Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Understanding COPD

What is COPD exactly? COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is a progressive respitory disease that makes breathing difficult overtime. It can include 1 or 2 respitory conditions: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Bronchitis causes a phlegmy couch and wheezing and causes the airway to swell. Emphysema is damaged air sacs in your lungs and it causes shortness of breath and a right feeling in your chest.

COPD has affected more than 11 million people worldwide and some may not even know they have it. It causes long term disability and early death. At this time according to western medicine there is no known cure and the number of people dying from COPD is rising. As COPD disrupts your air flow in and out of your lungs it starts to reduce your lung function. Your air sacs and airway lose elasticity, the walls that separate your air sacs become damaged permantely and the walls of your airway can become thick and inflamed, which produces more mucus than normal and causes them to become clogged.

Even though COPD is a progressive and serious disease, with options like: medication, pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen therapy, people are able to live with the disease for several years. If someone is in the earlier stages of COPD, myofascial release or Swedish massage may be used. Massaging the rib cage can help strengthen respitory muscles and can decrease shortness of breath. Massage will lessen the flow of stress hormones so the rib cage is able to open up more freely and more air is allowed to be brought to the lungs. Lying flat on the massage table can make breathing more difficult, clients may feel more comfortable in a seated position or semi-reclined by propping up with pillows. In more advance stages massage of the back and chest to move excess lymph from the area will help allow the lungs to open up more and making it easier for the client to breathe. When a client is in the final stages of COPD chair massage is the best position so there is not extra body weight on the chest cavity. The massage therapist will focus on their back to live lymph and loosen up the muscles around the clients rib cage. This will help assist labored breathing.

Chinese medicine considers COPD a lung yin deficiency. As lung yin deficiency worsens heat builds up in the lungs and the lungs begin to compensate by producing phlegm. Phlegm obstructs the free flow of any Qi in the lungs. Medicines and herbs that are extremely drying should be avoided and can cause further complications. If dryness is presenting Chinese medicine food therapy suggests foods that moisten the lungs: spy products, barley, peanuts, rice milk, spinach, and pears. Foods that should be avoided that produce phlegm: fried food, dairy, juices, raw foods, iced drinks and cold foods.

Chinese medicine works very affective it to address COPD issues and has shown signs of reversing the disease if caught early on. In more advanced cases of COPD, the herbs will likely be depended on long term use to maintain an improved quality of life over time.


American lung association

Healthy cells magazine

Heal naturally

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