These beautiful paired organs sit high in the body’s chest, protected by ribs, nestled around the heart and moistened by mucous. Ebbing and flowing they move approximately 10,000 litres of air in about 20,0000 breaths. They are continually interacting with the environment in which we breathe, and taking in and returning gases back into the atmosphere.
- Exchange much needed gases & harmful ones
- Come into contact with airborne viruses, bacteria, allergens
- Detoxify for our bodies
- From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, the lungs are most affected emotionally by grief and sadness.
Considering the many vital processes to which the lungs are responsible, it is important we take good care of these puppies. The first step in protecting our lungs from harmful toxins in the environment and ensuring proper lung health is awareness. So what should we know about in order to care for the only pair of lungs we have?
The outside environment of our modern world, expose our lungs with many toxins such as:
- Particulate matter – from vehicle emissions, industrial processes, forest fires, and interactions with other chemicals.
- Ground level ozone – formed by volatile organic compounds and nitrogenous compounds from fossil fuel combustion.
- Volatile organic compounds – ie) benzenes and vinyl chlorides are toxic byproducts from industrial plants.
- Persistent organic pollutants (POP’s) – highly stable compounds that accumulate in our bodies, disrupting vital hormone processes.
So…The outside world…scary stuff, right? Well, believe it or not, our inside air quality is often worse then outdoor air quality by up to ten times! Toxin assessments conducted on homes often prove the presence of environmental bad guys such as:
- Radon – chemical naturally emitted from the earth and often trapped within houses.
- Pet dander
- Off-gassing – evaporation of volatile chemicals that can occur for years from building materials such as: paint, insulation, and furniture.
Living amongst these toxins day in and day out wreaks havoc on inhabitants, often times without them knowing it. The affects become apparent with the eventual development of conditions like asthma, obesity, autoimmune disease, chemical sensitivities, and even brain and nerve damage. YIKES!
But, it’s not all doom and gloom guys. There are things you CAN do to protect yourself and your lungs from all this toxic burden. Here are some of my lung love tips:
- Breathe deeply, move the air that sits in the upper AND the lower lung, this involves performing deep long slow breaths that extended the abdomen with each inhale.
- Plants!! Have them, especially tropical plants that help to detoxify air in your home (as well as improve focus and general well-being). Surround yourself daily with the greenery of your environment, walk around it, breathe it in, touch it, admire it, and be grateful for it.
- Don’t smoke. Need I explain more?
- In your house: Ensure you have good ventilation, dust often, use natural cleaners, and choose cotton, bamboo or natural linoleum flooring.
- Figure our your toxic load through laboratory testing and or or a naturopathic intake. Many naturopathic therapies can be used to help eliminate toxins in the body and support the body’s organs of elimination.
If you are curious, come chat with me for a complimentary 15 minute appointment.
We live in a toxic world, but there is so much we can do to mitigate the exposures we experience in our day to day life. I will sign off by saying, love your lungs with every breath!
Dr. Sarah Kent is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor specializing in your health. She blends traditional knowledge with current scientiﬁc understanding to generate wellness within her patients. She has received specialized training in naturopathic sports medicine, applying the principles and tools of naturopathic care in treating athletes.
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development. 1995-2013
Kazzam, N. Asian Medicine III. CCNM. 2010
www.natureneutral.com. 2005 Nature Neutral LLC
Environmental Working Group. www.ewg.org. copyright2013.
Environmental Protection Agency www.epa.gov . last updated March 6 2012