The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Asthma

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways, making it difficult for individuals to breathe properly.

The symptoms of asthma can range from mild to severe and can include wheezing, cough, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. While there is no cure for asthma, there are treatments available to help manage the condition.

While it is important to note that massage therapy should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment, there is evidence of its benefits as a complementary treatment.

How Can Massage Therapy Help Asthma?

Massage therapy can offer numerous benefits for individuals with asthma. Here are some of the ways it can help:

Improved Breathing

One of the most significant benefits of massage therapy for asthma is improved breathing. Massage therapy can help to relax muscle tension in the chest and back, making it easier for individuals to take deep breaths.

Massage therapy can also improve blood circulation. This, in turn, can help to increase oxygen delivery to the lungs, which may improve breathing and overall respiratory function.

Reduced Stress and Anxiety

Stress can be a significant trigger for asthma symptoms. When individuals with asthma experience stress, it can cause their airways to narrow, making it harder for them to breathe.

Massage therapy can help to reduce stress levels by promoting relaxation and decreasing muscle tension. This can help to reduce the likelihood of an asthma attack and make it easier for individuals to manage their symptoms.

Increased Relaxation

Massage therapy can be a very relaxing experience. The gentle pressure applied during a massage can help to release endorphins, which are natural painkillers produced by the body.

Endorphins can help to promote a sense of relaxation and well-being, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals with asthma who may experience anxiety and difficulty relaxing.

Improved Immune Function

Massage therapy has been shown to improve immune function by increasing the activity of natural killer cells, which are a type of white blood cell that plays a crucial role in the immune system.

This can help to reduce inflammation and promote healing in the body, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals with asthma, who often experience inflammation in the airways.

Types of Massage Therapy Beneficial for Asthma:

  • Swedish massage: This is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration, and tapping. Swedish massage can help improve circulation, relax muscles, and reduce stress, which can be helpful for asthma management.
  • Deep tissue massage: This type of massage uses more pressure than Swedish massage and is designed to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. Deep tissue massage can be helpful for individuals who experience muscle tension and tightness due to their asthma symptoms.
  • Reflexology: This is a type of massage that focuses on the pressure points in the feet, hands, and ears. Reflexology can help improve circulation, reduce stress, and promote relaxation, which can be beneficial for asthma management.
  • Aromatherapy massage: This is a type of massage that uses essential oils to promote relaxation and reduce stress. Essential oils such as lavender and eucalyptus can be particularly helpful for individuals with asthma as they have properties that can help open up the airways.


It’s important to note that massage therapy should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment.

Individuals with asthma should continue to take their prescribed medications and follow their healthcare provider’s advice. However, incorporating massage therapy into an overall asthma management plan can be a valuable tool for managing asthma symptoms.

When seeking massage therapy for asthma, it’s important to work with a qualified and experienced massage therapist. The therapist should have experience working with individuals with asthma and should be able to modify the massage techniques as needed based on the individual’s symptoms and needs.


Massage therapy can be a valuable addition to an overall asthma management plan. It can help reduce stress, improve circulation, and may even help reduce asthma symptoms.

Individuals with asthma should work with their healthcare provider to determine if massage therapy is a safe and appropriate complementary therapy for their individual needs.

By incorporating massage therapy into an overall asthma management plan, individuals with asthma can improve their overall quality of life and better manage their symptoms.