Massage in the treatment of bronchial asthma: types and techniques for adults and children

Massage for bronchial asthma is a technique that is approved by both doctors and adherents of traditional medicine. Patients like this method of treatment more than breathing exercises or special physical education.

It is not possible to completely cure asthma, but, despite this, it is possible to alleviate its course with the help of medical procedures. Massage has a tonic effect, it is prescribed for therapeutic and prophylactic purposes.

The best results can be achieved if it is used in combination with drug therapy, herbal remedies and exercise therapy.

The benefits of massage

The physiotherapy procedure has a good effect on the body of an asthmatic and helps to reduce the frequency of asthma attacks.

Massage of the chest, as well as other parts of the body for adults and children with bronchial asthma is prescribed in order to normalize the respiratory process. This is very important, since in case of illness, the patient’s airways are narrowed, and the supply of oxygen to the body decreases.

In addition, treatment and prevention with massage strengthens the body’s defenses, improves blood circulation and muscle condition.

Indications and contraindications

Massage procedures are indicated for patients with intermittent and persistent disease. This type of therapy is also indicated for patients with complications of asthma.

Asthma and any massage are incompatible during the period of exacerbation of the disease. When asthma attacks occur often and are very difficult, then emergency assistance is required, while massage actions can only aggravate the patient’s condition.

In the mild stage of asthma, the procedure is carried out in case of precursors of an attack in order to improve the condition or eliminate the risk of developing suffocation.

Also contraindications are:

  • tuberculosis;
  • blood diseases;
  • malignant neoplasms.

Relative contraindications are pustular skin diseases, heart and pulmonary failure, circulatory disorders.

Massage types

Massages for bronchial asthma are divided into several types. One or another option is chosen depending on the nature of the course of the disease.

The following massage techniques are applicable for asthma:

  • segmental;
  • classic;
  • point;
  • intense;
  • periosteal ;
  • percussion.

Most of the techniques are based on the following techniques:

  • stroking;
  • easy kneading;
  • rubbing;
  • vibration actions;
  • blows.

Classic look

Massage for asthma involves massaging the patient lying on their back. First , the muscles are warmed up by stroking, while the direction should be from the abdomen and sides to the armpits.

After warming up activities, they proceed to the kneading process. Such actions should be carried out carefully, bypassing the mammary glands. Further, the pectoral muscles, subclavian cavities are kneaded with the second phalanges of the fingers, while the movements should be circular. The intercostal spaces are developed with the fingers, moving in a straight line or in a zigzag manner.

Then they begin to knead the collar zone and the trapezius muscle. The person needs to roll over onto his stomach. The principle is the same: first, the muscles are warmed up, then they are actively massaged.

The large muscles of the back are kneaded with pinch movements. Particular attention is paid to the intervertebral, intercostal spaces. They should be kneaded with the pads of the fingers, moving in a straight line.

After that, the person returns to the starting position, after which the chest is developed. The final action is stroking it.


This type of massage for people with bronchial asthma differs significantly from the previous one. The technique is based on the theory of the reflex relationship of the skin with organs, which claims that when performing segmental technique, a general strengthening effect is provided.

The massage is performed with the patient sitting or standing. It is important that your back is straight. Before starting the procedure, the doctor must determine which segments will be stretched.

The principle of movement is from the lower back and chest. When using segmental technology, the following actions are applied:

  • planar stroking;
  • sliding the index and middle fingers along the spine from the lower back to the cervical vertebrae;
  • the specialist rolls a fold of skin along the spine with his thumbs and forefingers, imitating the movements of a saw; 
  • rubbing the skin and muscles. One palm is placed on the shoulder blade, while the other is placed on the opposite side, on the lower back. Counter movements are performed with a slight application of force.

When performing this procedure, you need to actively knead the shoulder region and intercostal spaces.


This type of massage for manifestations of bronchial asthma is preferred if there are contraindications to other similar procedures. For this, a person needs to lie on his back.

Kneading starts from the bottom of the chest. You need to massage each side separately. Next, proceed to kneading the upper chest. Then the patient needs to roll over onto his stomach to knead the lumbar region and shoulder blades.


This type of massage for asthma requires special skills from the massage therapist. The patient can sit or lie down. Before carrying out the procedure, you should warm up the muscles with rubbing movements, paying more attention to the chest.

The principle of the percussion technique: a specialist acts on the surface of the back by tapping his fist through the other hand. The result of such actions is the contraction of the muscles of the chest.

The masseur makes strokes from the ribs to the spinal column when a person inhales, while exhaling, the manipulation is carried out in the opposite direction.

Thanks to these actions, the intercostal muscles contract better, relieve fatigue, normalize blood flow and ensure easy sputum discharge.


This massage, used for bronchial asthma, has an effect due to the activation of the points of the periosteum (periosteum) of the clavicle associated with the respiratory system.

The patient assumes a supine position. First, a specialist probes the clavicle to find the right points.

While applying this technique, fingers make circular movements in place. Several hot spots are involved in one session.

This procedure is carried out every two days with a gradual increase in the number of points. If unbearable pain appears during exposure, the pressure should be reduced and the fingers should be slightly moved.


Special acupressure massage is considered to be the best method for bronchial asthma. The essence of the manipulation is a physical effect on several specific active points of the patient.

A similar manipulation is carried out if there is a feeling that an attack of bronchial asthma begins. When exposed to points, the bronchi expand, breathing improves.

Let’s pay attention to the points that help to alleviate the symptoms of asthma diagnosis:

  • between the sternum and the collarbone;
  • on the sternum below the collarbone;
  • between the spine and shoulder blades;
  • under the thumb at the fold of the hand;
  • between thumb and palm.

The principle of acupressure is to perform kneading, pressing, stroking, rubbing, pushing and vibration movements. A similar procedure can be done independently, so there are no contraindications and the risk of harm.

Features of massage for asthmatic children

Massage of any type for bronchial asthma in children is carried out taking into account the well-being and age of the baby. Babies can be put in any position, it is also allowed to sit on your knees. It is better for schoolchildren to bend over or get on all fours.

The massage technique for bronchial asthma is selected individually, but it is important to act in stages:

  • Stroking should be done with palms on the back, starting from the hips.
  • Rubbing is done with the palms along the back sharply, in opposite movements.
  • Circular motions are used to warm up the blades . After that, stroking the hands in the direction from below to the armpits. 
  • Grasping the baby with your hands, you need to connect your fingers on the stomach. The palms should slide up the abdomen towards the spine. The reverse is also done.
  • Stroke the shoulders, shoulder blades and cervical area, reaching the head, then in the opposite direction.
  • To do cross rubbing, you should cover the right shoulder blade with your right hand, the other hand is placed on the right on the lower back. Circular movements should be done quickly, with little pressure.
  • Movements resembling kneading dough. Folding your palms like a boat, you should perform patting on the chest. 
  • Make quick chopping movements with the edges of the brushes.
  • With half-open fists, beat the chest, evenly passing over its entire surface.
  • To carry out the vibration procedure, the masseur stands behind the child, puts his fingers between the ribs, presses and makes vibrating movements with his hands.
  • The thumbs are at the spine, while the rest are on the lower back. Fingering movements move the fingers towards the neck.
  • Twisting actions are performed between the blades. A fold of skin is grasped with two fingers and pulled to the sides, trying to connect.

It is recommended to perform these massage actions in a clear sequence.

How to do self-massage

Ideally, the massage for the patient should be performed by a qualified specialist, but there are situations when it becomes necessary to help oneself.

Doctors say that an asthmatic person should be aware of how to do self-massage for bronchial asthma in order to alleviate his condition.

You can reduce the frequency and intensity of attacks by massaging your neck and shoulders. Such massage for bronchial asthma has a tonic effect. The work of the respiratory muscles is also normalized and the mobility of the ribs improves.

Through self-massage, you can relax and get rid of feelings of anxiety. For best results, listening to soft music is recommended during the session.

The sequence of self-massage looks like this:

  • rub the chest, intercostal spaces and sternum area;
  • massage the collar area;
  • knead the trapezius dorsal and cervical muscles;
  • massage the front of the neck and chest muscles.

The last stage of self-massage is simple remedial gymnastics or breathing exercises.

Important nuances

  1. During a massage session, an infant or a young child is required to be laid on his knees, older children are placed on a chair.
  2. The duration of the first massage sessions is maximum 15 minutes.
  3. We must not forget that small patients have fragile bones. It is important to calculate strength in advance.
  4. If the child resists at the time of the massage from asthma, then it is worth suspending or postponing the procedure.
  5. The doctor recommends that some massage techniques be performed independently at home, subject to individual prescriptions.
  6. Parents of sick children can learn how to perform treatment at home. For the purpose of prevention, massage is enough to do several times a month.


Massage is not a separate method of treatment, but only an auxiliary one. Its effectiveness is monitored by the attending physician.

At an early stage of the development of the disease, it is enough to carry out up to six sessions. If a severe form of the disease is diagnosed, then about 20 massages will be required.

In each specific case, the doctor prescribes a certain type of procedures, their number and frequency. Usually, the help of a highly qualified specialist is required for the correct massage.

event_note September 21, 2020

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