The Center of Disease Control and Prevention reports that Hawaii has a lifetime prevalence of adult asthma of 12.2% compared to the US overall (11%) . Since lung-related conditions are prevalent in Hawaii, complementary methods for fighting these problems can contribute much to health in this state.
Adhering to the Western medicine regimen for asthma and other lung-related conditions can be challenging. Nonadherence results in costly complications, hospitalizations, or even death. One of the reasons for nonadherence is that a person with asthma may have periods of symptom remission during which inhalers may be used up or misplaced. In a pediatric asthma study 63% of the children seen in the emergency room who were supposed to have had access to albuterol medication had run out of it. Natural healing methods (such as some of those studied here) that can be used immediately and without a pharmacy may help solve this problem.
Researchers are beginning to address the need for various natural healing methods to be tested for effectiveness. Rosanne Harrigan at University of Hawai’i's John A. Burns School of Medicine, has called for "research that tests the efficacy of complementary care approaches, such as qi gong, in association with standard medical therapy to improve health outcomes.”
During the Asthma Humanitarian Events of 2006, researchers measured changes in lung function of participants who had symptoms of asthma, allergies, bronchitis, sinus conditions, or cough. The Natural Healing Research Foundation is excited to report that the research demonstrated statistically significant improvements on a number of measures of lung function.
The research was done over 4½ weeks during which there were three humanitarian events. In these, a qi gong grandmaster, Hong Liu, taught natural healing methods for asthma, allergies, sinus, and other lung-related disorders. The methods taught included free herbal patches as well as medical Qi Gong exercises, reflexology, healing foods and recipes, herbal teas and supplements. The participants studied were 10 Hawaii volunteers for research with lung or lung-related symptoms, ages 29-77.
The main research question was: Will a significant positive improvement in lung-related disorders such as asthma, sinus, and allergies occur after natural healing methods are provided?
Two kinds of lung function measurements were recorded using a standardized spirometry protocol:
- Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) is the amount of air that a person can blow out of their lungs.
- Forced Expired Volume in 1 second (FEV1) is the amount of air that one can blow out in one second. This can be understood as freedom from lung constriction.
Other measurements were: respirations per minute, pulse, blood pressure, self-report questionnaire, and fingertip gaseous discharge (a means of estimating energy flow).
Respirations per minute
Nine out of 10 participants showed a significant reduction in number of breaths per minute. In those who improved, the average improvement was 19.4%. See Table 1.
Table 1. Respirations per minute before & after 3 Asthma Events
Lung Function Improvement as measured with Spirometer
Eighty percent of the participants showed improved lung function as measured by FVC after the three events. The average FVC improvement in those who improved was 10% (Table 2).
Table 2 Forced Vital Capacity in lungs before & after 3 Asthma Events
Freedom from lung constriction (as measured by FEV1) improved in 70% of the participants by the end of the three events. Those who improved averaged a 9% improvement in FEV1 (Table 3).
Table 3 Freedom from lung constriction before & after 3 Asthma Events
Subject 1 (see charts) who regularly practiced medical lung qi gong exercises showed the greatest improvement in FVC and FEV1 and reported the methods “helped a lot”.
Energy flow measures of respiratory and immune systems
On the energy flow for the immune system, 60% showed significant improvement . On a measure of energy flow for the respiratory system, 60% of the participants showed significant improvement.
Questionnaire self report
Of people with allergies, 71% reported being better or much better. One hundred percent of research participants with asthma, sinus condition or other lung-related problems reported their condition was better or much better.
The main research finding was that a statistically significant improvement on lung function in persons with lung-related problems was found after natural healing methods were used, as measured by respiration per minute, respiratory energy flow and immune system energy flow. Seventy and eighty percent of the participants, respectively, showed improvement in measures of freedom from lung constriction and Forcd Vital Capacity. The participant who regularly practiced qi gong for the lungs showed the strongest improvement. This study was a very fruitful first step in the study of natural healing methods for lung-related problems. As it would be much more difficult to study the direct cause and effect of these methods on lung function, the significant findings above serve as exciting signposts that these natural healing methods are worthy of continued use and further research. The significant findings, corroborated in a larger, double-blind study, could suggest that these methods have much to contribute to pulmonary healthcare in the West.