You'd always thought that there never was a practical, comprehensive programme to beating asthma - an ailment with no easy answers.
Wait a moment. You have one - a curriculum that truly addresses every element of an asthmatic's life.
Called CAP, or Comprehensive Asthma Prevention Programme, it is a novel blueprint - one that directs us to fight the odious spasm, or every possible trigger, of asthma. How? From the way you breathe, the level of vitamins and minerals in your red, and white, blood cells, to toxins in your home, office, or elsewhere.
I first thought and worked on CAP, because I was myself not able to get that much-needed relief from my long-time tryst with asthma with medications alone. For an asthmatic sufferer like me, CAP, in essence, has evolved as a pragmatic, breathe-easier, user-friendly roadmap - something that you could work at, on your own terms. This you'd do on the basis of a few elementary rules and, most importantly, with your mind-body co-operation for better results.
To start with the programme, you ought to first tell your therapist and yourself your own problems with the disorder - to find your own real you - one that is more than a question of really getting to know your own genuine you. Not just the physical, or any other, basis of the problem.
But, before you'd do that, it is only natural that a host of questions may be running through your mind. Of how you can prevent asthma, including the latest studies in medicine, and medications themselves - whether they are good, or bad? Of what kind of exercise is better, what kind of change may go on in your lungs with asthma, or do children outgrow asthma, or is it still a myth, or why asthma sprays are sometimes dangerous and/or why allergies make them vulnerable to asthma.
Each patient has his or her own unique genetic and biochemical imprint. It is like a spider's web, woven differently each time, because each person's biochemistry is unique. Each patient also has a special combination of hidden nutritional deficiencies, and other sensitiveness. The best part - every patient has unique healing capacities that, when tapped, can help restore health.
CAP combines the best of conventional medicine - of what is going on at the cellular level vis-a-vis asthma, including an agreeable and informative battery of general, and sophisticated, tests - supplanting a holistic approach to health.
This is, indeed, a revolutionary programme - one that is specifically designed for asthmatics. It also, in so doing, accounts, and denotes, "scores" for all possible health hazards we face in day-to-day life: drugs, medications, home, office, food, allergic potential, intestinal malfunction, immunity level, nutrition, and so on.
Medications, when properly used, are, of course, an invaluable tool. They serve as a bridge to a healthier life. But, too many asthma patients today are over-medicated, and under-treated, or they are inadequately treated.
To medicate, or not to.
So, what is the best way out of such an impasse? Patients can make a dramatic improvement in their health by reducing their medication in the context of a programme like CAP - a schedule that eliminates life-style triggers of asthma, and bolsters the entire body with a rich lode of nutrients.
CAP does not, of course, miss the wheeze for a sneeze, and vice versa. It helps asthmatics in more ways than one - albeit one should not simply lessen one's prescribed drugs on their own. The important thing is - this programme must - without exception - be conducted under supervision. More so, because, the basic aim of CAP is to help asthmatics lead an almost drug-free life, and also encourage them to lead as healthy a life as possible, while relying on the least amount of medication necessary.
Asthma is generally a manageable problem. Reason enough why CAP combines the best in natural, non-invasive, non-toxic treatments, backed by substantial research. CAP is also more than geared to educating asthmatics about the many possible triggers that cause the inflammation and congestion in the bronchial passages leading to asthma attacks. In so doing, it spells out how healing and prevention are achieved through diet, nutritional supplementation, environmental modification, breathing exercises and, most importantly, stress reduction.
To complement it all, the programme urges both therapists and asthmatics to make use of effective alternative techniques, based on the mind/body concept of healing: meditation, self-hypnosis, visualisation, biofeedback, healing through music/sound and brain synchrony, yoga, ta'i-chi, acupuncture, osteopathic manipulation, sleep, cognitive reframing etc.,
This novel plan for turning-around asthma, which is explained in my book, Reversing Asthma [Warner Books, US], is, however, no quick-fix. Neither is it a do-all, or end-all, outline. In its totality, the idea could take time, to give results, yes, but it's well worth a real, good try.
Because, CAP, in sum, for more reasons than one, is a thoroughly practical, no-nonsense approach, and full recompense for individuals who want to break that most distressing, "gung-ho" spasm - the song of every asthmatic's burden.
If breath is life, and breathing properly is the mainstay of CAP, exercise is breath in action.
CAP trains patients in breathing techniques. It also propels them to establish a unique work-out: proper breathing, a simple, but profound, manoeuvre.
Let's take a look-in at two of the most handy CAP breathing exercises, for asthmatics. You'd inculcate their usage in your daily life - for better results:
Instruct yourself to imagine an empty balloon, most of which is held in your tight fist. Try and blow the balloon, and also tell yourself that you would only be able to inflate the neck. Now, imagine that fist as your diaphragm muscles engulfed in a spasm. If only you can open the fist into a relaxed hand, you can blow the entire balloon! This will allow you to "fill" your lungs with life-giving oxygen, and because the richest blood flow in the lungs is at the bottom - where they are the largest - you will now be flooding your body with energy.
You may also urge yourself to practice the following four-step exercise plan, otherwise called Clearing Exercises, to expel mucous plugs, yet another major asthmatic hitch:
Lie face down with your hips raised about 20 inches on a stack of pillows, and cough every few minutes
Lie on your left side with your hips raised 20 inches on a pile of pillows, and cough every few minutes
Lie on your back with your hips raised about 20 inches on a heap of pillows, and cough every few minutes
Lie on your right side with your hips raised about 20 inches on a mound of pillows, and cough every few minutes.
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