Take A Deep Breath...
Breathing is more than just bringing air into our bodies. It’s about processing our external environment and everything in it so that our internal environment can use it. And with all the allergies, asthma, bronchitis and emphysema, there are many of us that really could use a translator!
Breathing is a complex process which involves blood, muscles, bones and air. The air we breathe is heavily filtered by the body tissues prior to reaching the cells of the body. Everything from the hairs in our nose to the cells of the liver have a hand in making sure we don’t poison ourselves with every breath we take. So the quality of the air is a key factor in how much work our body needs to do in order to remove toxins, allergens and dust particles in order to maintain the health of our millions of cells. When the poor quality of the air on a daily basis overwhelms the resources of our respiratory system to process the air for oxygen, then the problems begin.
But this process of filtration can be compromised, not just by the air we breathe, but also by the filtration mechanisms our body uses. Chronic mucous congestion, sinus infection, chronic bronchitis issues and a weak liver are all milestones along the road to allergies, asthma and even emphysema. Childhood allergies in particular may be due to a weakened liver function or a weakened immune system, both of which can be genetic. Just one serious childhood illness can compromise the immune system’s ability to filter and control elements that we inhale.
Even our digestion is a key element in the development of alleriges. Many times, if material enters the bloodstream only partially digested, it will trigger an immune response and a continuing process of allergen recognition. This is the case in Leaky Gut Syndrome. Also, children have a tendency to put things in their mouths, or to get a lot closer to nature than we would think of doing. Some of the most common things that they contact, later become our typical allergens, such as dust, cat dander, mold, or pollen. All of these may unintentionally be ingested, particularly in children and make it to the bloodstream where the body mounts an immune reaction to eliminate these unintentional elements. This doesn’t mean that every mother in America has to immediately give up her job to become a full-time cleaning service. In fact, most of what children contact may not even be in the home at all, but in the car, at the store or in the yard playing with the new cute puppy.
Millions of people suffer from this type of allergy reaction. In fact, over-the-counter treatments for allergies accounts for huge out of pocket expenditures every spring. Allergies can cause a wide variety of symptoms leaving their poor victims feeling sick, uncomfortable and tired. Sinusitis, asthma, chronic bronchitis, eczema, watery eyes and post-nasal drip are all common allergy-related conditions. And allergies aren’t just environmental. Many people suffer from food allergies, causing hives, cravings, bowel dysfunction and severe fatigue. Processing of food can add ingredients and preservatives that your body simply cannot tolerate.
The incidence of asthma is increasing around the world. This may be caused by increasing patterns of childhood infections and excessive antibiotic use. Exposure to certain pathogens in early childhood may cause suppression of certain essential body processes against allergens. In asthma there is increased collagen deposition and chronic inflammatory processes and products that continue the cycle of asthma. The main purpose of treatment is to control the inflammation through mediators and to enhance breathing efficiency. I have never seen a better program to get someone breathing better than the Buteyko Method, which can eliminate the need for asthma drugs, lower blood pressure and enhance breathing by as much as 90%. You can find more information at www.kickasthma.com.
An important note about asthma is that the allergens that drive asthma are not necessarily those that cause the attacks. Some of the most common driving forces are dust mites, mold, animal dander, insects. It is technically the proteins associated with these things that are the allergens. For instance, it is the protein in dry animal fur from licking that causes the allergic activity. For this reason, even dairy can be a problem, so one of the first things to do is to temporarily eliminate dairy proteins from the diet. This will eliminate one of the main driving mechanisms as well as one of the potential allergens.
Sinusitis is also a crucial factor in asthma as it seems to precede the asthma in more than 90% of cases. Repeated respiratory infections need to be resolved in order to work with the asthma. Another vital factor is stomach acid production. In 1976, a study by Mays found that 46% of adult patients with severe intrinsic asthma had esophageal reflux. One explanation for this is the vagal reflex which causes the brain, in response to irritation for GERD, to produce neurogenic inflammation, activating mast cells which affect the lungs. In this way, reflex demulcency of herbs, such as marshmallow root soothe the irritation by the same pathway in reverse.
Begin by focusing on four core aspects, which account for the majority of breathing restrictions and allergy symptoms. This approach will also help to support and restore deep, healthy breathing. Begin with the liver. Cleansing the liver is one of the key ways to reduce breathing issues and particularly allergy reactions.
The liver is the key cleansing organ of the digestive tract and much of the blood system. It backs up the function of the kidneys and the lungs, by helping to remove waste material that they cannot process or that has escaped the normal sequence of filtration. Once the liver becomes backed up, it can no longer perform much of its required filtration functions, thus allowing material to become lodged in the body tissues. This can trigger an immune response that can continue each and every time the body becomes exposed to any challenge. It will also mean that there will be an increased burden on another system of elimination, which in this case is usually the skin. Associated symptoms such as psoriasis, eczema, acne and hives can all point to the liver being one of the main aspects involved in your allergy or breathing problem. Try an herbal blend of Schisandra, Milk Thistle, Dandelion Root, Globe Artichoke, Albizia and Cleavers for a really effective liver tonic.
The next step is to modulate the immune system and to support proper immune strength. Echinacea Purpurea is the core treatment here, with an amazing effect on respiration. It is also essential to resolve any long-standing immune problem which may be taxing the immune system and continuing the cycle of inflammation and weakness, such as sinusitis, post-nasal drip, parotid gland inflammation or GERD. Try adding one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before each meal into your daily routine to reduce acid reflux and acid stomach issues.
Don’t forget to support healthy respiration by reducing mucous accumulation, relaxing muscular spasm and cleansing the respiratory system of toxic material. This can not only help to reduce symptoms, but also can take the pressure off of other systems of elimination such as the skin, liver and kidneys that have been compensating for weakened respiratory function. I like Standard Process’s product Fen Gre to reduce mucous accumulation, but also a soothing blend of marshmallow root, grindelia, mullein leaf, licorice, euphorbia and ginger to really help restore normalized respiratory function. For strong muscular issues, such as acute asthma issues, I will recommend cramp bark and hemidesmus, a sure-fire blend to reduce muscle tension of the bronchial pathways and reduce inflammation.
The last stop is digestion. Many breathing issues are exacerbated by lack of proper acidification. Most asthmatics and chronic bronchitis sufferers actually have a hyperalkaline systemmaking them prone to acid reflux, GERD and lactose-intolerance. This puts pressure on the adrenal glands causing severe fatigue and chronic inflammation. Also, a hyperalkaline system means a reduced absorption of key minerals and organic elements, making it harder to repair damaged tissues. A blend of gentian, chamomile, dandelion root, echinacea root and milk thistle will really help to restore normal acid production. I also suggest large amounts of natural zinc and later a bit of hydrochloric acid with each meal, just to get the juices flowing.
Don’t become a slave to inhalers and Zirtec. Instead, put together a program of natural options that will work to finally allow you to breathe deeply!