Bronchial asthma is a major burden affecting more than 300 million people globally. It is an immune inflammatory disorder characterized by air way hyper responsiveness associated with bronchospasm, edema of mucus membrane and airway obstruction. The symptoms are episodic or chronic wheezing, cough and feeling of tightness in the chest as a result of broncho-constriction.
Asthma bath is one of the important naturopathic modalities (hydrotherapeutic measure) which helps in relieving the muscle spasm, improving the lung functions relieving and enhancing the depth of respiration, and thus, relieves congestion from the lungs. Hence it is helpful in asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and other respiratory ailments.
During Asthma bath, patient will be made to lie in the immersion tub, half filled with water, at a temperature of 37–38°c. The hot water tap is then opened and temperature is raised up to 40 to 42°C. The duration is four minutes. Then the body is rubbed, beginning with the left leg, then the left arm, abdomen, chest, right arm, right leg, back and the spine. The spine is rubbed till the skin turns red. After rubbing the spine, the chest and the abdomen are rubbed again, for three to four minutes. When rubbing is over, the flow of hot water is stopped. Then you are asked to sit in an upright position and exhale for an instant, and a bucketful of cold water is splashed over the back. Immediately, the patient is asked to inhale, and half a bucket of cold water is poured on chest. Now the patient is to lie in this potion for 2–4 minutes.
This process has to be repeated twice or thrice. The water in the tub has to be brought back always to 37–38°. Finally, a short, cold shower for 2 minutes, and thirty to forty minutes of relaxation is advised.
Physiological effects of Asthma Bath – A JNI Experience
A common noticeable factor in bronchial asthma patients is that the functional efficiency of one or more excretory organs will be low because of morbid accumulations and lowered vitality. The process of oxygenation and circulation will be erratic due to congested bronchi. In the present study, asthma bath provided to the patients aimed at improving these factors.
The improvement in lung functions following asthma bath are due to the short peripheral vasoconstriction following the treatment. Broncho-constriction is one of the characteristic features of asthma and hence the main goal of the treatment is to release this constriction. It happens as a reaction to the long continuous rubbing, warm water application, and a sudden splashing of cold water to the chest, which causes a peripheral vasoconstriction always followed by a long vasodilatation in periphery as well as to the vital organs present in the thoracic cavity. The blood is mainly directed towards the vital organ, especially towards the chest because of the cold splash. The sudden splashing of cold water is also potent to induce an adrenalin rush or a sympathetic arousal in the body as the impulses of the cold receptor travels to the sympathetic ganglia of the spinal cord which causes a highly localized stress response. And the same adrenalin will be directed towards the bronchi and bind to the beta-adrenergic receptor causing a broncho-dilatation.
Thus this particular treatment modality has a vital role to play as a primary health care practice of asthma.
JNI has extensive research work on this disease as well as its treatment modality which is being practiced successfully for years with excellent effect.
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