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Papworth technique helps asthma

28th June 2007

New research by the University of London has shown the Papworth technique may help people with asthma.

Asthma1

In the first randomised trial to test the benefits of the technique, 85 people with mild asthma were given either five sessions of the method in addition to drug therapy, or drug therapy only.

The Papworth method, developed in the 1960s, focuses on controlled nasal breathing and relaxation techniques.

The research team used the St. George's Respiratory Survey Questionnaire, which logs symptoms by asking patients about the frequency of coughing and wheezing. Symptoms are scored out of 100. A person who does not suffer from asthma will generally score around 11 or 12 on the test.

Patients who used the Papworth method scored an average of 21.8 after five sessions. Patients who were given drug therapy alone scored 32.8.

Asthma sufferers who used the technique for one year scored 24.9 on the scale.

Lead researcher Elizabeth Holloway, a research physiotherapist at UCL said: "The fact that no significant change was observed in objective measures of lung function suggests that five treatments of the Papworth method do not improve the chronic underlying physiological causes of asthma, but rather their manifestation."

According to figures from Asthma UK, 5.2 million people in the UK are affected by the condition.

Dr Mike Thomas, Senior Research Fellow at Asthma UK, said the study showed that breathing techniques can help sufferers "reduce the need" for medication and can "improve [their] quality of life."





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