Biofeedback Helps Asthmatics Breathe Easier

Use of it reduces use of inhaled steroids, study finds

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 11, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Biofeedback seems to help people with asthma reduce their use of inhaled steroids, says a study in the August issue of the journal Chest.

With biofeedback, a person consciously controls his or her body functions with the help of electronic monitoring devices.

This study included 94 people with moderate, persistent asthma. They were divided into four groups: heart rate variability (HRV) feedback and training in pursed-lips abdominal breathing; HRV biofeedback alone; placebo biofeedback procedure; and no treatment (control group).

The people in the first three groups received 10 weekly biofeedback sessions and practiced their biofeedback at home for 20 minutes twice a day. The asthma symptoms of all participants were checked over the course of study.

The study found that those in the two HRV biofeedback groups significantly reduced their use of inhaled steroids and also reduced their asthma severity from moderate to mild persistent asthma.

Those in the placebo group also showed improvement in their asthma symptoms, but didn't show any improvement in pulmonary function or use of medication. The control group showed no changes in asthma severity, medication use or asthma symptoms.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about biofeedback.

SOURCE: Chest, news release, Aug. 9, 2004
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