Talking About Massage Therapy

« Back to Home

3 Reasons Why Massage Therapy Could Help Asthmatics

Posted on

If you have asthma, you may be looking at adjunctive treatments to your current medications and practices. You'll want to talk with your doctor first, but if they give you the go-ahead, one therapy you may want to try is massage therapy. One study found that massage therapy could help children with asthma improve their pulmonary function and reduce inflammatory factors. Here are just three reasons why visiting a massage therapy spa could help your symptoms.

1. Massages Improve Capillarization

Capillarization is the development of a capillary network and increased blood flow. Increased blood flow means that muscles involved in breathing have more strength and more oxygen and nutrients are transported to damaged cells. While some people with asthma avoid exercise, one study found that individuals who exercised—within doctor recommendations—generally had greater physiological adaptations, like capillarization. While capillarization can happen during exercise as you strengthen your body, it can also happen during massages due to increasing the body's temperature through friction. Your massage therapist can focus on tight, painful muscles involved with breathing and posture, such as the scalenes, serratus posterior, pectoralis major, etc., and improve circulation.

2. Massages Can Incorporate Aromatherapy

As long as you aren't sensitive to aromas, massage therapy with scented oils could be one way to improve your symptoms. One study found that lavender could be helpful for bronchial asthma since the essential oil could suppress allergic inflammatory responses and mucous cell hyperplasia, which causes narrow airways. A massage therapist can use scents in carrier oils and lotions, or if you have sensitive skin, you could still enjoy the scents through a diffuser.

3. Massages Can Reduce Anxiety

During an asthma attack, your anxiety levels can spike. This extreme anxiety can cause hyperventilation, which further restricts oxygen flow to the lungs. Keep in mind that some medications, like prednisone, that are used for severe asthma attacks can sometimes have side effects, like mood swings, so you should talk with your doctor to make sure that your treatments aren't fueling your anxiety.

If stress or strong emotions are triggers for your asthma, massage therapy could be beneficial since it lowers the stress hormone, cortisol. Massages can help the body relax and help it release hormones known as endorphins. Endorphins can suppress pain sensations and help the body relax, so your muscles involved in breathing responses may not feel as strained. If your anxiety contributes to nocturnal asthma, then regular massages could help you get a better night's sleep.

Reach out to a massage therapist in your area today for more information on the right massage modality for your needs.