• By Laurel Kelly

Consumer Health: Asthma treatment — do complementary and alternative approaches work?

February 18, 2021
a young woman, perhaps older teenager, with light brown skin and long dark curly hair, smiling with her eyes closed and looking toward the sunshine

Asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow, swell and may produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance. For others, it can interfere with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.

Long-term asthma control medications, generally taken daily, are the cornerstone of treatment. These medications keep asthma under control on a day-to-day basis and make it less likely you'll have an asthma attack.

Complementary and alternative medicine asthma treatments range from acupuncture and breathing exercises to herbal remedies and massage. How effective are these strategies? And what do health care providers observe among patients who opt for complementary and alternative approaches to treating their asthma? Here's what you need to know.