Please note: This is part two of a two part post because of the length. Part one of this article can be found here.
How can Homeopathy help asthma?
Like with Traditional Chinese Medicine, each individual is analyzed for their specific symptoms and an appropriate therapy is chosen, not for the disease, but for the person displaying signs of health out of balance. This is a very important distinction, and, very generally speaking, one of the main differences between conventional and “complementary” approaches to healthcare. Please refer to the essay on Homeopathy in the Introduction to Modalities section.
After the homeopath, naturopath or medical doctor trained in homeopathy (they should have the title “Diplomat of Homeopathy” after their other credentials) listen carefully to your story, one of the following remedies are likely to be prescribed.
- Aconitum napellus and Ipecacuanha are to be given alternately during attack; they will lessen the symptoms, will ease breathing, reduce cough.
- Alumina silicata is for breathing arrested by coughing with rattling in chest; difficult breathing from coughing.
- Ambra grisea is given in old people and children; dyspnea (difficulty breathing) with little exertion.
- Ambrosiais given to patients with fever due to ragweed pollen.
- Ammonium carbonicum for painful breathing; the patient is worse in warm room until suffocation is imminent; coughs from 2 to 5 a.m.
- Antimonium tartaricum for difficult breathing with suffocating cough, anxious oppression front chest from excessive phlegm; aged people, children; respiration is rapid, painful, noisy.
- Aralia racemosa for patients with lots of nasal discharge, with loud wheezing, or a whistling respiration which comes on lying down or at midnight; this patient may get asthma attacks after short sleep; the sputum is warm and salty; theycough because of a tickling in the throat and constriction of chest; the patient has to sit up to avoid choking.
- Arsenicum album is useful in acute and chronic cases with labored breathing, extreme agitation, moaning, restless, great exhaustion and anguish as if dying; the patient has a cold perspiration; breathing is worse when walking, going uphill of up stairs; asthma attacks occur at bedtime or during the first part of night; midnight aggravation associated with emphysema, hay asthma, or after trying to suppress an attack, for example with conventional drugs.
- Belladonna is the remedy given to patients with violent spasms of asthmatic breathing attended by constriction of the chest and a sense of constriction of throat; the patient feel as if he would suffocate; this is an antispasmodic remedy.
- Blatta ori is the remedy for painful breathing and thick purulent mucus
- Bryonia is for an obstruction of the breathing at night or toward morning, with frequent cough, pain under short ribs; the patient feel better lying on their back but feels worse when talking or making even the slightest movement; there may also be tracheal or broncheal irritation
- Chloralum is for wheezing respiration; whe lying down the patient must inhale through their nose and exhale by blowing air out through pursed lips.
- Colocynthis is for asthma accompanied by indigestion and flatulence; the patient feels worse at the sea side; feels cold even in hot weather
- Dulcamara is for asthma brought on by wet weather or by iving on wet basements
- Graphites for any kind of skin eruptions alternating with or co-existing with asthma
- Grindelia is the remedy for an abnormal accumulation of mucus, breathing stops when the patient is asleep; emphysema with dilated heart; asthma of old people suffering from bronchitis which causes paralysis of digestive function. This is a good remedy to bring back the appetite, and to reduce heart palpitations associated with breathing difficulties.
- Hypericum is for asthma which is worse in foggy weather; for when the attacks are relieved by copious expectoration (hawking up of mucus), and profuse perspiration.
- Ignatia is usually a female remedy, and for asthma aggravated by emotions, by cares and repeated griefs.
- Ipecacuanha is for a spasmodic form of asthma which presents with the sensation of having a great weight on the chest with anxiety, wheezing, shortness of breath, feeling of suffocation which is worse with movement; this patient has a constant cough causing vomiting; the chest full of phlegm, there is a cold sweat on the hands and feet; for asthma associated with skin diseases.
- Kali bichromicum is for asthma attacks caused by or following sexual intercourse, especially in the early morning; there is often a characteristic thick, green, ropy nasal or pulmonary discharge.
- Kali carbonicum is for when the attack comes after midnight; it compels patient to sit giving better relief; this patient is sensitive to changes of temperature and to cold drafts; the patient is irritable, full of fears and imaginations.
- Kali nitricum is for excessively difficult or painful breathing, and asthma with faintness, nausea with dull stitches, or a burning pain in the chest.
- Kali phosphoricum is for asthma caused by nerves or anxiety.
- Kali sulphuricum is given to asthmatics with yellow expectoration, much rattling in chest, labored breathing which makes talking almost impossible.NOTE: The above remedies which begin with “Kali” are all characterized by weakness in the patietn. Kali means the element Potassium. All the Kali remedies are “cell salts” which means they occur naturally in the body at various concentrations.
- Lachesis is for asthmatics who are waken up at night from a coughing, wheezing spell; they cough up a thin, watery phelgm, which relieves them. In general Lachesis is a left-sided remedy in which the symptoms are worse during and after sleep.
- Lobelia inflata is given for tightness of the chest, tickling of the trachea, laborious breathing where the patient needs to keep the mouth open to breathe; there’s a tickling under the breast bone on taking a big breath; no cough or expectoration; this patient is worse in the cold; the smell of tobacco fumes is unbearable to this patient.
- Lycopodium os given for asthma induced by excitement, anger or violent emotion . The patient will flare their nostrils in and out in an attempt to breathe more easily.
- Medorrhinum may be given in difficult to pinpoint cases; the patient has a choking cough, can’t catch their breath. They are better lying flat on their face; they want to be fanned; they claim to feel cold yet throw their covers off; heat, a wet damp draft, thunder storms, daylight makes them worse. They feel better in the evening; their asthma alternates or co-exists with rheumatism.
- Mephites is for asthma which comes on with drunkeness.
- Natrum arsenicum for asthma alternating with hives or produced by inhaling coal dust.
- Natrum sulphuricum for asthma which comes on during wet weather, rainy seasons; the patient gets attacks every change of season, in the early morning; the cough is loose, humid, copious,viscid, with greenish-yellow phlegm; rattling noises can be heard in the chest, they expectorate thick, ropy white mucus; they hold their chest with their hand which relieves the cough; for asthma with bronchitis, or a deformity of the chest; associated with or alternating with rheumatism.
- Nux vomica for asthma of digestive origin; nocturnal attacks preceded by disagreeable, anxious dreams; the patient is better lying on their back or changing sides or sitting up; they fart and have a swollen belly.
- Opium for asthma association with blood congestion or pulmonary spasms with deep rattling breathing; anguish, suffocation during sleep, nightmare, bluish redness of face.
- Phosphorus for asthma brought on in humid conditions; the patient has a great thirst for cold water, which is vomited as soon as it get hot in stomach; the urine is scanty and high in protein.
- Psorinum is a remedy for asthma which is relieved by lying down with the arms spread wide apart; for asthma worse in winter and cold seasons; the secretions are sticky and smell offensive; for asthma in old men.
- Pulsatilla for asthma in timid, irritable children or young adults with changeable moods who laugh or cry easily. These patients loath of fat (especially butter), fear the dark, are suspicious and dream of cats.
- Sabadilla is for hay asthma with oppressive sneezing and a watery nasal discharge.
- Sanguinaria is for asthma worsened by odors; the cough is hoarse, harsh and dry.
- Silica for asthma in chilly patients; with lots of catarrh in their chest, with characteristic asthmatic wheezing, inability to move; given in asthma which comes on after having gonorrhea.
- Syphilinum for asthma which returns every summer.
- Thuja occidentalis for asthma which comes on following vaccination; for the patient who also has chronic warts and has a dry cough in the afternoon; for infantile asthma with a dry or loose cough.
- Yerba Santa is for asthma relieved by coughing up phlegm.
Please consult with a qualified homeopathic practitioner for the correct dose of your remedy, and to get the list of precautions to prevent antidoting the remedy.
What kind of Subtle Energy techniques are useful for asthma?
Some folks like to work with flower essences. Some of the more popular ones to help with asthma are:
- wild rose
- crab apple
- Shasta daisy
Other people find it useful to work with color, either by using thin plastic filters over light sources in their home or office environment, or by wearing clothes of specific colors. The following serves as a guide to experiment with color therapy to help asthma.
During an asthma attack try:
- purple (raises the threshold of pain and is soporific; is a vasodilator; slows heart rate) on face, throat and chest
- scarlet (acts as a stimulant to the kidney and adrenals) on kidneys
- orange (an antispasmodic) on throat and chest
- indigo or violet on throat, chest and upper back for 15 minutes
After an attack try:
- lemon (helps to dissolve blood clots) on front of body
- orange (supports the lung and enhances respiration; acts as a decongestant) on throat and chest
- magenta (helps to balance emotions and enhance energy; helps to build up and balance the functional activity of the heart, kidneys, adrenals, and the reproductive system; a cardiotonic) on chest and kidneys Another method of gathering up subtle healing energy is to work with gems and minerals. They may be worn as jewelry, or placed around the home in special places. For asthma, the following are helpful:
- Coral ash
- Emerald ash
- Sapphire and Ruby (for severe asthma)
- Sapphire and Pearl
- Ruby, Coral or Pearl
- after attack, use Pearl
- if acute, use Sapphire
What about psychologial approaches, such as visualization or meditation techniques, to help asthma?
- Attacks may be more frequent from 1 AM to 3 AM due to normal circadian rhythms. In Chinese Medicine, this is the Lung time of day. Each of the 12 meridians is associated with a 2 hour time period.
- Maybe associated to dependency issues, particularly related to struggles for independence from maternal influence. Asthma is thought to be a manifestation of choking, either from emotional or psychological constriction.
- Severity of asthma attack is directly related to the amount of fear and anxiety felt by the patient. Anxiety causes further bronchoconstriction. Therapy should be directed to reducing anxiety.
- Childhood asthma may have an important role in maintaining the power balance within the family. Since recovery of the child could endanger the family’s habitual security, intrafamilial forces are inhibiting the child’s recovery and play a role in the precipitation of the asthmatic attacks. Furthermore, many emotional conflicts between the parents and siblings often get avoided or diffused due to everyone’s overriding concern over the asthma situation. The patient may serve as a “conflict avoidance tool” and a protection for other family members and their submerged problems of functioning well as a unit.
- Mothers of asthmatics suffered more depressive illness than controls.
- Fear of estrangement from the mother and inhibition of crying may play causative roles in the initiation of asthma in children.
- Asthmatics are often highly sensitive to the loss of love and appreciation from meaningful figures. This hypersensitivity is generally associated with strong feelings of dependency and compliance, which may alternate with unregulated expression of anger or grief.
- A 15 item MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) scale has been developed that relates to the reported frequency of panic-fear symptoms on the Asthma Symptom Checklist (ASC). High scales scores describe fearful, emotionally labilie individuals who profess to be more sensitive than others, and are unable or disinclined to persist in the face of difficulty.
- Child’s repressed aggressiveness within the family and pathological fixation on mother can seed a life long pattern of asthma attacks.
- Repression of the feelings of longing for more affection, fear of losing the mother, and anger at the deprivation experienced can also cause asthma.
- Asthma may simply be a crying out for the mother’s love.
- Bronchospasm in children may be brought on by crying.
- There is some “the chicken or the egg” controversy on emotional aspects of asthma; some say pathologic emotions are a cause, while others say they are secondary to the disease.
- Fear of life; not wanting to be here.
- Fear of maternal separation.
- Generalized fear, anger, and anxiety.
- Personality traits of the chronic asthmatic have been noted as: marked egocentricity, impulsive behavior, impatience, domineering attitude, inflexibility, stubbornness, huge need for love and affection, jealousy, and people who are “late bloomers.”
- Asthma patients feel unloved, left out, or ignored.
- Asthma may be precipitated by the arrival of a new family member, or during the first few years of a marriage.
- Asthmatics have excessive dependency on the mother and later in life may show sexual disturbance. They have considerable anxiety, irrational fears, guilt feelings, and insecurity. When high goals were set, they were unable to achieve them.
- Among the psychic factors, introversion in particular is probably important in the combination of factors affecting the inception of asthma.
- Poor psychosocial adaptation, obsessive neurosis, immature personality, and alcohol problems are associated with static or deteriorating trends in asthma. The patients who were the most extroverted and/or lacked psychic symptoms almost always have more favorable prognoses.
- The asthmatic individual feels left out, unloved or ignored, and wants to screen out another individual competing for attention with them, and not have anything to do with them.
- Children with asthma who also wet their beds appear to be at high risk for lower levels of self-esteem, poor quality of life and parents who prefer their siblings.If any of the above rings true for you, you want want to consider psychotherapy to begin to change these old, dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors. Some techniques include:
- systematic desensitization: after relaxing, describes to your therapist their fears about all the disturbing aspects of the disease ranging from mild asthma to death from status asthmaticus, until you no longer reacts with anxiety. Since anxiety exasperates the asthmatic condition, desensitization helps reduce attacks and their severity.
- Biofeedback: Training both for facial muscle relaxation and for reducint respiratory resistance improves short term pulmonary function. Biofeedback is also useful for deep muscle relaxation and can be learned in such as way as to be accessed anywhere, with or without a machine.
- Your therapist can show you how to do diaphragmatic breathing where you place your hand on the abdomen. (Many asthmatics inhale with the diaphragm raised rather than relaxed.) The therapist can also instruct you to “notice the feelings as the tubes open up.” Then you can reproduce these feelings, and their effects, on your own.
- Yoga: The integral yoga approach to asthma includes correction of distorted posture and faulty breathing habits, methods for the expectoration of mucous, teaching a system of general muscle relaxation, techniques for the release of supressed emotion and for reducing anxiety and self conscious awareness. The Yoga Research Institute in India states that the purpose of functional breathing exercises is to learn to engage both the abdominal muscles and the diaphragm in breathing. The duration of exhalation should be double that of inhalation. Resistance must be made to the free passage of air when breathing in and out, by contracting the larynx or pursing the lips. The patient must let her mind follow the process of exhalation, and allow that to automatically become a form of progressive relaxation.
- Muscular relaxation therapy alone appears to have no effect. Certain relaxation techniques, such as autogenic training, trancendental meditation, systematic desensitization, and biofeedback-assisted relaxation can produce improvement.
Creative visualization concepts which may help you understand the roots of your asthma are a form of self-education. You can also seek guidance from a therapist. The idea is to understand what the bronchi look like, and recognize that an attack can be made worse by seeing bronchi tighten. With this image, you discover you have some control over wether the symptoms get worse or better. Imagine that your chest is a treasure chest, with your heart being the prize. Imagine yourself in a leaf, being the breathing process of the leaf. Imagine that you are a sleek, glossy train, and your voice is a cheerful steam whistle. Hold the following affirmations in your mind, and repeat them to yourself outloud looking in the mirror:
- It is safe for me to take charge of my own life.
- I choose to be free.