WIN-ning Wednesday: Mood = Asthma?

A recent article about how the emotional state of mothers during pregnancy impacts their baby’s future health caught my attention today.  Firstly, because my baby is developing by the day, along with his/her state of health. Second, being in the field of Naturopathic Medicine for over a decade, I learned early on that emotions can be linked to certain health issues.

I was impressed by it!  It’s not often that main stream medicine makes these types of observations.

This is the article that features the study from the July issue of the medical journal Annals Allergy, Asthma & Immunology:

“ANXIETY, DEPRESSION IN PREGNANCY MAY RAISE KID’S ASTHMA RISK”

Certainly, asthma can have roots in diet, digestion, environmental triggers (like pollen, fragrance, chemicals, dander, dust) and/or a weak immune system.  But if health is build on mind, body and spirit, perhaps we should also add emotion as a factor on the list.

It has been accepted in Traditional Chinese Medicine that prolonged grief can injure the lungs.  I would have never believed it when I first learned this back in school, but time and time again, year after year, I often see people affected by grief, or chronic sadness, and concurrently struggle with breathing difficulties, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia.  My western medical brain says this may have to do with stress.  Grief and sadness can be interpreted as stress emotions by the body, and stress lowers the immune system.  However, for nearly 2000 years, long before there was knowledge of stress and the immune system, the connection between organ and emotion had been recognized and respected in Asia.

In addition to these emotions, what about anxiety?  Clinically, I have also seen a correlation between anxious states in people and asthmatic type breathing difficulties.  A revved up nervous system can cause the breath to quicken, and for some people to feel like they can’t get enough air in.  Many people who are anxious also complain of chest/lung tightness and can have a history of an asthma diagnosis.  Moreover, for these individuals, I’ll treat the anxiety and their lung symptoms get better or resolve completely.

As my baby develops, I am aware of the possibility that my fetus may have in utero experiences based on my reactions and emotions.  Mother and baby are connected physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  Baby feels what mother feels.  We all know kids are very preceptive, and the same can be said for them before they are even born!

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One comment

  1. Joy · July 14, 2011

    This is very interesting. My oldest son has asthma. We discovered it when he was about 1-2. Now he is 4 and the medications keep his asthma under control. I just wish he didn’t have to be on so many. With so many kids getting diagnosed these days, I was surprised to learn on this Mom’s Guide (http://www.1dental.com/moms-guide/) that tooth decay is actually more common than asthma. I am hoping my 2nd son doesn’t develop asthma as well.

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