s a kid, I remember my mother's daily effort to rid my room of all known asthma triggers. The doctors told her my asthma was due to these triggers and the more triggers she eliminated the better my asthma would be.
The doctors were wrong and my mother did a lot of work for nothing. My asthma did not improve, it only got worse.
Trigger Avoidance Is A Fool's Errand
Decades later, doctors still extol the importance of trigger avoidance. Clean your room they tell you, stay away from animals. I read asthma blogs where people with asthma are literally “locked-up” in their houses with their best friend, an expensive air filter. All this to avoid pollen and other triggers out there in the great out of doors. What a waste of valuable living time.
Mark Twain once said the only constants in life are death and taxes. He forgot asthma triggers. No matter what we do, triggers aren't going away and can't be avoided. Even those locked up in their houses continue to have asthma symptoms and require medication. The triggers are still there. Avoidance is a lousy strategy for managing asthma triggers.
Don't Avoid The Trigger – Render It Ineffective
The more effective strategy is to render the triggers ineffective by making the lungs less sensitive to them. Imagine our lungs response to a trigger is to just ignore it, maybe even “laugh” at it.
There are two steps to this strategy 1) use your nose to keep triggers out of your lungs in the first place and 2) condition your lungs to ignore any trigger that gets into the lungs.
Keep The Trigger Out of the Lungs
Many people with asthma do not breathe through the nose. They are mouth breathers. Mouth breathing gives asthma triggers a free pass directly into the lungs. Nasal breathing filters out most all asthma triggers. They never get to the lungs.
Most people with asthma breathe much more air than is needed, two to four times what's normal. Breathing less frequently and less air with each inhale, normalizing breathing volume and frequency, reduces the lungs exposure asthma triggers that get past the nose.
Condition Your Lungs To Ignore The Triggers
Retention of two important body gases, nitric oxide and carbon dioxide is key. Both of these are dilators of hollow spaces in the body. One important hollow space, for someone with asthma, is the airways.
Airways in the lungs are surrounded with smooth muscle that contract and relax depending on carbon dioxide and nitric oxide levels in the lungs. The more of these two breathing gases in the lungs, the more relaxed the airway smooth muscles are and the air flows freely through the lungs. Asthma symptoms are reduced. Less carbon dioxide and nitric oxide, expelled when we exhale, in the lungs results in smooth muscle contraction and a reduction in airway diameter; as much as a 60% reduction.
Carbon dioxide also plays a role in managing mucus production in the lungs. Mucus is secreted to take care of really bad stuff in the lungs. For someone with asthma, their asthma triggers “trigger” mucus production. Carbon dioxide manages the twitchyness of the lungs, and lessens the amount of mucus produced.
How To Get Started - Making Lungs Less Sensitive to Asthma Triggers
A good start is to pick up the bestselling book “Close Your Mouth” by world renowned master breathing instructor Patrick McKeown. You can find it on Amazon by clicking here. Be sure to read the “note of caution” in chapter three before doing any of the breathing exercises in this book and consult with your doctor before starting any breathing exercise program.
The key process described in “Close Your Mouth” is to:
Another approach is to contact me. We can talk about your asthma, asthma triggers and see if breath training might help. I've helped scores of people with asthma. Chances are good I can do the same for you.
Hundreds or thousands of people with asthma have employed the strategy to make asthma triggers ineffective and relieve asthma symptoms with good success. They're no longer doomed to incessant house cleaning, they have an active social life and are not “locked up” inside their homes. They get to experience a full, active and meaningful life with diminished asthma symptoms. And so can you. How you breathe does matter … a lot, especially for those who have asthma.