Alternative Treatments for Asthma

Some people who have asthma use treatments that are outside of traditional medical practice. These alternative treatments may cover a broad range of healing philosophies, approaches, and therapies. Some are holistic, which means that they treat the whole person, including all or most of these aspects:

  • physical
  • mental
  • emotional
  • spiritual

Others are termed preventive. This means they focus on treatment that prevents a health problem from arising, rather than treating symptoms after problems are present.


People use non-standard treatments in one of two ways.

  • Alternative. The non-standard treatment is used alone and instead of standard treatment.
  • Complementary. The non-standard treatment is used with the standard treatment.

Some of these approaches are consistent with standard medicine. And some are becoming part of mainstream medicine. But in other cases, there is little scientific support for the claims made about treating asthma. And the use of some of these alternative therapies may even do more harm than good. So be sure to talk with your doctor before you add any of these methods to your treatment plan.

Here are some examples of treatments.

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Written by Karen Serrano, MD Emergency Medicine resident at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Reviewed by Lisa V. Suffian, MD

Instructor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy and Pulmonary Medicine at Saint Louis Children's Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine

Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, Saint Louis University

Board certified in Allergy and Immunology

Last updated June 2008