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Common Diseases > Asthma, a Disease of the Respiratory System

Triggered usually by allergy, stress or trauma. 
Asthma is defined as a paroxysmal obstruction of the airways due to generalised narrowing of the bronchi which can reverse either spontaneously or as the result of treatment. It is compounded by the excess generation of mucus. Most asthma, around four-fifths, results from common allergens such as house dust, mites, cat dander and moulds. Cigarette smoke and other atmospheric pollutants also contribute.

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world. No one is sure why, however it is highly probable that the depleted oxygen levels in the environment coupled with increased atmospheric pollution and a weakening of the immune system contribute greatly.

Asthma is more common in Maori and Pacific Islanders than among non-Polynesians but treatment rates are similar between groups.

The most common treatment is the ventalin inhaler, also a heart stimulant this usually provides temporary relief.

A Personal Experience:
As a teenager with asthma to the point where it was totally debilitating at the height of the summer.

My recovery came from practising karate, after six months of this vigorous exercise coupled with self discipline, my asthma vanished totally for a number of years. After parting ways with karate, my fitness level declined a little and the asthma re-appeared, but not as severe. Later I took up the practice of yoga (hatha yoga) and again the asthma retreated.

My conclusion therefore is that the physical and mental exercise such as karate or the gentler yoga, is a cure for asthma. I must add here that it is very important to have an excellent teacher who is able to also impart the wisdom that is a part of these practices. This is very much a code of personal and social honour, or ethics. Such an art must work on both the physical body as well as the inner being.
Over some years of reflection I have the feeling that asthma arises out of an inner feeling of self worthlessness, that one is not good enough, a lack of self esteem. The disciplines of Yoga and Karate assist the development of self esteem as well as conditioning the body.

Also over this time in my study of yoga, I have found techniques in breathing to relieve attacks and leave the patient calm and breathing easily. These I am happy to share and if in Christchurch I will on invitation teach these simple techniques.

Hay fever:
Is again an imbalance of the respiratory system where the oversensitivity of the sinuses causes excess mucus and irritation. A diet low in mucus forming foods and the yoga practice of neti which de-sensitizes the sinuses helps to reduce the severity of this condition.




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