Scourge of Smoky Air

The Scourge of Smoky Air

We have to clean out the dog’s eyes at least once a day. Lulu is sensitive to everything in the environment, like an early warning system of unhealthy living, and recently her eyes have been very irritated. We are all suffering from this prolonged bout of air pollution. For those with asthma, emphysema, OPD and other respiratory disorders, this is a serious situation. For the rest of us too, this is a serious situation.

Hold your breath and see what happens. After six or seven seconds you feel tension in your chest and creeping anxiety because the lungs are not moving. Normally they expand and contract twenty times a minute to spread oxygen through your body and to expel metabolic debris. The movement of breathing sustains life – every breath cycle is a microcosm of life and death – inspiration and expiration. Respiratory function becomes sluggish when the air is polluted. This is not good.

Healthy lungs are absolutely essential to your well being. Even though we can’t control the fire smoke in our valley we can do things that help our lungs deal with this pollution.

Quit smoking, Now! It’s that simple. If you are still smoking cigarettes now is the time to quit. There are several programs that will help you do that. Ask for help and get on the program. If you are a recreational or medical pot smoker, don’t do it now. The long term effects are debatable, but the short term combination of wood smoke and pot smoke is not healthy.

Do the nasal flush. This technique has an immediate benefit of cleansing the nasal passages. There are numerous devices - netti pot, squeeze bottle of saline, etc. – that can be used but the simplest, and therefore most useful, method is at your hands.

Here’s what you do:

Lean over a sink. Run a pool of lukewarm water in the cupped palm of one hand. Insert your nose into the little pool and draw the water up into your nostrils. Really, it’s not as scary as it sounds. You will not drown. Then close off one nostril with a finger and forcefully blow the water out the other nostril. Clean off your nose, then repeat and blow out the other nostril. It’s a refreshing, even exhilarating, sensation to have clean nasal passages.

Do Qigong. This is one of the best things you can do for your lungs. All medical qigong exercises use body movement, regulated breathing and mental intention to various degrees. Lung Qigong puts special emphasis on mindful breathing. My AUTUMN QIGONG class is all about the lungs. Everything you will learn - qigong exercises, breathing meditations, diet and herbs – will have a beneficial effect on how you breath. One exercise in particular, White Healing Mist, has been shown to ward off colds and improve overall lung function.

Get an acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture, and specific herbs, are really good for relaxing and opening the airways. Research studies show that people with asthma or emphysema usually feel better after an acupuncture session. From my clinical experience, I know that everybody will benefit from having better qi and blood flow through their chest, lungs and meridian channels. My “seasonal tuneup” for autumn consists of one acupuncture treatment and an herbal tincture designed to enhance respiratory function. To schedule a treatment or for more information contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Autumn is the time when the lungs are most sensitive to outside influences – both good and bad. Poor air quality is a toxic problem, but the good news is that this season is the best time to nurture the health of the lungs. The advice I’ve given above will definitely help you surmount the negative effects of this smoky air. Now, if only I can get Lulu to do qigong exercises.