How Does Osteopathic Manipulation help with Asthma and COPD?

Osteopathic-Manipulation-282270645 April Blog 2
Osteopathic manipulation, also known as osteopathic manipulative treatment or OMT, is a hands-on approach used by osteopathic physicians to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness or injury. Breathing is super important – it does keep you alive after all, so when you suffer with asthma or COPD, keeping the symptoms managed is important. Galen Acupuncture and Osteopathic Medicine can help you continue with daily life. 

Asthma is one of the first illnesses documented in medical literature as being successfully managed with osteopathic manipulation treatment techniques. Asthma and its management have been recognized for ages and recorded in both medical and nonmedical information. Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs and can affect anyone, at any age. It is typically characterized by repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing. While osteopathic physicians do not cure asthma, they can help patients manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life through various interventions including osteopathic manipulation treatment. This can be beneficial for individuals with asthma by addressing musculoskeletal imbalances, promoting relaxation of respiratory muscles, and improving respiratory function. Some techniques used are rib raising, myofascial release, and thoracic mobilization can help alleviate muscle tension, improve rib cage mobility, and enhance the movement of air in and out of the lungs. 

COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a term that is used for two closely related diseases of the respiratory system: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Studies have shown that osteopathic manipulation treatments can help COPD by improving exercise capacity and reduced residual volume in severely reduced COPD patients when combined with a pulmonary rehabilitation program. Most patients with COPD have a long history of heavy cigarette smoking, or some have exposure to air pollution at work and in the environment as well as secondhand smoke. The most common symptoms seen in COPD include shortness of breath, fatigue, chronic cough with or without mucus, wheezing and recurrent respiratory infections – some very similar to asthma. This means some don’t even know they are suffering with COPD until well into the progression of the disease. When an osteopath sees a patient with COPD, they will carefully examine the biomechanics of breathing. Since breathing is such a complex mechanical process the osteopath, with their knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics, is in a distinctive place to evaluate your breathing both in quality and volume.

It’s important that osteopathic manipulation is safe when performed by a qualified practitioner and tailored to the individual patient’s needs and medical history. Osteopathic physicians consider factors such as age, health status, and the nature of the condition being treated when selecting appropriate osteopathic manipulation techniques. If you need someone with extensive knowledge in osteopathic manipulation, you don’t have to look any further!  Contact Dr. April Harris of Galen Acupuncture & Osteopathic Medicine today at (785) 393-1108 or email her at for a consultation and see how she can help you.