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Breathing Exercises Can Help Ease Asthma

Approach improves quality of life, lowers stress, study finds

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- While asthma breathing exercises can improve a patient's quality of life, they don't reduce the need for inhalers, according to a study by Scottish researchers.

The University of Aberdeen study included nearly 200 adults being treated for mild to moderately severe asthma. About half (94) of the patients did three sessions of breathing exercise training provided by a physiotherapist, while the rest received information and advice about their disease.

After one month, both groups showed improvements in quality of life. But after six months, the patients in the breathing exercises group were significantly less anxious and depressed, and tended to control their asthma better than those in the information/advice group.

The study appears in the current issue of the journal Thorax.

Previous research had suggested that the amount of symptoms experienced by asthma patients was associated with the degree of control they felt they hade over their lives, the researchers noted.

While this study suggests that breathing exercises may benefit patients with mild to moderate asthma that isn't well controlled, patients must not substitute these exercises for asthma medications, the researchers emphasized.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about asthma.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: BMJ Specialist Journals, news release, Dec. 2, 2008

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