Wellness Tip of the Week

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Quality Control: Yoga Can Improve Life for People with Asthma

If you have asthma, “breathing a little easier” is serious business.  Turns out that yoga may help you do that, both metaphorically and literally.  Reviews of dozens of studies found that the ancient practice may ease symptoms and improve quality of life in people with mild to moderate asthma.  Yoga’s positive effects may hinge on the connections between stress, inflammation, and asthma symptoms.

“When we feel stressed, our nervous system responds in a way that provokes more inflammation in the body,” notes Cleveland Clinic yoga program manager Judi Bar.

By reducing stress, yoga may ease inflammation that aggravates asthma.  And certain stretches may help counteract the muscle-related effects of asthma.  “When the muscles between your ribs are tight and overworked, a simple chest-opening pose such as Cobra can offer a soothing stretch,” says Barr. 

Whether yoga can improve lung function in people with asthma remains uncertain, and it’s essential to keep taking your medications as prescribed.  But, as part of your asthma “toolkit,” consider making a little breathing room for yoga.

The Wellness Tip of the Week is from Cleveland Clinic’s 360-5 Daily Wellness Tips.