Being a former asthma sufferer myself, I can completely empathise with those who live in dread the suffocating symptoms of an asthma attack.

My asthma was induced by dust and aggravated by intense exercise, however for others, the causes are less easy to avoid. Pollen, pollution, stress, colds, and cigarette smoke are just some of the factors that can aggravate asthma. Although there are many pharmaceutical treatments for asthma, the very young and very old can be particularly debilitated by the symptoms of asthma.

When an attack is on its way, it’s important to keep calm, but when you feel physically unable to get sufficient oxygen into your body (this is because the airways are constricting), calm is generally the last thing you are feeling, and no matter how many times you consciously remind yourself to keep calm, will power alone is not enough.

The good news is that most asthma suffers have some idea of when they are going to have an asthma attack, there may not be a lot of prior warning, but there will be some.

Using hypnosis, an asthma sufferer can be given suggestions such as remaining calm when they suspect that an attack is going to happen, visualising the tubes of their airways as being relaxed and wide, becoming disassociated from one’s self so that they are able to look at themselves and how they look at this time just before the attack comes on. Or notice how a simple change in their own physiology can release discomfort or what it is that they are focusing on at that time… are they focusing on how tight and uncomfortable they feel, or how their socks feel on their feet? Wherever your attention is, you can expect to notice more intensely.

Imagining the lungs in a healthy normal state can encourage them to return to normal function, in fact as well visualising the self and how actual changes can be made to the body and it’s parts, more covert techniques can be employed. A rubber band letting go offers suggestions of something taut becoming loose and limp (such as the airway), a stiff door that is oiled to that it can swing open easily can also make similar positive suggestions, or a slide window that allows a breeze to blow through. Simply the auditory suggestion of a slowing metronome can encourage a panicked racing heartbeat to slow down.

Hypnosis is one of the most effective ways to achieve a natural relaxed state. In this state the mind is more open to suggestion and the state of relaxation alone can ease the anxiety and stress that can cause an attack. This means that using auto suggestion, it may be possible for a person to abort the asthma attack before it begins.

By Gemma Bailey