Alternative Treatments for Asthma

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Practitioner for daughter's hives and breathing problems

Feb 2008

I have a 10 years old daughter who has a history of food intolerances/allergies. They were already present when we adopted her at 1 year and 2 months (her face had red blotches). I have always tried to give her natural and good foods but it soon became apparent that she was sensitive to cow's milk and probably eggs. I treated her with homeopathy and food elimination and it helped cure her hives and atopic eczema. In the last year though the eczema and now some breathing difficulties have emerged again. A practitioner who does Bioset (based on the meridians) and enzyme therapy found that my daughter was sensitive to just about everything: milk, eggs, wheat, soy, corn, pets hair, dust, wool, carpets, clorine, fruit, tomatoes, it was overwhelming. After a few months of food elimination, my daughter seemed much better, but lately she has started showing her breathing difficulties and hives again. I don't know what to do. I am very careful about what she eats, but at 10 years of age she will sometimes eat ''culprit'' foods, like a cracker or a cookie, it is soo hard to keep a 100% control and let her have a life.

I don't want to use any over the counter drugs (for fear of steroids), and also because they just take care of the symptoms. I have heard of histamine blockers but I cannot find any data that is not driven by the big drug companies and I am not convinced that they are harmless in the long run. I am quite worried about the current situation. Has anybody out there had similar problems and found a serious and effective practitioner to heal her/his child? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. very concerned mom

Don't mess around with asthma - it can kill. My 10 yr old daughter had asthma show up at age 5 with continually yawning. She also had eczema on limbs. Both conditions often show up on the same person. Both often run in families. Her eczema has eased off now. It mostly shows up when she sleeps too warm, is worried about something, and takes too hot showers or baths (depletes the skin's oil). She puts a ''daily mosturizer'' on her arms and legs. She only uses the steroidal cream briefly when she has a bad break out get away from her (twice/year now). Once we didn't catch a bad break out soon enough and she got a nasty case of impetigo. Do what you can to keep on top of the moisturizing. We find the cream to be very effective and only use very briefly (2 days/outbreak). It is not like taking steroid pills. Regarding asthma, it makes the kids feel really horrible. Don't mess around with it. It can become life threatening without notice.

My daughter rarely gets it and it is sometimes exercise-induced for her. She has a very basic albutero inhaler that she uses infrequently - only as needed. She keeps one in her backpack. Her school and camps know she has mild asthma (this is very improtant). Again,we find that infrequent use as needed makes her a much helathier and happier kid - and having an inhaler on hand in case she has a severe attack, could be life-saving. She sometimes is more asthmatic when she is stressed out, so we keep a few extra inhalers around in case there is an earthquake (a situation in which everyone will be stressed out and pharmacies may not have more inhalers).

If your daughter were mine, I would get over my fears of the medical industrial complex, have a heart-to-heart with a family doctor, and at least have an inhaler on hand wherever she hags out (home, school, backpack, overnight bag, camp, grandma's), in case she gets a super bad asthma life threatening attack (which can happen). Also, remember, she is almost a teenager, and you'll have less and less control over your wonderful kid. Give her the tools she needs to be independent. Mom

My daughter has severe allergies and almost died of anaphylaxis after eating an organic single ingredient cereal. If you are dealing with issues like you mention that include breathing problems, I would run, not walk to a pediatric allergist immediately. Allergies can turn to anaphylaxis quickly and be fatal. The longer she is exposed to her allergens, the worse the reaction could be. My daughter is not on medications and has been ok avoiding the trigger foods. We do have to occasionally give Benadryl and have epi pens on hand in case of emergency but that is it. I think getting more information from a specialist will help your daughter and you and probably make life easier. There are a zillion substitutes out there that she can choose from (''fake'' cookies and crackers, etc) made from healthy, organic ingredients (which sounds like is important to you) that she can eat but first you have to identify her true allergens. Not necessary to cut her off from things she could eat while exposing her to things that actually put her in danger. Experienced

You should go to a doctor to see if your dtr has asthma. If so, she needs to be treated appropriately. Please don't let your fear of steroids lead to your dtr being hospitalized or worse. been there

I know you are concerned about antihistamines because they treat the ''symptoms'' and that would be true if the symptom was a headache.

but when the symptoms are difficulty breathing and hives (which can lead to closing of airways etc) whether in asthma or allergies it is vital to treat the symptoms-- because the symptoms are what can kill you. giving antihistamines for hives isn't simply to relieve itching, you give it in order to prevent the hives/allergic reaction from increasing in severity and affecting breathing.

I hope this helps anon

I am very concerned about your post. your daughter's symptoms sound like asthma or food allergies. hives and difficulty breathing can lead to anyphalaxis (swelling of airways resulting in death without a shot of epinepherine). each exposure she has to an offending food can increase the severity of her reaction.

I know you are concerned about traditional meds and drug companies but any good allergist can work with you on that. it is important that she be seen by an allergist to determine what she is allergic to and your treatment options. there are simple blood/ skin sensitivity tests that can help determine what she is allergic to. And if she has asthma or food allergies both you and she need to know what to do in case of emergency.

allergic reactions can increase in severity any time. the fact that this hasn't happened yet is no reassurance. in fact, if her hives and asthma are back this could mean a worsening of symptoms that could easily result in a trip to the emergency room if not worse. a first ''asthma attack'' resulting in needing a trip to the hosp if you don't have the right meds can happen at any time, 10 is not too old. I had mine when i was 20.

Both my boys have food allergies and asthma and it is a hard road. it is impossible to completely prevent them from being exposed. that's why knowing what to do in a worst case scenario is so important (we have had several near emergencies and carry an epipen-- shot of epinepherine-- just in case)

I love our allergist, Dr. Lodewick in Berkeley. I've also heard that Jim Nicholson is great as is everyone else in that practice.

Please give an allergist a try. More knowledge can't hurt, and an allergist will know far more than any pediatrician. Good Luck!

Traditional Chinese Medicine for toddler's asthma?

Nov 2005

Our 2.5 year old daughter was just diagnosed with intermittent asthma. Our pediatrician recommended Traditional Chinese Medicine as an alternative treatment, but didn't know of any practitioners. Has anyone tried TCM for their child's asthma? If so, who could you recommend? We relocated to the South Bay earlier this year, but we're willing to travel to SF or the East Bay for treatment. Also, what other alternatives have people used? I looked in the archives but only found one alternative recommendation (Dr. Morrison @ Hannuman Clinic). We have limited funds (only Medical for insurance). We don't want to go the steroids/arbuterol route, so we're looking for something that will do more than just treat symptoms. Monika

My son had intermittent asthma (also called reactive airway) at one year old. It only occurred in the second 24 hours of a cold, bad enough for an albuterol inhaler to be used as relief and to allow adequate oxygen intake. It started all of a sudden at 14 months (June 03) and lasted until 20 months (Dec 03).

Being another parent strongly committed to finding alternatives to mainstream doctors & methods, I highly recommend the NAET method of allergy clearing, we used this with our son. Check out for more info. NAET stands for Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques and there are many practitioners in the Bay Area.

We took our son to Lynn Segura at The Ashby Center of Complimentary Medicine in Berkeley, 2615 Ashby Ave (near College Ave) 510-843-8889. She is an acupuncturist among other things though she used accupressure with my son. Before we went to her, we went to William Chau near downtown Oakland. Check his website for phone numbers, he has Oakland, SF & Burlingame locations. http://

Lynn Segura and William Chau are both great healers with different styles. We ended up to going to Lynn more mostly because it was closer to home, it's challenging to make it to a bunch of appointments with a little one. We didn't use Chinese Herbs with our son, so I'm sorry I'm not much help with that. It's possible that these practitioners use them, you can ask. We feel that Dr. Chau helped our son very much, we also have a special connection with Lynn Segura, she has a very gentle and intuitive sense. We were referred to her by a family member who's had great results and we have since referred another family member who has experienced a 60% improvement in her condition so far.

I was skeptical of this approach for some time, my husband was the one who researched and found out about this. He has a much more open mind about some things than I do. I finally came around, realising that it could only help (or not) to try it. I would be happy to share more with you personally, you can email me and then we can exchange numbers if you like.

I do believe that NAET helped my son get better, though I have heard that kids sometimes outgrow allergies too. I think this method helped to strengthen his immune system, he gets fewer colds and no more wheezing! Ananda

Contact Dr. Amanda Lien, a naturopathic doctor on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, and mention my name. She will speak with you directly. She takes the time to listen to her patients so she can treat the root cause of the symptoms and thoroughly explains to them why she's recommending certain treatments for them. She uses diet, nutrition, herbs, homeopathy, and physical medicine to treat asthma. She's really knowledgeable and personable. email is drlien at, telephone is 510-499-7947. Stu

you might give Richard Liao a try. He is very experienced and he treats different kind of issues including kid's health. He uses herbs as well as acupuncture. Sorry, I don't have his number off hand, but he is located on Solano in Albany/ Berkeley.

Jay Sordean (in Berkeley) works with children and adults and is a very skilled OMD and also homeopath. My children don't have asthsma but have been going there since birth and the (neddle- less acupuncture)treatments are very effective. They are able to bill insurance but I don't know about medi-cal. after first visit it is reasonably priced (about 40 I think) especially compared to a doctor. I think many alternative doctors could do treatments and make excellent recommendations that you wouldn't receive from an allopathic MD, but I believe most would want you to have albuterol or something of the sort on hand for emergencies. Chris