We live in an age of infinite information and possibilities. Studies focused on alleviating the symptoms of lung disease are going on continually, and results are accessible from your computer. Studies vary from new medications, new surgical interventions, and other less invasive strategies like exercise, nutrition, and energy practices. Learn all you can and then check out your doctor’s perspective on them. Can any of these be right for you? Could they be beneficial?

Your doctor is usually trained in western medicine, but eastern medicine has been practiced for thousands of years with positive results. Herbs, supplements, and practices like tai chi and reiki therapy have been found to be helpful in alleviating symptoms of lung disease. 

If you allow yourself only the options provided by your doctor, without considering the information you easily have at hand, you may not be doing yourself justice. 

At the support group, Jack mentioned an article he had found about the benefits of salt rooms on ease of breathing. He wondered if that might have any validity. On researching this, we discovered that a physician in eastern Europe was questioning why no one who worked in the salt mines ever had any problems or issues with their lungs. No infections, no allergies.  The doctor concluded that the inhalation of particles of salt had a beneficial impact on the function of the lungs. Jack visited the salt rooms and reported back to the group. “ I could breathe easier! It was very relaxing and I just felt overall much better.” Margaret didn’t have the funds for salt room visits but decided to try using a salt lamp in her bedroom. “I don’t know if it really does anything but I seem to sleep a little better.”

Greg touted the benefits of chiropractic. After his weekly session with his chiropractor, he said that he always felt better and could breathe easier. 

Recently, the pulmonary rehab staff had incorporated a kazoo time as part of the session, starting with a few breathing exercises to stretch and strengthen the breathing muscles, then playing a few songs on the kazoo. Measuring the before and after levels of dyspnea (shortness of breath) and oxygen saturation levels, everyone could see the results for themselves. Breathing was easier and saturation levels were higher. And in the meantime, lung muscles get stronger and more flexible. Harmonicas, like the kazoo, also strengthens breathing muscles and helps you feel better.

In Italy, a study showed that children with asthma who ate kiwi fruit regularly were found to have had less wheezing, coughing and dyspnea (shortness of breath). Would a kiwi a day help your breathing?

Cordyceps is a Chinese mushroom that has been shown to increase energy, oxygen supply, and open airways.

Tuning in to the pulmonary websites and support groups can give you much of the latest and greatest in pulmonary treatments and findings. BreatheStrongAmerica.org, COPDfoundation.org, and Pulmonarypaper.org can keep you well abreast of the happenings with new meds, new treatments and new findings. 

If you have a health issue, don’t be afraid to manage it. Knowledge is power. And once you are informed, work in conjunction with your doctor to see which might fit best with your situation.