Osteopathic Treatments Effective in Managing Childhood Asthma

During my first year of medical
school I experienced the benefits of osteopathic
manipulation for asthma. As a child, I hadsignificant
difficulties with allergies and asthma. Gradually my
symptoms lessened as I matured. But even in college and
medical school I struggled with frequent upper respiratory

medical school, the extra time I spent in the anatomy lab
preparing for exams triggered asthma symptoms. This proved
to be frustrating as I needed more energy, not less.
Fortunately, I had been paired with a second-year student
with a keen interest in Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment

He treated me and to my surprise the feelings of shortness
of breath dissipated. I was relieved to find that I no
longer needed inhaled medication. Furthermore, despite the
continuing intensity of medical school, the frequency of my
upper respiratory infections began to abate. Having suffered
for many years from the aggravating effects of asthma and
allergic sensitivities I experienced the benefits of OMT
first hand. How I wish my family had been introduced to the
benefits of OMT when I was a child!

Rather than merely suppressing symptoms, osteopathic
medicine addresses the underlying disturbances in the body’s
mechanisms. In asthma, medications are prescribed to cause
dilation of the bronchioles. However, through properly
applied manipulation, the body can be stimulated to release
its own supply of these same chemicals. Proper circulation
is absolutely necessary for effective function of the lungs.
The arteries supply nutrition to vital organs and tissues in
the body, while its counterpart returns the deoxygenated
blood back to the heart through the veins. Osteopathic
manipulation strengthens these vital pathways while removing
road blocks to the body’s natural healing process.

Have you ever tried to take a deep breath with your rib cage
locked? It is very difficult. Another goal in the
osteopathic treatment of asthma is to create free motion in
the rib cage and thoracic diaphragm. Osteopathic techniques
to enhance drainage of the lymph nodes also help the immune
system with its housecleaning tasks. OMT can also be
effective when a child has taken a hard fall. Many times a
fall to the tailbone will trigger an asthma attack in a
child. This is due to the relation of the tailbone to the
“primary response mechanism” . Making sure the sacrum
(tailbone) is moving properly is very important in
successfully treating asthma.

Nutrition happens to be one of the best weapons in the
prevention of asthmatic episodes. There is a clear
relationship between poor nutrition and bronchial
difficulties caused by asthma.

A healthy diet should include fresh fruits, vegetables,
nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Vitamin C, bioflavinoids,
ginger and tumeric help reduce inflammation. Foods that
promote inflammation such as fried foods, junk food, smoked
or barbecued foods, and partially hydrogenated foods should
be avoided as well as mucus-forming foods including milk,
sugar, refined flour, and most dairy products. It is
important to read labels and avoid all chemicals and
additives. Do you know that modified wheat starch contained
in many cereals and processed foods is “modified” by six
chemicals all of which can cause allergies and asthma? Food
is one of our best medicines– use it wisely!

Asthma can also be triggered by
airborne substances. Asthmatic attacks are commonly
triggered by smoke, high pollen counts, vacuuming, dust,
animal hairs, and mold growth. Using a hepa filter on all
filtering machines, keeping your windows closed from 5
a.m.to 10 a.m. during high pollen count periods, and
vacuuming with a sealed system with a hepa filter attached
will reduce exposure. Routine cleaning and dusting of
bedding reduces build up and the invitation for an airborne
substance to trigger an asthmatic episode.Washing sheets in
hot water kills dust mites and cleaning with vinegar or a
10% bleach solution will prevent mold growth.

Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy is an effective means of
treating and managing asthmatic conditions for children.
Coupled with a strong nutritional and environmental program
I have seen amazing transformations in health– for all
family members.

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Written by Mary Anne Morelli DO FACOP

Explore Wellness in 2021