Alternative Medicine

Study: Alternative Medicine Helps Young Asthmatics Improve Health

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By Kate Wharmby Seldman
New medical research indicates that urban adolescents with asthma can benefit from integrative medical approaches to treating their condition.

The University of Cincinnati conducted a study which surveyed the ways adolescents in urban areas dealt with asthma. Researchers first examined how spiritual practices could help treat asthma. They studied a group of adolescents and found that the ones who didn't incorporate spirituality into their lives ended up worse off emotionally and physically. Study leader Sian Cotton, an assistant professor in the family and community medicine department, said the study results "suggest[ed] that spiritual coping is an important element to consider when caring for adolescents with asthma."

The young people with asthma who didn't use spiritual coping techniques often used alternative and integrative medicine to self-manage their physical and emotional symptoms. The University of Cincinnati study surveyed the group of adolescents to find out which alternative medicine methods they used: the methods included guided imagery, herbs, massage and rubs, meditation, prayer, yoga, vitamins and dietary changes.

Study leader Cotton said, "These findings show that this group of chronically ill adolescents is using complementary methods and finding them helpful.

"Providers should consider discussing the use of complementary or alternative medicine with their patients with asthma to help improve outcomes."

Cotton also said the results of the study could help doctors ensure a better quality of life not only for young patients with asthma, but also for patients of all ages with all types of chronic ailments.

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