2011's effective addition: The benifit of wearing a dust mask as a treatment for respiratory distress. Lung dilation was described to me one day as a step in the treatment of a drowning victim, which totally blew my mind since they were forcing the inhalation of steam, but there is great value in much milder humidification, of the natural form, rebreathing moisture that would otherwise be lost. Read more at the link above.
This page was originally intended as a letter to those who suffer from a particular respiratory problem but it applies in a much broader manner.
Since coming to the Phoenix valley area i've been hearing about people having problems with airborne spores and their effect on them, and in all that time I've never heard anyone discuss any form of respiratory maintenance to counter all the adverse exposure to dust and more. Additionally, I've never heard anyone speak about proper breathing methods, to fully utilize the filtration mechanism we have been given, our nose. Through it air changes direction, and by that directional change, particulates are separated out of the airflow. Our nose is also equipped with two capture-chambers which are not useful when breathing through the mouth.
Regular maintenance is necessary before you begin to experience the sniffles or when congestion has occured. Without agressive procedures the particulates and spores can accumulate and possibly place an adverse strain on our systems as it tries to wash them out. It is only doing what it was designed to do, however, you should not try to wash out your sinuses with vapors or fluids for you may not effectively control where they go and your lungs are no place to send fluids.
Those substances that are microscopic are no help either, but people think they are helpless to deal with them, and without defensive measures this is probably the case, so considering not having heard about any measures being practiced, I believe it appropriate to speak to people, through this page, who are having respiratory problems, and share respiratory maintenance techniques i've been practicing since my days in an automotive/machine shop and a cabinet fabrication shop. In each of these places the dust and particulates are abnormally abundant and material such as asbestos, road dust and salt are so fine that they are hard to avoid or contain for capture. The same holds true of the dust from wood sanders. They are not microscopic or living spores but they do cause the same physical reaction from the body when they invade. The body goes into 'overtime with it's defensive mechanism' and this can sap the energy out of a person or at the least cause a runny nose.
The best defense is a good offense and taking pro-active steps, to capture those particulates for removal, is accomplished initially by inhaling primarily through your nose, it is designed to capture those particulates. Once they are captured, extraction is easy with a twist of toilet paper. When the sinuses feel crusted, then it is time, but if you can't inhale through your nose you're way overdue and have let down your guard by inhaling through your mouth. The reason you should breath through your nose is because of the way it was designed, As air flows upward into your nose it changes direction to enter your sinus cavity, as it changes direction particulates are separated from the air and collect in a pocket and among the hairs. Automobiles of the 50's used an oil-bath filtration system for their air intake system to deliver clean air. It pulled the air downward and then changed its direction depositing any particulates in a bath of oil.
In the event of some particulates getting by your filters, to
the point of causing irritation and
accumulation of fluids in the wind pipe, then it is time for gravity
Gravity flush involves positioning yourself for an extended period of time, as much as 20 minutes, in a face-down, slightly inclined head-down position. Think of it as draping yourself over something or just bent over or kneeling with your head on something comfortable. If you choose to drape yourself over something be sure to support your head so you can relax. If you feel comfortable enough to fall asleep, you are there. The corner of a bed or foot rest are objects to consider for draping over to accomplish a gravity flush of congestive fluids. You'll fell the need to swallow during this process, so do so, but use proper swallowing technique, press your tongue to the roof of your mouth (not teeth) this causes a high vacuum in your sinus passages which produces favorable results.
A word of caution. If you need to do this in public,, try to make your actions look normal,, so the scouts for the body snatchers aren't alarmed a dial you a rude interruption.
As a side thought, I would almost bet that Muslims have less respiratory issues than other cultures,, why? Because they cover their faces and do frequent prostration during their day
Often times in my many years in the valley i've use these methods to counteract the affects of the fine dust and other airborne substances and I hope you will also find it useful as a defense against further contamination so your body can get ahead of the environment rather than be overwhelmed by its unnatural conditions. Much of that material would normally be washed out of the air.
There are additional techniques to deal with the effect of dryness on our breathing and eyes so if you are interested i'll fill you in.
You may have noticed that the dry air of the desert causes sinuses and eyes to dry out. This can be countered by covering your head and face with a mesh garment. If you are sleeping or working in an air-conditioned room you should cover your face to create a barrier against the dry air and re-breath the moisture you exhale. 40% of the moisture our body looses is from breathing.
The eyes, being a fluid-based organ, may have met their match now that air-conditioning and dry climates are favored by people. Can anyone imagine what happens when less moisture is available to the eye? Can you say dehydrated grape. If the function of our eyes is based on the light being focused on the back of our eye then the dimension of the eye would seem to be a reasonable factor to take into consideration. If the dimension of the eye is reduced by loss of fluid then the eye may not be able to adjust to achieve focus.
Since being in Arizona for 15 years i've notice a continuing
dryness of my eyes. the only time they are comfortable is when
being isolated from the dry air. I often accomplish this by wearing
goggles. For the next twelve month i'll be experimenting with
greater discipline how isolation of the eye from dry air changes my
present need to wear glasses. I have noticed that my eyes seem to
be deeper set in their socket than they were years ago. After
several days of humidity protection I have already noticed an
improvement in their comfort.
Toilet Paper Twist
I've put the details of this method last so that you
could get through all the other maintenance methods and not have
the cloud of being grossed out blocking your attention.
Breathing at high altitude where the air is thin.
Thin air means low pressure, you will need to force the air deep into your lungs by restricting your exhaling. This is a method used in weight lifting and other activities and conditions where enriching the body with oxygen is accomplished by forcing air deep into the lungs. You are essentially inflating your lung sacks at the same time so each subsequent breath is also of greater volume. If have the habit of taking short quick breaths, this will help you retrain your breathing pattern or at the very least get more out of each breath that you do take. Think about it as blowing up a balloon each time you exhale.
Update, 11-02-2007: Regular wearing of goggles for the last 60
days has had continuing favorable results in comfort and the
presence of moisture. Vision seems to be improving.
If you have any question i'll try to accommodate. Share this with others and contact me with your results.
Check back regularly, for these and other items will be expanded upon over time.