Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

While some alternative remedies are used for asthma, in most cases more research is needed to see how well they work and to measure the extent of possible side effects. Alternative treatments that may help with asthma include:

  • Breathing techniques. These include structured breathing programs, such as the Buteyko breathing technique, the Papworth method and yoga breathing exercises (pranayama).
  • Acupuncture. This technique has roots in traditional Chinese medicine. It involves placing very thin needles at strategic points on your child's body. Acupuncture requires holding still for up to a few minutes, which can be hard for young children. It's safe and generally painless.
  • Relaxation techniques. Techniques such as meditation, biofeedback, hypnosis and progressive muscle relaxation may help with asthma by reducing tension and stress.
  • Homeopathy. Homeopathy aims to stimulate the body's self-healing response by using very small doses of substances that cause symptoms. In the case of asthma, homeopathic remedies are made from substances that trigger an asthmatic reaction, such as pollen or weeds. There's still not enough evidence to determine whether homeopathy helps treat asthma caused by allergies or not.
  • Herbal remedies and supplements. A number of herbal remedies have been tried for asthma, such as butterbur, ginkgo and dried ivy. Studies are unclear about the benefit of these and other herbal treatments for asthma. Herbs and supplements can have side effects and some may interact with other medications your child is taking. Talk to your child's doctor before trying any herbs or supplements.
Mar. 05, 2013