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Natural Awakenings Sarasota / Manatee / Charlotte

Getting Rid of Asthma

Aug 01, 2016 12:04AM

by Rene Ng (AP, L.Ac) 


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 numerous lung and other health problems. He suffered frequent bouts of severe asthma, allergy symptoms and nasal drips that continuously flowed like Niagara Falls. Doctors informed this boy that, due to his frail body, poor health and small build, he would not grow beyond 5 feet or weigh over 80 pounds. In fact, he was only 4’8” tall in the eighth grade. 

Well, over the years, as this boy matured into a teenager and young adult, he defied the odds, grew stronger, eliminated asthma completely, and became among healthiest of his family and friends. Today, he stands 5’9” tall and weighs over 150 pounds. The doctors who made that original proclamation about his inability to grow remain flabbergasted, calling his transformation “not possible. That boy was me. 

I recall my earlier years, living with a weakened immune system and always fighting illness. I couldn’t digest a wide variety of foods––especially greasy fare and bananas––as they would cause mucus and potentially trigger asthmatic shortness of breath. Due to my frail stature, I was not allowed to participate in most sports. I kept an inhaler, both in my pocket and beside my bed.  

So, how did I drastically change these circumstances? In addition to love and support from my family, I turned to natural Chinese herbal medicine and Chinese food therapy which improved my overall health, exercise which strengthened me physically and mentally, and a positive enthusiasm for beating the odds. I went from the kid who nobody wanted on their sports team to the guy who was among the first chosen. 


Understanding Asthma 

According to the National Institute of Health, 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. This coughing often occurs at night or early in the morning. Asthma affects people of all ages but typically starts during childhood. In the United States, more than 25 million people suffer from asthma. About seven million are children.”  

Most asthma attacks are over-active responses to external triggers like pollen, dust, chemicals, mold, smoke, viral respiratory infections, and physical activity. They can also be triggered by bronchitis, cold weather or stress. Asthmatic attacks can happen anytime, and are debilitating or even life-threatening. Asthma is typically treated with drugs such as inhaled corticosteroids to reduce airway inflammation which prevents symptoms from starting. In addition, inhaled beta-agonists such as “Ventolin” are used to provide quick and temporary relief––especially during 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 carry air into the lungs, become inflamed. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing with phlegm, a suffocated feeling and tightness in the chest. However, the issue doesn’t stop there. Chinese Medicine also states that kidneys play a major role in asthma conditions.  

When healthy, the kidneys provide support and essential nourishment to the lungs which keeps them functioning properly. However, when kidney functions are impaired, this can provoke lung conditions including asthma.  

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 combine to reinforce, strengthen and balance both the lungs and kidneys. These can reduce and even prevent the bronchial tubes from becoming inflamed and asthmatic symptoms from occurring. Just like myself, many asthmatic sufferers have been able to end their asthmatic attacks once and for all. 


Natural Options to Help Asthma Sufferers 

Before you try these suggestions, consult with your personal physician about your respective asthma condition and find out if they are safe for you to practice. 

  • Avoid drinking ice cold drinks. Cold energy can injure the lungs, triggering asthmatic attacks or worsening an existing attack. So, consume either warm or room temperature beverages. 

  • When exposed to dusty environments, wear a mask to prevent the dust from entering your system while breathing. 

  • Avoid eating bananas––especially during an asthmatic attack––as these fruits are known to increase phlegm production in the lungs which causes shortness of breath and wheezing. Instead, eat pears––especially yellow Asian pears––and strawberries, as these fruits help nourish the lungs.  

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

  • Take hot baths with Epsom salts daily, and alternate between both hot and cold showers. 

  • Avoid strenuous exercises during an asthma attack. Instead, walk slowly and calmly in environments where fresh air and oxygen are plentiful. Practicing Qi Gong breathing exercises in these environments is also extremely beneficial. 

  • Avoid alcohol, smoking and caffeine, as these stimulants can worsen the asthmatic condition. 

  • Avoid exposure to cold weather, as harsh temperatures can trigger an asthmatic attack. 

  • Find calming or creative outlets to relieve anxiety and stress. 

  • Keep a journal to track your asthmatic triggers, so you can subsequently avoid them. 

  • Try singing to strengthen and increase lung capacity. 

  • Avoid or limit your seafood intake, as this can trigger asthmatic attacks in some people.  

  • Eat less barbeque, baked and broiled foods. Instead, eat more steamed, sautéed, stir fried and boiled foods. 

  • Keep a humidifier by your bedside while sleep to prevent the breathable air from become dry which can irritate the lungs. 



Chinese Medicine presents a powerful option for treating and preventing asthma. This modality worked miracles on me, and now I help numerous people––young and old alike––manage or even eliminate their own symptoms with Chinese Medicine. In particular, children, respond positively to this approach, and just a few treatments can produce phenomenal results. If you or someone you know suffers from asthma, suggest they give Chinese Medicine a shot. They’ll be grateful in the long-term. 


Rene Ng, (AP, L.Ac), is a board-certified, licensed Acupuncture Physician and Chinese Herbalist in Sarasota. He is also a multiple-time winner of Sarasotas “Favorite Acupuncture Physician” and “Favorite Anti-Aging Practitioner awards. For more information, call 941-773-5156, email [email protected] or visit 


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