I have an autoimmune disorder that affects my lungs. I have struggled with scarring in my lungs, breathing, and inflammation for most of my life! While I have not been able to “cure” my lung afflictions, I have been able to effectively manage this condition with the use of natural methods, spiritual wisdom, herbals, and the like.
THIS BEING SAID: See a doctor! If you have a chronic or acute condition that is affecting your lungs and your ability to breathe, don’t hesitate in finding the help you need from medical professionals. I still keep a rescue inhaler JUST IN CASE I have an attack or a flare that I can’t manage with Natural Methods. Medicines and Doctors exist for a reason. Don’t feel bad for needing to access that next level of care.
Marrying Science and Spiritual Wisdom
Yes, we all know that the lungs are the area of the body where gas exchange occurs. We know the physiological purpose of the lungs is to help us oxygenate our bodies. But my biggest critique of modern medicine is the fact that we don’t look at the spiritual and energetic purposes of our body systems. We are more than a pair of lungs. We are humans with unique experiences, and unique bodies. I believe that “one size fits all” and protocol based medicine has its benefits in the research and academia communities. However, a more humanistic, holistic approach should be taken in patient care. Especially with people who suffer from chronic and long term health conditions.
Science and medicine is not the be all, end all to knowledge. You are free to believe otherwise. I, However, am willing to accept that there are occurrences and knowledge that cannot be quantified through our current scientific measuring systems. I believe that there is an inexplicable connection between our energy, our bodies, our experiences, and our emotions. A wonderful example of this is the Book by Bessel Van Der Kolk M.D. called “The Body Keeps Score.” It’s a fascinating read that details how your body remembers traumas and life experiences, and how it works to find homeostasis through those experiences.
I believe that while you can experience a disease or ailment of the lungs that could be cured through advances of modern medicine, it is also possible to have chronic conditions that will never be cured through science or medicine.
I, unfortunately, fall into this category. I have struggled with an inflammatory autoimmune condition all my life. I have seen the best doctors, and I have tried the best conventional medical treatments. NOTHING conventional HELPS, and all of the medicine and treatments I have tried have risks and possible side effects that could harm my long term health. This article will detail my experience with a Chronic Lung condition, and what I have done to manage my condition outside of science and medicine.
This article is in no way meant to treat or replace your current medical care and therapies. But instead it is meant to equip you with the power and knowledge of the spiritual and holistic realm, so that you may improve your life through complementary therapies.
Spiritual Knowledge of the Lungs | Lung Wisdom
I felt it was especially important to share this information with my readers, because we are in the thick of a global pandemic that is primarily affecting the lungs of the citizens of this planet. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the lungs are an organ that is affected by grief. TCM teaches that your energy and emotions can be “trapped” or stagnant in your organs and can cause illness or symptoms.
TCM incorporates the use of various methods of eating, using medicines, and therapies like movement, (qi gong), and acupuncture to treat you. Of course this is a reductionist explanation of a very complex medicine system. I recommend you do more research in TCM if you are interested in practicing a more holistic approach to health. (The Web That Has No Weaver is a wonderful comprehensive guide to TCM.)
TCM is a system of knowledge that treats people’s ailments and deficiencies by correlating emotions with organs and energetic meridians. This is a wonderful complementary therapy that is capable of treating ailments on a standalone basis, but does extremely well when combined with conventional medicine and therapies.
I personally don’t think it is a coincidence that we are experiencing a global pandemic that affects the lungs. Mother Earth is grieving, and that grief is being processed by the residents of this planet on a large scale. We need to band together as cosmic citizens of this planet and find actionable ways to hold large corporations accountable for the destruction of natural habitats and the rampant pollution that is caused by large-scale commercial operations. Yes, it’s important that little people like you and me work hard to reduce our carbon footprints, and to recycle. But without a large movement towards healing our environment, and holding corporations accountable, we will continue to experience pollution and disease.
Air quality and pollution are a big part of lung health, and overall wellness for people. An attack on air quality is an attack on your sovereignty as a cosmic being on this planet, and an attack on your energetic awareness.
LET ME EXPLAIN: Did you know that the lungs are also capable of changing your entire perception and awareness? The lungs are one of the largest producers DMT (the spirit molecule) in the body. So when you take care of your lungs, you are actually taking care of your spiritual awareness and your energy.
“It is commonly thought that the adrenal gland and lungs are the most common places for the highest amount of DMT production.”(Thompson and Weinshillboum, 1998; Thompson et al., 1999).
So while people have been using practices of breathing and movement to gain energy for a millenia, science is finally catching up to the idea that the lungs have the ability to produce a chemical that is known for altering the your state of awareness. Any pollution or destruction of the environment is an assault on your wellbeing. If we start treating those assaults as the grave offenses they are, we will begin to see change in our health, and in business policy.
Physiological Lung Health
Most of us have heard of these simple techniques for keeping the lungs healthy. Here is a comprehensive list of conventional wisdom for lung health.
- Don’t Smoke. This is a given. I know a lot of people don’t like this idea. I lot of people are attached to cannabis and tobacco, but I want to caution you in partaking in these practices. Smoking causes inflammation in the lungs. Inflammation prevents your lungs from being able to repair.
- If your lungs are irritated consider “Steam Therapy”. (Study Linked).
- Consider changing your diet to include omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamin A rich foods. (Study Linked.)
- Consider taking up a breathing practice that will increase your lung capacity and your breathing capabilities.
- Consider Postural Drainage
- Consider using Physical Therapy techniques like “Percussion”
- Consider complimentary treatments like Herbals.
I don’t want to spend too much time talking about breathing. I feel like this could be a whole blog on its own! I do want to again touch on the point that your breathing and your lungs LITERALLY affect your perception.
I recommend finding some sort of breathing practice that you can do easily, and every day. I personally practice diaphragmatic breathing every second that I am free. I also have found it extremely easy to rest and relax when I breath in to the count of 8, hold my breath to the count of 8, and exhale to the count of 8. This helps me manage my heart rate and stress levels.
TCM and other traditional knowledge systems believe that we literally bringing in life force energy when we breath. I don’t know if we have a way to prove or quantify “life force” energy, and even though I am a hippy and a shaman, I am an eternal skeptic. But the imagery of bringing in a life sustaining energy force with each breath is also very beautiful to me. It helps me keep intentional about breathing. It also helps me stay grateful for the eternal gift my lungs continue to provide for me.
“You can live 3 weeks without food, 3 days without water, and only three minutes without breathing.”Somebody’s mom, probably.
Here is a video to another breathing practice that is a really good way to manage your energy, and strengthen your lungs. I have been practicing this method of breathing for some time now, and I find that I feel energized after practicing it.
Percussion is a type of Physical Therapy technique that can be used to stimulate the blood vessels in your lungs. This is also an good maneuver to help you clear excess fluid from your lungs. This can be helpful for chronic and acute illnesses alike.
I have been suffering from a severe lung condition since I was very young. My medical professionals taught my parents this technique when I was young. I have had my partner do this to me when my lungs feel particularly irritated, or when I am having bouts of illness like respiratory infections and pneumonia.
These percussion techniques are really wonderful in conjunction with medical therapies. I wanted to share these techniques with you, again, because we are dealing with this widespread illness that is causing pneumonia and fluid build up in the lungs. While these techniques are NOT a substitution for medical care, they can be helpful for you if you are experiencing an illness that is not severe enough for you to seek medical treatment.
Posture | Postural Drainage and Sleeping Positions
I have has many a night of lost sleep due to the inability to breath easily, congestion in the lungs, and fluid build up in the lungs. It’s not a fun experience, in fact, it’s a really terrifying and frustrating experience to be absolutely exhausted, and simultaneously unable to sleep, (even after seeking appropriate medical treatment.)
One of the only ways that I have been able to get sleep, while experiencing an autoimmune flare that affects my lungs, is by sleeping in a position that promotes postural drainage. This video linked below is an example of some positions you might use, they also show some percussive techniques that I mentioned in the previous section.
I also found this article that details three other postures that may be helpful for you for sleeping. In addition to these postures, I have also used sturdy couch pillows to sleep on, instead of regular sleeping pillows. Couch pillow are very firm, and are capable of propping you up and supporting your weight better than normal sleeping pillows.
Sleeping Postures to Improve Drainage
Images Courtesy of https://www.healthline.com/health/postural-drainage#methods
Herbals for Lung Health
Understanding what damages the lungs is a good way to understand how to help them heal. This study details an understanding of how lungs become scarred, fibrotic, and damaged, but it also provides some amazing insights for understanding how you might move forward in healing the lungs. This study mentions that foods rich in fatty acids, like omega 3’s, and vitamin A may help in improve your body’s ability to heal and regenerate your lungs. This study also mentions how inflammation is the major key of understanding what damages your lungs, and what keeps them from healing and regenerating.
Decrease Inflammation with your Lifestyle Choices
No one wants to hear this, (Me least of all!) But one of the biggest culprits for inflammation in your body is the regular consumption of sugar. Soft drinks, candies, sweets, and even hidden added sugars in your everyday products like salad dressing, spices, baby food, and canned goods. We need to do better for ourselves, and for our bodies. Try to limit sugar, and be sure to read food labels so that you can know you aren’t consuming added sugars.
- Turmeric and Black pepper
- Fatty Fish
- Green and Leafy Vegetables
I have been studying herbalism for many years. Many people come to herbalism looking for a magic potion or quick remedy or “fix” that will cure them. I’m here to tell you that herbalism (and life,) doesn’t work like that. Herbalism is a way to support your body and provide balance for your life. THE BEST WAY to incorporate Herbalism into your life is cook real foods, and to make healthy choices. Many spices that you already use in cooking can help you reduce inflammation and support balance in your body. Chinese food, AND Indian food traditionally uses many spices that are beneficial for your health. So when thinking about starting a regimen of Herbals to help you balance your body and your health, remember that it starts with the food you eat and your lifestyle.
It’s much easier to make healthy choices and to prevent illness than it is to heal a sickness.
“An Ounce of prevention is worth a Pound of Cure”Somebody’s mom, probably.
All of this being said, I do think herbals play a big part in wellness for me. I eat right and make good choices for the most part, but I am still chronically ill. So I use herbs, not as a miracle cure, but as a way of supporting my body.
Herbals for Lung Health and Support
- Mullein (clearing the lungs)
- Cinnamon (anti-inflammatory)
- Plantain Leaf (supporting the lungs)
- Slippery Elm (sore throat)
- Peppermint (antihistamine)
- Lungwort (lung support)
- Astragalus (immune support and antioxidant)
- Cat’s Claw (anti-viral, anti-inflammatory)
When using herbals for lung support you have to find the right type of ingestion, or delivery method for you. While many herbalists use steam and boil pots for cures, I am not familiar in that method of curing with herbs. I mostly use supplements, tinctures, and infusions. If you are interested in learning more about crafting your own herbal cures, I highly recommend reading the book “Healing Wise, Wise Women Herbal” By Susun Weed. That book helps you know and understand methods of using herbs that are helpful for you. Below I will list my basic recipe for infusion:
Each herb is individual and may require specific preparations. For instance: Mullein Infusion is EXTREMELY helpful in clearing the lungs, but you must strain it well, or part of the plant may irritate your throat and mucous membranes. Generally speaking infusions are prepared like a tea.
- 1 qt hot or cold water
- 2 tbsps of dried plant matter
- Let it rest for 4-8 hours. (I usually let it rest overnight!)
- Sip on the infusion throughout the day
Peace of Mind
Especially in this Covid-19 era, I think peace of mind is the best thing you can have in regards to your lung health. I HIGHLY recommend that you purchase a Pulse Ox machine. I got a cheap one on amazon for around $20 that works great!
This has been this single most useful tool I’ve found in maintaining my peace while managing a chronic lung condition. I often times feel like I can’t breathe or like I am short of breath when in reality it’s just a normal symptom of my autoimmune disorder. So popping on a Pulse Ox can be really helpful in telling my conscious mind that I am ok!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read all this information. I hope it was helpful to you, and that it benefits you. Whether you have a cold, or some other acute illness, or whether you have a chronic condition like me, this information is INVALUABLE to you and to our community. May you move forward, armed with the knowledge that no matter what, there is always something you can do to move forward with your health.
Meet Brittany Freakin Chavez
She is a passionate healer, educator, spiritworker, and minister, on the path of truth seeking and knowing. She is the mother to 4 living children, with one somewhere in the great unknown.
She is on a mission to study Midwifery, and to provide competent and caring maternity care services that honor the life, essence, spirit, and body of mothers and birth givers in her community.
She spends a lot of time educating and supporting the community in her Facebook Group. And enjoys helping people move through life with intention and passion.