Asthma Round Table Discussion

Around the Ruscombe Table last month we were talking about ASTHMA. Here is a summary of how eleven of the 21 practitioners at Ruscombe answered the question: “How would you treat a child or an adult who came to you with asthma?”

Check for food allergies and environmental triggers, boost the immune system, consider copper.

Stacy Kargman, N.D. – 410-356-4600
Ina Grundmann, M.D. – 410 367-5622
Peter Hinderberger, M.D. – 410.367.6263

  • a complete blood test to check for food allergies (common items that cause congestion are dairy and gluten).
  • several homeopathic constitutional and acute remedies
  • herbal formulas that reduce bronchial restriction (see below)
  • prepare a nutritional protocol to strengthen the lung structure in the long term
  • natural anti-inflammatory agents like curcumin (turmeric) or frankincense (bosweslia) can be useful to alleviate the constricted air passages and inflammation.
  • support the adrenals with a constitutional homeopathic arsenic album, used for anxiety
  • A homeopathic copper ointment for over the kidneys and adrenals can be most supportive. Copper has feminine characteristics, as opposed to iron; it’s open to light and warmth, is malleable and is an excellent conductor, counteracting the resistance that asthma brings.

Dr. Hinderberger describes an excellent Anthroposophic remedy for asthma called Tabacum cupro cultum, which is created through an alchemical process called “vegetabilizing” metals. This method, initiated by Rudolf Steiner, involves mixing copper shavings into the soil where tobacco is grown over several generations of potentization. To vegetabilize a metal, an ore mineral or naturally occurring metal is mixed with soil and serves as “fertilizer” in which the medicinal plant grows. The plant is harvested and composted. The next spring, this compost fertilizes a new bed for the same plant type. Again the plant is harvested and composted. This process is repeated once more before the medicinal plant matures during the third cycle and is then processed to produce a medicine. In this way, the lifeless metal is channeled into a life process, and therefore potentiated and dynamised. Not only is the medicinal plant effective, but in addition, so is the metal or ore material that has been affecting the life process of the plant during the 3-year cycle.

Calm inflammatory tone, normalize stress response, nourish respiratory tissues back to health

Sara Eisenberg, MS: restorativeherbals@verizon.net – 410-323-9815

  • Medical herbalism offers many herbal formulas to assist the asthma patient during different manifestations of the condition. Herbs can be formulated as teas, tinctures, or powders to be mixed with foods for distinct and complementary purposes.
  • To reduce bronchial restriction and bronchial spasms — e.g. Lobelia, Petasites
  • To moisten or dry respiratory membranes as needed.
  • To allay symptoms of dry asthma — e.g. Grindelia, Licoric
  • To allay symptoms of wet asthma — e.g. Elecampane, Coleus
  • To interrupt rapid onset of symptoms — e.g. Boneset, Goldenseal
  • As a tonic for rebuilding tissues when not symptomatic — e.g.Turmeric, Saw Palmetto
  • To address as seasonal or chronic allergic component — e.g. Chinese Skullcap
  • Clients often see good results over time when combining these respiratory herbs as appropriate with systemic anti-inflammatories like Turmeric and Omega-3’s, and adaptogens that balance stress hormones.
  • Support adrenal function and shift sympathetic nervous system dominance with herbs that act as adaptogens (e.g. Ashwagandha, Siberian or American Ginseng) and nervines (e.g. Skullcap, Chamomile, Passionflower, Motherwort)
  • Bathe upper respiratory tissues regularly with a neti pot and solution of fine salt and antimicrobial and trophorestorative herbs (e.g. Echinacea, Goldenseal, Propolis) to remove irritants, dampen allergic response, and repair tissue integrity.

Learn how to exhale and relax, breath from the diaphragm, address the longterm consequences on the body’s structure.

Tessy Brungart:Tessyb@aol.com – 410-367-4075
Denarah Ferron: denarah@gmail.com – 443-510-3701
Lucy Hagan: LucyHagan@aol.com – 443-226-0050
Samantha Spyradakos: gettingtothepoint@ymail.com – 443.722.1896
Barry Drew: drew.4721@comcast.net – 443-695-4370

  • Remember the hard part about an asthma attack is the inability to breathe OUT. The exhale is the letting go — the relaxation part.
  • Chronic sufferers have upper ribs lifted up and forward. Rolfing can assist the breather to work with the exhale. Working with the soft tissue and rib joints, elongating the upper ribs, and neck.
  • The whole belief system is fixed in the muscular-skeletal system, and people end up trying to breathe with their shoulders. Trying to get in more air, they have forgotten that half of the breath is the experience of letting it out. When the myofacial is frozen, it is an act of trust to let it out.
  • If you have seasonal asthma triggers, make a standing appointment with your bodyworker at that time of year to keep these areas loose.
  • Adults who no longer experience asthma attacks may still have secondary spinal and neck problems from their early experiences that include emotional components as well as neurological.
  • Craniosacral work can be very helpful to release restrictions in the diaphragm and chest
  • Reiki helps soothe the strong emotional component to asthma
  • Aromatherapy in an infuser on a timer can be very calming, and while choosing the scents is a very individual thing, lavender and orange might be especially soothing. Lemon, pine, eucalyptus and tea tree are all good for the respiratory system and opening up the sinuses.
  • Shiatsu on the lung and kidney points.
  • Massage for gently working the belly and diaphram area, the primary breathing muscle, as well as the assistory muscles like the intercostals and pec major and minor. Massage therapists can also work the anterior neck, the hyoids avoiding arteries and veins, SCM and scalenes, to assist in elevating the rib cage and expanding lung capacity.
  • Massage would also focus on the muscles that elevate the ribs, to make more space in the chest cavity, and expand the lungs.
  • Schedule a massage after an attack. Learning the correct way to breathe will help. Asthma breathers are short in the lungs. Expand the diaphragm with a lower breath first, and then fill the lungs. Watch a baby breath.

Clean up your living environment, find your food triggers.

Shoshanna Shamberg OTR/L, MS: info@IrlenVLCMD.com – 410-358-7269

Heating systems can dry out mucous membranes and cause a person to be more prone to allergens in the air. Using a closed system (old hot water or oil filled radiators) eliminates the forced air ducts that can put dusts and molds into the air even if you have a good air filter on your furnace and air conditioning system. Eliminate or minimize curtains, which can trap dust and molds into their fibers. Blinds and shades do not trap as many and can be cleaned more easily. Baltimore is a humid place already and therefore more prone to dust and mold allergens. Controlling the air quality inside your home is crucial.

  • Be aware of airplanes and hospitals and other closed spaces that recirculate germs. Consider wearing a facemask or using a personal air filter in closed spaces like these.
  • Be careful around pets that create hair and dandruff.
  • Switch to all organic foods and environmental household cleaning products. Test for allergens and create an effective rotation diet.
  • Ecological allergists and kinesiologists can determine precisely which allergens are causing problems and provide a drug free intervention using allergen tinctures. Rotating foods daily is recommended to avoid that food becoming an allergen or irritating the system.
  • Be extra careful about diet and health during the season you are most prone to allergic reactions.
  • Managing stress can also help manage asthma, by increasing immune system function. Irlen Method can eliminate or minimize visual stress and help increase immune system functions in the process.

Asthma can be very stressful for the parents as well as the child suffering the attacks. Learning to be mindful during and between attacks can help the parent to help the child.

Trish Magyari, MS, CGC, M: trish@trishmagyari.com – 443-939-0232

  • Adults who had asthma as a child still have anxiety over breathing issues even if no longer symptomatic.
  • Learning meditation with its focus on the breath can be a challenge for people with asthma if focusing on the breath increases anxiety. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction can create a more peaceful relationship with the breath, and a feeling of knowing how to stay with yourself and be present.

Quotes from two Ruscombe practitioners who personally have asthma:

Denarah Ferron: denarah@gmail.com – 443-510-3701: “I grew up with asthma and used to self treat by poking in my ribs. Obviously it didn’t change the swelling of the bronchi but it did relax me (not being able to breathe is stressful and the stress can tighten more muscles, making it harder to breathe), and make my breathing easier by opening up my rib cage. Steroids helped, too.”

Shoshanna Shamberg OTR/L, MS: info@IrlenVLCMD.com – 410-358-7269: “I personally have asthma and keep a vasodialator with me in my home and when I travel. It has saved my life a few times. I have not had an attack in many, many years due to learning what triggers me (eating too much white flour, sugar, white rice, white potatoes, or being in a moldy place too long). Drinking a lot of water helps hydrate my body, too, to eliminate any build up of toxins and allergens.”

And a final note: Remember, asthma can be life threatening. If symptoms are bad, go immediately to the hospital and get treated first, and then work on controlling the symptoms and building up health and wellness.

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