Recently we became aware of a woman who wanted to find a way to prevent her asthma attacks without an inhaler. She did this by trying various methods, such as taking hot and cold showers to relax the spasms and inhaling steam with eucalyptus essential oil by using an infuser.
This helped, but she would still have the attacks at less frequent intervals.
She wanted to eliminate the problem at the very root and started researching. Finally, she discovered that she needed to find much more than a solution to the closed airways. And what was the first thing she needed to overcome?
She noticed that a lot of things triggered stress, including deadlines, cold, bad news, and even bad weather. The emotional stress had an especially powerful impact.
Elson Haas, the director of the Preventive Medicine Center in California, confirmed this. Stress triggers physiological reactions that cause breathing troubles. When people become nervous, they take shorter breaths.
Additionally, our bodies produce cortisol and adrenaline when we are under stress that causes opening of the airways, but as soon as the stress fades, the hormones subside, and the bronchial tubes can close up.
So she had to train herself to be calm.
She thought that being a part of a yoga community will help her relax. But the group also did service work which included caring about people with various problems, so that influenced her mood a great deal. Consequently, she had a compassion fatigue.
Sometimes she was so overwhelmed by great grief that has been particularly bad for the lungs. Every time she tried to refrain herself from crying she had an asthma attack.
So she turned to homeopathy. Jana Shiloh from Arizona recommended using the herb pulsatilla, also known as the windflower – appropriate metaphor for her feelings. This miraculous herb helped her a lot.
Next, she needed to eliminate the stress. So, she avoided going home after work and postponed her responsibilities at home for later. She spent this time cycling, or going to the beach and listening to the soothing sounds of the ocean.
Massages also helped her a lot. She noticed that as soon as she felt relaxed her breathing was less labored. She also tried meditation and various yogic breathing techniques. Breathing in and out to the count of ten relaxed her and at the same time helped her regulate the breath.
She also took dancing classes with an emphasis on the movements as a spiritual practice. They helped her learn how to move and overcome obstacles. In one of the classes, they were supposed to dance around in a small space randomly.
This was to help them see whether they felt tense and pushed around or comfortable with their movements. One method after the next, she learned how to change the initially constricted reactions into welcoming ones.
Finally, she felt like she was taking control of her life. She stopped using inhalers and, learned how to manage the ways in which stress worsened her asthma attacks. Then, everything that she learned was put to the test.
She felt like her mind stopped working. Then she remembered something that she learned earlier – If she focused the attention on the top of the head, she could overcome the panic and deepen her breath. She visualized that the breath leaves trough that spot. In meditation, this is considered the place trough which the spirit leaves the body.
This was more suitable than she thought it would be. As she was holding her friend’s hand, she started taking deep breaths and she felt like she was in some open space – just like in deep meditation. She felt like something was sustaining her – as a plant receiving sunlight.
I could see the cats around her from the corner of her eyes, and she had to suppress a strong fear. If she let herself be overwhelmed by it – she would have been in trouble.
She thought that she could leave soon, but when she looked at the time, she was surprised to see that she had been there for a few hours, completely calm.
Her friend died a few days later, but he taught her a valuable lesson about compassion that she will never forget.
The thing that kept her on her friend’s bedside was love, and love was the reason she decided to keep her problems away for the greater good. This was the weapon that helped her combat this condition.
Image Credits: Flickr