Simple, natural ways to clear congestion and irritants, and keep the air flowing
You can go weeks without food and days without water. But you won’t last even a few minutes without breathing. Even so, we tend to forget how important air is. Respiratory infections, sinus problems, allergies, pollution, asthma, and even stress and tension can make it hard to breathe easy. If your breathing is anything less than deep and full, try these seven tips to breathe better now.
HYDRATE AND HUMIDIFY
Cold air and indoor heating can dry out delicate respiratory tissues, exacerbating respiratory illness and asthma, and increasing the risk of sinus or upper respiratory tract infections. In winter months, or if you live in a dry climate, use a humidifier —the warm, moist air helps clear excess mucus from the lungs and sinuses and lessens irritation of the respiratory tract. Steam vaporizers are inexpensive and easy to maintain, and can be used with essential oils. Just add a few drops of eucalyptus, peppermint, pine, or spruce essential oil to the medicine cup on the mister, and infuse your bedroom or office with healing scents.
To prevent the growth of bacteria and mold, be sure to clean your humidifier properly—use equal parts warm water and vinegar, and scrub off residue with a soft brush—and be careful not to over humidify, which can lead to mold growth. Stay well-hydrated to keep the respiratory tract moist. If you’re sick of chugging water, try spiking it with juice, lemon or cucumber slices, or electrolyte-enhanced drink tablets or powders.
FLUSH IT OUT
Nasal irrigation, a traditional Ayurvedic treatment, has been used for thousands of years to treat congestion and sinus problems by removing mucus and debris from the nasal cavities. You can find a variety of nasal irrigation devices at natural grocers or pharmacies.
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