Clean lungs make for a longer life. Though everyone thinks about food and nutrition before anything else when they want to improve their health, what we breathe in can make a huge difference to how long we live and how we feel while we live! Here are our tips for cleaner, healthier lungs.
Vapour baths, facial saunas or steam baths are all beneficial for conditions like asthma, bronchitis, coughs, hoarseness and allergies.
Using steam in close proximity to the face can really help unclog blocked sinuses. The steam moistens nasal cavities, reducing allergies and loosening congestion and mucus in the lungs and respiratory tracts.
Steam baths have been used for centuries right across the world. There’s a good reason for this: it helps maintain excellent lung as well as general health.
How do I make a vapour bath?
For a super lung cleansing steam bath, either go to your local sauna or Roman baths and sit in the steam room, or create a mini version in your own home!
To do this, simply:
- boil a kettle or heat up some water to boiling point.
- grab a bowl and a large towel to cover your head.
- taking care not to burn yourself, pour the hot water into a bowl or other heat-proof container, then cover your head and the bowl with your towel.
- put your head as close to the hot water as possible without burning yourself. Breathe in the vapours for around 10 minutes, or until you’ve had enough.
You can add essential oils to your facial sauna. Nice ones for the lungs include eucalyptus, marjoram and peppermint.
Get rid of mucus
Mucus forms when the mucus lining of the respiratory pathways get irritated. Getting rid of the mucus helps heal your lungs and clean them.
To rid yourself of mucus, drink lots of fluids. Water, juice and tea with honey make nice choices.
Gargling every day with warm salt water thins out mucus, too. Just add a little salt to some boiling water and give it a stir, then add enough cool water to make it warm and not hot.
Vapour baths also loosen and combat mucus! Eucalyptus oil is especially great for draining it all away.
Learn to breathe properly
To breath “properly”, the diaphragm is key. Singers and people who play musical instruments spend a lot of time practising how to breathe at their maximum capacity. You can do the same, and it’s not difficult.
Any yoga instructor will show you how to breathe more deeply: breathing is a major part of the practice of yoga. Attending a yoga class trains the body to breath more deeply and fully.
How do I learn how to breathe properly?
To breathe with your diaphragm, sit or stand comfortably, and put one hand gently on your chest and the other on your belly.
Begin to breathe in, and feel how your chest rises up your belly doesn’t expand too much. Breathe out. Next try to expand your belly, keeping your chest as still as possible. Breath out, and draw your attention to your belly moving inwards.
The more you use your belly when you breathe, the more of your lungs you’ll use, and the more benefit you’ll feel. Just taking a few more deep, belly breaths per day can help you deal with stress and clean your lungs.
Improve night time breathing
Breathing well at night is essential for a good night’s sleep!
How do we do it?
There are a number of ways to improve how well you breathe at night:
- Sleep under bed clothes that are warm enough for you to open a window just a little. This isn’t so difficult in summer, but some fresh air coming into your sleeping space is very good for the lungs. If you have asthma, allergies or sinusitis, a humidifier may be helpful, and you should try to keep the atmosphere warm and moist if you can.
- Make sure your room is comfortable and clean. Dust and dirty sheets aren’t great for the lungs.
- Try some breathing exercises before bed. Exhale through your mouth, then inhale through the nose to a count of 4. Hold your breath for a few moments, then exhale to a count of 8. Repeat 3 times.
Chinese medicine has made the connection between specific organs and emotions over the centuries, and the lungs are connected with grief and sadness. If you can find a way to heal your grief and sadness, you will also heal your lungs.