The issue people with asthma have is the fact that their airways become swollen and narrow during what is called a bronchospasm. At the same time the airways fill up with mucus as they would if a person was having an allergic reaction. This is the body’s way to ward of invading toxic particles from entering the body from the environment. Only with asthma sufferers, the body is more sensitive to outside sources than the average person and asthmatics must be very careful about the air that they breathe. There is pollution everywhere in our environment, from dust, pollen, gasoline fumes and more, and there are allergens inside the home from smoke, pets, carpets, dust mites and so on.
Allergic reactions to food, daily stress, airborne allergens, are all common triggers from asthmatics and they will certainly leave the person gasping for air. The body will produce histamines to fight the allergens as they attack the airways and lungs and the histamine constricts the blood vessels and airways and that in turn restricts the amount of oxygen going back down the airways to the lungs. It is a constant battle for asthma sufferers just to breathe in this very polluted world that we live in.
Since asthmatics are already so sensitive to external allergens it is very important to cut down on as much irritants as possible including aromatherapy. Though pleasant smelling to the average individual these fragrances may in fact irritate the airways of an asthmatic individual. However, some asthmatics are able to use aromatherapy prudently and have use of wonderful healing benefits.
You must of course not use any aromatherapy products during the period when you are prone to asthma attacks. During the periods where you are asymptomatic you may be able to try some products to see if you able to handle them.
Types of aromatherapy to try out
Chest rub You can try a chest rub made from essential oils, which are rich in decongestive and antihistamine properties, this would include peppermint and ginger. There is a product called German chamomile that contains chamazulene which some people say prevents the release of histamine (no research studies substantiate this claim at this time). However, frankincense, marjoram, and rose are believed to help with deep breathing so vitally important so that the asthmatic can expand their lung capacity. Aromatherapists maintain that certain fragrances such as chamomile, marjoram, lavender, geranium, and rose can reduce the bronchial spasms.
Some asthmatics can use a lavender steam even when having an attack (caution always consult with your doctor before trying any products). The lavender steam is said to open airways as the lavender relaxes the spasms. This can help with lessening the attacks (but continue on your asthma action plan prescribed by your doctor). Lavender also relaxes the mind and this is good to reduce your stress during an attack.
Diffuser or humidifier
Some people may find that steaming will actually make an attack worst, or make it harder to breathe, if that is the case you may still benefit from lavender, by using a diffuser or a humidifier. You can put a few drops of lavender in the bathtub as well and breathe in the vapors; this is especially good for small children. Or you can rub your feet with lavender oil.
Herbalists swear that essential oils from plant roots can heal asthma on their own, bear in mind that this has not been proven medically but it might be worth your while to try the product and see what it will do for you.
It is said that herbs will repair lung damage, improve breathing when used along with other aromatherapy such as massages and deep relaxation techniques and the classic fragrant baths. Of course you must avoid the triggers for your asthma attacks and you must continue with your doctor’s plan of action. I cannot stress that enough. If you are able to tolerant the fragrance baths, use that in combination with massages and relaxation techniques and you will surely reap the benefits of a less stressful life and as we know, stress, is a major factor in triggering asthma attacks for many people.