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Natural Awakenings Sarasota / Manatee / Charlotte

Inhale Me Not: Getting Rid of Asthma

Jul 29, 2015 05:10PM ● By Rene Ng

This is the story of a boy who was born and raised in China. His mother was an avid smoker who went through packs of cigarettes a day. As a result, this boy was born with several lung and health problems. He suffered frequent bouts of severe Asthma, was constantly sick, had various allergies and daily nasal drips that continuously flowed like Niagara Falls, and was small in stature. In fact, he was constantly told by doctors that, because of his poor health and frail body, he would not grow beyond 5 feet or weigh more than 80 pounds. (He was only 4’ 8” tall in the eighth grade!)

However, over the years, as the boy grew into a teenager and then into a young adult, he defied the odds, got stronger and healthier, eliminated Asthma completely, and became one of the healthiest among his family and friends. Today, he stands 5’ 9” tall and weighs over 150 pounds. The doctors who made the original proclamation of his inability to grow stand flabbergasted to this day, calling what he has become “impossible.” This boy was me.

During my earlier years in grade school, I had a weak immune system, and was always falling ill. There were many foods I could not eat, especially greasy foods and bananas, as they would increase my mucus and potentially trigger asthmatic shortness of breath. Because of my frailty, I was not allowed to indulge in most sports. I carried an inhaler in my pocket wherever I went, and there was always one on my bedside when I went to sleep. 

So, how did I turn my circumstances around?  The answer is simple. In addition to receiving love and support from my family, I relied on natural Chinese herbal medicine and Chinese food therapy which got me healthier, began doing exercises that made me physically and mentally stronger, and adopted a positive enthusiasm about beating the odds. I went from the kid that no one wanted on the sports teams to being among the first chosen.


Understanding Asthma

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Asthma “is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing. The coughing often occurs at night or early in the morning. Asthma affects people of all ages, but it most often starts during childhood. In the USA, more than 25 million people are known to have asthma. About seven million of these people are children.” 

Most Asthma attacks are overactive responses to certain external triggers such as pollen, dust, chemical, mold, smoke, viral respiratory infections and physical activity. They can also be triggered by health issues like bronchitis, by cold weather or by stress. Asthmatic attacks can happen anytime, and they can be debilitating or even life-threatening.

Asthma is typically treated with drugs such as inhaled corticosteroids to reduce airway inflammation which helps prevent symptoms. In addition, inhaled beta-agonists such as “Ventolin” are used to provide quick, temporary relief, especially during Asthma attacks.


A Tale of Two Organs

In Chinese Medicine, just like Western Medicine, Asthma is considered a chronic lung disease that occurs when the bronchial tubes, which bring air in to the Lungs, become inflamed. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing with phlegm, a suffocated feeling and tightness in the chest. 

However, the issues do not stop there. Chinese Medicine also says that the kidney system plays a major role in Asthma conditions. The kidneys, when healthy, provide support and essential nourishment to the lungs to keep them functioning properly. However, when the kidneys are impaired or not functioning optimally, this can give rise to lung conditions including Asthma. This is why in Chinese Medicine, treating the kidney organ system is just as important as treating the lung organ system when addressing Asthma. 

Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, Cupping, Qi Gong breathing exercises and Chinese food therapy combined do wonders towards reinforcing, strengthening and balancing out the lung and the kidney systems. These help to reduce and even prevent the bronchial tubes from being inflamed and asthmatic symptoms from occurring. Just like me, many asthmatic sufferers have been able to end their asthmatic attacks once and for all.


Natural Options that Can Help 
Asthma Sufferers

Before you try these, it is always best to consult with your personal physician about your respective Asthma condition in order to determine if such preventative measures will be safe for you to practice. 

Avoid drinking ice cold drinks, as cold energy can injure the lungs, thus potentially triggering Asthmatic attacks or making an existing attack worse. Take drinks in either warm or room temperature. 

When exposed to dusty environments, wear a mask to keep out the dust while breathing. 

Avoid eating bananas, especially when having an Asthmatic attack, as bananas are known to increase the production of phlegm in the lungs which can then lead to shortness of breath and wheezing. Instead, eat more pears (especially yellow Asian pears) and strawberries, as these fruits help to nourish the lungs. 

Avoid foods that produce mucus including dairy products, wheat, corn, salty foods and foods that contain processed sugars 

Take hot baths with Epsom salts daily, as well as alternating between hot and cold showers. 

Avoid strenuous exercises when having an Asthma attack. Instead, walk slowly and calmly in environments that are plentiful in fresh air and oxygen, and remember to keep breathing deeply. Practicing Qi Gong breathing exercises in these environments is extremely beneficial. 

Avoid alcohol, smoking and caffeine, as these can worsen the Asthmatic condition.

Avoid exposure to cold weather, as this can trigger an Asthma attack. 

Try soothing or meditative outlets to relieve anxiety and stress. 

Keep a journal to track what factors tend to trigger your Asthma attacks in order to avoid them in the future (e.g. seafood can trigger Asthma attacks in some patients).

Engage in singing or vocal exercises to help strengthen and increase lung capacity. 

Eat less barbequed, baked or broiled foods, and eat more steamed, sautéed foods, stir fried or boiled foods, as well as soups. 

Keep a humidifier by your bedside while you sleep to keep the air from becoming dry which can hurt and irritate the lungs. 


Chinese Medicine presents powerful options for treating and preventing Asthma. It certainly worked a miracle on me, and I have also been able to help many people, young and old alike, with this treatment modality. Children, in particular, respond well to Chinese Medicine, and just a few treatments can produce phenomenal results. If you or someone you know has been suffering from Asthma, suggest that they give Chinese Medicine a shot. They (and you) will appreciate the outcome.


Rene Ng, DOM, AP, L.Ac, is a board-certified, licensed Acupuncture Physician and Chinese Herbalist in Sarasota. In 2014, he was voted Sarasota’s “Favorite Acupuncture Physician” for a second year in a row, and was also the area’s “Favorite Anti-Aging Practitioner.” For more information, call 941-773-5156 or email [email protected].

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