Breathing deeply can feel rejuvenating and exhilarating at times, so imagine not being able to do that consciously, or even to breathe normally without difficulty. And quite literally, if there is no breath, there is no life.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a debilitating disease of the lungs, making its sufferers constantly, and dangerously, short of breath. As the disease progresses, the lungs become increasingly scarred, progressively making it more difficult to breathe. Its exact causes are unknown, and there is no cure.
Take a Deep Breath and Ditch the Bad Diet
While there is as yet no cure for pulmonary fibrosis, doctors and natural therapists may prescribe a number of treatments that may help the disease.
First and foremost is that if a person smokes, it’s critical that he or she stops immediately. Acupuncture has been helpful for some people in quitting, or a doctor can recommend a program.
People with the disease may also respond to eating smaller meals so that the diaphragm is not restricted by a full tummy.
As with all health issues, eating a healthy balanced diet of natural whole foods is always beneficial. In particular watch out for foods that may cause inflammation such as fatty, fried foods or sugary, processed foods. Adding essential fatty acids to your diet could also be beneficial, in particular omega 3s, which have been shown to decrease inflammation in auto-immune diseases.
Since pulmonary fibrosis is sometimes an auto-immune disease, look for other treatments that have had some success in treating other auto-immune diseases. A naturopath may be able to help, and will also help with diet.
Breathing Exercises May Be Helpful
There are a number of breathing exercises that may be helpful in keeping the disease in check, or easing some of the symptoms. Consult your doctor before undertaking anything, but it could be helpful to try conscious breathing techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing.
Anxiety and stress management programs should also be considered. Try one-on-one yoga classes with a teacher who is qualified in yoga therapy – the breath is one of the most important tools in yoga, and a good teacher will work with you to address your symptoms. Yoga also fantastic for calming the mind and relaxing the body, and will also help with physical conditioning.
Traditional Chinese Medicine could also be considered. The lung is considered to be the highest internal organ in Chinese medicine, and is a key component of the body’s immune response. A TCM practitioner will work with balancing the energy, or qi, of the body.
Note that complementary treatments should be considered alongside any conventional, or Western, medical treatment, not as a replacement. Any therapy you choose should support your body, mind and spirit and help you to cope, heal and live a full life.