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Table. Summary of efficacy evidence for complementary therapies in the treatment of asthma

Therapy

Sources

Effective or possibly effective

  • Caffeine

Welsh EJ, Bara A, Barley E, Cates CJ. Caffeine for asthma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010; Issue 1. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20091514

  • Cineole

Worth H, Dethlefsen U. Patients with asthma benefit from concomitant therapy with cineole: a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. J Asthma. 2012; 49: 849-53. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22978309

Physical activity

Chandratilleke MG, Carson KV, Picot et al. Physical training for asthma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012; Issue 5. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22592674

Insufficient or conflicting evidence †

Acupuncture

McCarney W, Brinkhaus B, Lasserson TJ, Linde K. Acupuncture for chronic asthma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003; Issue 3. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14973944

Passalacqua G, Bousquet PJ, Carlsen KC et al. ARIA update: I–Systematic review of complementary and alternative medicine for rhinitis and asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006; 117: 1054-62. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16675332

Suzuki M, Yokoyama Y, Yamazaki H. Research into acupuncture for respiratory disease in Japan: a systematic review. Acupunct Med. 2009; 27: 54-60. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19502460

Alexander technique

National Asthma Council Australia. Asthma and complementary therapies. National Asthma Council Australia, Melbourne, 2012. Available from: http://www.nationalasthma.org.au/publication/asthma-complementary-therapies-hp

Breathing exercises

Burgess J, Ekanayake B, Lowe A et al. Systematic review of the effectiveness of breathing retraining in asthma management. Expert Rev Respir Med 2011; 5: 789-807. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22082165

Buteyko breathing technique

Burgess J, Ekanayake B, Lowe A et al. Systematic review of the effectiveness of breathing retraining in asthma management. Expert Rev Respir Med 2011; 5: 789-807. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22082165

  • Dietary elimination (other than those listed elsewhere)

National Asthma Council Australia. Asthma and complementary therapies. National Asthma Council Australia, Melbourne, 2012. Available from: http://www.nationalasthma.org.au/publication/asthma-complementary-therapies-hp

  • Herbal medicines (including those used in traditional Chinese medicine and traditional Indian medicine, other than those listed elsewhere)

Clark CE, Arnold E, Lasserson TJ, Wu T. Herbal interventions for chronic asthma in adults and children: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Prim Care Respir J. 2010; 19: 307-14. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20640388

Hypnosis

Yorke J, Fleming SL, Shuldham C. Psychological interventions for adults with asthma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006; Issue 1. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16437449

Yorke J, Fleming SL, Shuldham C. Psychological interventions for children with asthma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005; Issue 4. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16235317

Magnesium (oral supplements)

Kazaks AG, Uriu-Adams JY, Albertson TE et al. Effect of oral magnesium supplementation on measures of airway resistance and subjective assessment of asthma control and quality of life in men and women with mild to moderate asthma: a randomized placebo controlled trial. J Asthma 2010; 47: 83-92. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20100026

Fogarty A, Lewis SA, Scrivener SL et al. Oral magnesium and vitamin C supplements in asthma: a parallel group randomized placebo-controlled trial. Clin Exp Allergy. 2003; 33: 1355-9. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14519140

Hill J, Micklewright A, Lewis S, Britton J. Investigation of the effect of short-term change in dietary magnesium intake in asthma. Eur Respir J. 1997; 10: 2225-9. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9387944

Gontijo-Amaral C, Ribeiro MA, Gontijo LS et al. Oral magnesium supplementation in asthmatic children: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007; 61: 54-60. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16788707

Massage

Hondras MA, Linde K, Jones AP. Manual therapy for asthma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005; Issue 2. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15846609

Meditation

National Asthma Council Australia. Asthma and complementary therapies. National Asthma Council Australia, Melbourne, 2012. Available from: http://www.nationalasthma.org.au/publication/asthma-complementary-therapies-hp

Huntley A, White AR, Ernst E. Relaxation therapies for asthma: a systematic review. Thorax. 2002; 57: 127-31. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11828041

Pbert L, Madison JM, Druker S et al. Effect of mindfulness training on asthma quality of life and lung function: a randomised controlled trial. Thorax. 2012; 67: 769-76. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22544892

Music therapy

Sliwka A, Nowobilski R, Polczyk R et al. Mild asthmatics benefit from music therapy. J Asthma 2012; 49: 401-8. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22397390

Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)

Sur S, Camara M, Buchmeier A et al. Double-blind trial of pyridoxine (vitamin B6) in the treatment of steroid-dependent asthma. Ann Allergy. 1993; 70: 147-52. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8430923

Relaxation therapy

Huntley A, White AR, Ernst E. Relaxation therapies for asthma: a systematic review. Thorax. 2002; 57: 127-31. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11828041

  • Tylophora indica

Clark CE, Arnold E, Lasserson TJ, Wu T. Herbal interventions for chronic asthma in adults and children: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Prim Care Respir J. 2010; 19: 307-14. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20640388

Vitamin D supplementation

Majak P, Olszowiec-Chlebna M, Smejda K, Stelmach I. Vitamin D supplementation in children may prevent asthma exacerbation triggered by acute respiratory infection. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011; 127: 1294-6. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21315433

Yoga

Burgess J, Ekanayake B, Lowe A et al. Systematic review of the effectiveness of breathing retraining in asthma management. Expert Rev Respir Med 2011; 5: 789-807. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22082165

Pozadzki P, Ernst E. Yoga for asthma? A systematic review of randomized clinical trials. J Asthma. 2011; 48: 632-9. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21627405

Ineffective

Chiropractic

Balon J, Aker PD, Crowther ER et al. A comparison of active and simulated chiropractic manipulation as adjunctive treatment for childhood asthma. N Engl J Med. 1998; 339: 1013-20. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9761802

Nielsen H, Bronfort G, Bendix T et al. Chronic asthma and chiropractic spinal manipulation: a randomized clinical trial. Clin Exp Allergy. 1995; 25: 80-8. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7728627

  • Dairy elimination diet

National Asthma Council Australia. Asthma and complementary therapies. National Asthma Council Australia, Melbourne, 2012. Available from: http://www.nationalasthma.org.au/publication/asthma-complementary-therapies-hp

Fish oil supplementation

Thien FCK, De Luca S, Woods RK, Abramson MJ. Dietary marine fatty acids (fish oil) for asthma in adults and children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002; Issue 2. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12137622

Homeopathy

Passalacqua G, Bousquet PJ, Carlsen KC et al. ARIA update: I–Systematic review of complementary and alternative medicine for rhinitis and asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006; 117: 1054-62. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16675332

McCarney RW, Linde K, Lasserson TJ. Homeopathy for chronic asthma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004; Issue 1. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14973954

Lactobacilli

Wheeler JG, Shema SJ, Bogle ML et al. Immune and clinical impact of Lactobacillus acidophilus on asthma. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 1997; 79: 229-33. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9305229

Giovannini M, Agostoni C, Riva E et al. A randomized prospective double blind controlled trial on effects of long-term consumption of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei in pre-school children with allergic asthma and/or rhinitis. Pediatr Res. 2007; 62: 215-20. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17597643

Reflexology

Ernst E. Is reflexology an effective intervention? A systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Med J Aust. 2009; 191: 263-6. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19740047

Selenium

Hasselmark L, Malmgren R, Zetterström O, Unge G. Selenium supplementation in intrinsic asthma. Allergy 1993; 48: 30-6. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8457023

Shaheen SO, Newson RB, Rayman MP et al. Randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial of selenium supplementation in adult asthma. Thorax 2007; 62: 483-90. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17234657

Sodium restriction (low sodium diet)

Pogson ZE, Antoniak MD, Pacey SJ et al. Does a low sodium diet improve asthma control? A randomized controlled trial. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2008; 178: 132-8. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18451321

Tartrazine elimination diet

Ardern K, Ram FSF. Tartrazine exclusion for allergic asthma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2001; Issue 4. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11687081

  • Safety concerns or adverse effects

Caffeine (at high doses)

Welsh EJ, Bara A, Barley E, Cates CJ. Caffeine for asthma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010; Issue 1. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20091514

Cineole (insufficient safety data)

Worth H, Dethlefsen U. Patients with asthma benefit from concomitant therapy with cineole: a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. J Asthma. 2012; 49: 849-53. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22978309

Dairy elimination

National Asthma Council Australia. Asthma and complementary therapies. National Asthma Council Australia, Melbourne, 2012. Available from: http://www.nationalasthma.org.au/publication/asthma-complementary-therapies-hp

Dietary elimination

National Asthma Council Australia. Asthma and complementary therapies. National Asthma Council Australia, Melbourne, 2012. Available from: http://www.nationalasthma.org.au/publication/asthma-complementary-therapies-hp

Some herbal medicines (including those used in traditional Chinese medicine, traditional Indian medicine)

Clark CE, Arnold E, Lasserson TJ, Wu T. Herbal interventions for chronic asthma in adults and children: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Prim Care Respir J. 2010; 19: 307-14. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20640388

Tylophora indica

Clark CE, Arnold E, Lasserson TJ, Wu T. Herbal interventions for chronic asthma in adults and children: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Prim Care Respir J. 2010; 19: 307-14. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20640388

† evidence from randomised placebo-controlled clinical trials

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