diaphragm not only strengthens the diaphragm to help provide you with additional control over your breathing during attacks, but also improves lung capacity and respiratory strength, helping to prevent the onset of an attack in the first place.
Meditation is a state of deep peace that occurs when the mind is calm and silent. It can encompass different techniques such as simply focusing on your breath, scanning the body, or observing sensations. It is a way of connecting with the space between your thoughts and is known to have a range of benefits associated with mental perspicuity, wellbeing and happiness. A University of Cincinnati study found meditation has been shown to act as a coping strategy for conditions like Asthma. Other studies amongst bronchial asthma sufferers, found when meditation is used as complementary treatment there is a decrease in the severity of symptoms, a reduction in airway resistance, a strong improvement and a decrease in the need for medicines.
Transformational Breath is a relatively new meditative practice, but has soared in popularity in the UK due its physical, mental and emotional benefits. The practice is endorsed by well known integrative medicine experts in the USA such as Deepak Chopra MD and Christiane Northrup MD.
Case Study: Greg – A Journey to Empowerment
Greg was an acute asthmatic, whose asthma was so severe he would find it hard to make it up short flights of stairs without finding himself considerably out of breath. Greg sought out Transformational Breath to support him with his asthma.
Greg’s Transformational Breath facilitator began by putting focus on adapting a more natural breathing style for him, before introducing him to the Transformational Breath technique. In common with other asthmatics, Greg, like other Asthmatics, benefitted from pressure on points on his abdomen and chest that were preventing his breathing from flowing naturally. These points may become blocked as a response to changes in breathing pattern related to anxiety. Greg would experience rushes of emotion likely linked to the initial causes of his breathing issues. This represented part of the process of discharging those emotions. Sound was also used to help open up spaces in Greg where breathing had become blocked, helping heal the cellular memory of his childhood experiences in relation to Asthma.
After 18 months of consistent practice, Greg’s condition had improved to such an extent that he was able to take part in a 10,000 metre run. He described feeling ‘much lighter’, freed from the physical constraints of his asthma. He now finds he can ‘breathe through’ physical difficulties and only has a back-up inhaler of Ventalin that he rarely uses.
Read More on Greg’s case study at www.transformationalbreath.co.uk
Escape the Emotional stress and Anxiety Linked with Asthma
If you are an acute asthmatic, you may have experienced limited work or school life, or it may have affected your family and leisure activities to an extent that you’ve encountered stress, anxiety or feelings of helplessness. The Asthma Center for Education and Research Fund was founded in 1994 as a non-profit organisation to promote asthma and allergy education and research. They point out that ‘emotional stress can be a significant triggering factor in asthma’ too. You can read more about the emotional and physical symptoms of asthma at The Asthma Centre here.
Transformational Breath encourages breath to be drawn deep into the lungs. The breath can access blocked areas of emotion that have taken root in certain parts of the body. In this way, negative emotions associated with debilitating diseases like Asthma can be released, leaving you better able to take on the various challenges of the condition and regain control of your emotional and mental health. A helpful affirmation that I find effective in improving the psychological and emotional well-being of Asthmatics is ‘It is safe now for me to take charge of my own life. I choose to be free.’
You can read more about Ronica Joshi and her practice here.
You may also find this Evening Standard article a useful introduction to the benefits of Transformational Breath.
Other Medical Conditions Transformational Breath Can Support
Transformational Breath has been reported to benefit other challenging health conditions ranging from cancer to digestive disorders, migraines, heart and circulation problems, addictions, high blood pressure, sluggish immune system, depression, chronic fatigue, lack of self-empowerment, relationship problems, aggression and stress-related issues; the list is endless.
Please do not stop using asthma medicine without the advice of your doctor. In mild cases, breathing meditation may be adequate to stop an attack without the use of inhalers; however, many cases are very severe, and meditation should only be used to complement medical treatment.
 Honsberger, R. W., and Wilson, A. F. (1973) The effect of Transcendental Meditation upon bronchial asthma.
– Honsberger, R. W., and Wilson, A. F. (1973) Transcendental Meditation in treating asthma. Respiratory Therapy: The Journal of Inhalation Technology 3: 79-80.
– Wilson, A. F.; Honsberger, R. W.; Chiu, J. T.; and Novey, H. S. (1975) Transcendental Meditation and asthma. Respiration 32: 74-80.
– Graf, D., and Pfisterer, G. (1978) Der Nutzen der Technik der Transzendentalen Meditation für die ärztliche Praxis. Erfahrungsheilkunde 9: 594-596.
– Kirtane, L. (1980) Transcendental Meditation: A multipurpose tool in clinical practice. General medical practice, Poona, Maharashtra, India.
– Browne, G. E.; Fougere, D.; Roxburgh, A.; Bird, J.; and Lovell-Smith, H. D. (1983) Improved mental and physical health and decreased use of prescribed and non-prescribed drugs through the Transcendental Meditation program. Age of Enlightenment Medical Council, Christchurch, New Zealand; Heylen Research Centre, Auckland, New Zealand; and Dunedin Hospital, Dunedin, New Zealand.