Breathing exercises for asthma improve patient-centred measures but not pathophysiology -- drugs still needed

A prospective, parallel group, single-blind, randomized controlled trial comparing breathing training with asthma education was performed.

Subjects with asthma with impaired health status were randomized to receive 3 sessions of either physiotherapist-supervised breathing training or asthma nurse-delivered asthma education.

The main outcome was Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ) score, with secondary outcomes including spirometry, bronchial hyper-responsiveness, and exhaled nitric oxide.

Early on (one month), there was no difference but at 6 months there was a significant difference favoring breathing training.

Breathing training resulted in improvements in health status and other patient-centered measures but not in asthma pathophysiology. Exercises will not reduce the need for anti-inflammatory medication (inhaled corticosteroids).


Breathing exercises for asthma: a randomised controlled trial. M Thomas et al. Thorax 2009;64:55-61.
Buteyko method, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
A large Buteyko asthma study will be conducted in New Zealand in 2012
Breathing exercises "may" help relieve asthma, though the efficacy varies. NTYimes, 2012

1 comment:

  1. This aligns with my own personal experience. While my meditative/breathing exercises can influence the onset of attacks by controlling my breathing during critical moments (i.e. after exercise, coughing, etc), if the asthma is coming, it's coming, especially if induced by a respiratory infection or allergic reaction.