It seems a new season has been thrust upon us, forest fire season. With that, we’re all feeling a little tighter in the chest and a lot drier in the nose, sinuses and throat. To better cope with the smoke in the air we thought we would share some tips on lung detoxification.
● Consider an indoor air filter, a good HEPA filter will help to remove the small particles that are in the air, these are what will irritate the nasal passages and lungs making it harder to breath. If we can prevent them from going in, we will feel better. Keeping windows closed at night and running an air filter in the bedroom will help you have clean air while you sleep. Bonus points if you can move it to your office while you work.
● Stay hydrated. In fact, because your body is trying to clear more out, you will need to increase your water consumption to help out. If you’re not getting 8, 250ml glasses a day, then start there, if you’ve got that down, aim for 12-14 glasses a day, especially if it’s hot outside.
● Try a saline nasal spray, this will help to instantly remove irritating particles from your nose.
● Use a Neti pot or Sinurinse. These types of nasal rinses go a lot deeper and can flush our trapped particles from the sinuses. We have some free samples at the office if you’re ready to give this a try.
● Consider supporting your body with extra antioxidants, eating foods with a high vitamin C content such as berries, pomegranate, oranges, and grapefruit. Pears are especially good for the lungs in Chinese medicine.
● If you struggle with asthma, sinusitis, or have cardiovascular issues, you may want to think about supplementing with NAC, glutathione, curcumin and other antioxidant supports.
● Try a diffuser with essential oils that help open the bronchials; eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint and lavender are all helpful to open the airways and remove congestion, plus they smell great too!.
● Try drinking some marshmallow root tea which has been found to moisten the lungs.
Breathing deeply is important
Be mindful of your breathing. In a non-smoky environment take slow, deep regular breaths throughout the day. Do sets of 10 breaths, 3 times a day, or whenever you feel some tightness in the chest. It plays an important role in clearing your lungs and reducing stress.
The Benefits of Getting Proper Deep Breaths:
● lowers blood pressure, improves digestion, increases blood circulation and balances the nervous system.
● improves oxygen exchange in the cells.
● purifies the blood and expels toxins.
● strengthens the lungs, diaphragm and abdomen.
● lifts the spirits and improves the mood.
Now that is a huge list of benefits! Try one of these techniques below.
● Place your left hand on your upper chest and your right hand on your abdomen.
● Inhale deeply through the nose, while pushing outward on the stomach so the right hand
can feel the abdomen rise.
● Do not move the left hand while inhaling (breathe with your abdominal muscles not with your chest!)
● Purse your lips and exhale slowly pushing the abdomen inward and upward towards the ribs feeling your right hand move down.
● Exhale as long as you can before inhaling again, inhale slowly.
● May be done many times throughout the day.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
● To begin, exhale through both nostrils.
● Then inhale through the left nostril, block the right nostril with your finger, then exhale through the right nostril, while blocking the left nostril with your finger.
● Follow with an inhale through the right nostril, and an exhale through the left nostril.
● Then begin again, inhaling through the left nostril.
● Practice 10 to 15 rounds at one time.
● It helps to clear the sinuses first with either a Neti pot or sinus rinse.
If you are having trouble with nasal congestion or chest tightness or would like more care, come see us and we can help. We have lung and sinus specific formulas in our office that are either herbal or homeopathic remedies. Smoke can present like an allergy for some people and we can treat your body’s reaction to this by supporting various detox pathways. You may also book in for a tune-up with our osteopath, Joshua to ensure that your ribs, diaphragm and abdomen are moving well.
Enjoy your summer!
Dr. Rebecca Sagan, ND and Dr. Hajnalka Pinter, ND