Asthma and how the Alexander Technique helped me

In 1995 I had a very bad year, some of the most stressful events in my life appeared at once, then I got the flu – asthma struck me with a huge bang.

I could only walk a few yards before I needed to stop to get my breath back, it was just horrible, I seemed to be permanently using my inhaler. On one event I was admitted to hospital, the paramedic prepared me for a drip in the ambulance, I thought I had some medicine through the drip and instantly recovered.

I thought, asthma is psychological? A needle in my hand connected to nothing and the symptoms stop!
 
I’d never really thought what asthma was, here is a definition
  • a respiratory condition marked by attacks of spasm in the bronchi of the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing. It is usually connected to allergic reaction or other forms of hypersensitivity.
  • from Greek asthma, from azein ‘breathe hard’.
Well, that may be true but is it always, sudden onset of asthma after a trauma could well be different; I recon it is a muscular response to stress related to the fight or flight reflex. Breathing is dependant on the muscles and skeleton of the thorax and also the muscles abdomen however with asthma caused by stress the control on these muscles goes awry.  I found that when I had an asthma attack, it wasn’t that I couldn’t breathe in but I was full of air and couldn’t breathe out, inhalers eased the effect but did nothing in the long-term. I simply wasn’t using the array of muscles available for breathing as my thorax was locked in a fright, unwilling to move, not knowing how to move. I sort of breathed from my shoulders, sucking in air by scrunching up my shoulders. My shoulders felt like they were up near my ears. Breathless if I did too much activity, then I went in to panic if i did too much activity, a vicious circle with no escape; well that’s what I thought.
I accidentally discovered the Alexander Technique 10-12 years after I started with asthma. It just made me feel good, I enjoyed the feeling of lightness, greater ease, I was happier. My inhaler use reduced but I didn’t put it down to the Alexander Technique; I’ve noticed that it’s always something other than the Alexander Technique that has improved what has improved.
I remembered the night in the ambulance; A needle in my hand connected to nothing and the symptoms stop! 
Perhaps the Alexander Technique can help me manage my asthma. I went on  a voyage of discovery, firstly I discovered that the Alexander Technique is not a therapy but training how to use myself efficiently and effectively, in fact efficaciously.
My asthma is the output of many good and bad habits I’ve developed over my lifetime; they were all valid when I developed them but may not be valid now. The Alexander Technique allows me to stop and choose how I want to approach stimuli, say a stressful situation, instead of my habitual tightening and resultant asthma, I can choose something else.  This isn’t a quick or instant fix as I’ve found there are many layers of habits protected by fears and emotions, so many are ingrained and so well hidden I don’t know they exist until they appear.
I now live an inhaler free life, when the asthma indicators arise, I can now stop, choose and get on with my life.
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