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 What is Asthma?

Asthma is a lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties. It's a lifelong condition with no cure.

This condition is caused by inflammation of the breathing tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. The inflammation makes the breathing tubes become narrow and sensitive and can occur randomly or after exposure to a trigger. The tubes may also sometimes become clogged with sticky mucus.

Common asthma triggers include:

* allergens, such as dust mites, animal fur and pollens

*other irritants, such as cigarette smoke, strong smells, gases and cold air, perfumes

* exercise

* chest infections

Asthma attack signs and symptoms include:

* Severe shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain, and coughing or wheezing

* Low peak expiratory flow (PEF) readings, if you use a peak flow meter

* Symptoms that fail to respond to use of a quick-acting (rescue) inhaler

Asthma treatment and self-management is aimed at keeping the asthmatic symptom-free, while taking the least amount of medicines necessary. How is Reflexology beneficial to the management of asthma?


How Can Reflexology Help With Asthma Management?

Reflexology has a relaxing and stimulating effect when it's performed. The relaxed state triggers slower, deeper respiration. The non-invasive therapy helps ‘balance’ organs and tissues throughout the body and, acting through the nervous system, it can actually help strengthen and normalise the circulatory and respiratory system. Therapists suggest reflexology can help the body strengthen lung and bronchial tissue.

The main areas to focus on in reflexology are the respiratory system, the nervous system, and the circulatory system.


Reflexology and the Respiratory System

The respiratory system consists of seven key reflexes:

The Nose filters and warms air as it enters and is our first line of defence against bacteria and pathogens.

The Sinuses are lined with mucus within the skull and secrete mucus to act as a barrier which warms and moisten the inspired air.

The Trachea/Pharynx/Larynx are passageways for air, trapping and expelling foreign particles.

The Bronchi are air passageways between the trachea and alveoli

The Lungs contain a network of alveoli which are involved in exchanging air. They also contain a pleural cavity. The pleura is a membrane which folds back onto itself to form a two-layered membrane structure. The thin space between the two pleural layers is known as the pleural cavity and normally contains a small amount of pleural fluid. The outer pleura (parietal pleura) is attached to the chest wall. The inner pleura (visceral pleura) covers the lungs and adjoining structures, via blood vessels, bronchi and nerves.

The Diaphragm is a thin sheet of muscle under the lungs and a major muscle of respiration.

The Ileocecal Valve, as far as reflexology is concerned, is considered part of the respiratory system for the reason that it controls the flow of mucus through the GI tract.

Working the respiratory reflexes in reflexology can help calm the respiratory rate enabling relaxation as it deepens respiration and improves lung capacity. This occurs by relaxing any tightness in the respiratory muscles which allows the body to get more oxygen to cells and aid in the removal of waste products.

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