Alternative systems of medicine include Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, homeopathic, and naturopathic medicine. Chinese medicine emphasizes the balance of qi (chee) or vital energy. Within this system, illness is deÞ ned as a disturbance in the balance of vital energy. Ayurveda is a system of healing which evolved from teachings in ancient India. Our review mainly focuses on the importance of the severity and control of asthma in the evaluation of patients and their response to treatment. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, The Cochrane Library, and the National / International abstracts to identify relevant articles. We limited evidence to alternative medicine for asthma, but we also reviewed observational evidence for safety. Outcomes of interest were overall mortality, exacerbations, quality of life, functional capacity, and primary health care. Lifestyle modiÞ cations that effectively lower asthma are: i) increased physical activity, ii) reduction of the impact of environmental factors on asthma such as smoking, air pollution, hazards in schools, day care, the work place, and home, as well as other environmental triggers. Our review suggests that alternative systems of medicine reduce adverse effects and the need for high-impact, high-cost intervention. It is the best way for self-healing and health promotion (salutogenesis rather than pathogenesis) that makes alternative medicine approaches to chronic disease especially attractive.
Key words: Acupuncture, air pollution, alternative therapy, family therapy