To help you breathe better……

After last week, I decided to do some investigating of my own to find any natural remedies to aid my Asthma. I already know about the benefits of fresh lemon juice and its links to Asthma. I often drink lemon and ginger tea when unwell and have recently been having fresh lemon squeezed into a glass of water if any wheezing begins. It is not a cure by all means but it certainly helps. Other remedies include a few drops of eucalyptus oil on a tissue to be gently sniffed or drinking a strong black coffee (apparently it helps to open the airways).

I wanted to search for some breathing techniques too. For too long have I solely relied on my inhalers to relieve my Asthma symptoms. However, for my own resilience, I feel it is essential that I develop some more natural strategies to soothe and appease the pain.

A colleague of mine suggested Yoga. She is not the first person to mention it. My friend Katrina is constantly telling me to give it a go. She too suffers from Asthma and her regular love and practise of Yoga has practically sent it packing. I am not adverse to it, I just can’t seem to find enough willpower (or forced interest) in going to a Yoga class. It doesn’t seem “me”. Yes, health comes first before embarrassment but I doubt I’d feel very comfortable. I do not enjoy exercising around other people; an unfortunate side of Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I decided to take a look on YouTube and eventually fell onto a clip to do with the art of  “Pranayama” breathing. A Sanskrit word meaning “extension of breath”. Studies have shown it can be a great way to relieve asthmatic symptoms and reduce stress. I have only practised two forms of Pranayama – Shitali otherwise known as ‘Cooling breath’ where the breathing is done through the mouth with the tongue extended and Bhramari – Also known as ‘Bee Breath’ – where you make a humming sound while breathing. Both are equally effective. I tend to do the exercises at home before sleep and first thing in the morning (granted I have time before work!). I hope that over the following few weeks I can endeavour to attempt the other Pranayama exercises and hope that they also provide the same comfort as the others.

During my time at Drama School, we spent a lot of time before our dance and voice classes warming up. Much of this focussed on the way we breathed. We explored several techniques, drawing inspiration from Pilates, the Alexander Technique and general vocal warm ups. One exercise that I remembered was a technique that involved a partner. As you inhaled, you were to imagine your diaphragm and ribs expanding. You are to focus on only this part of your body moving. You must try to control your chest and prevent it from rising. If it does, you are not doing the exercise correctly. As you inhale, your partner needs to put their hands onto your sides, holding your ribcage. As they feel you breathe in, they must push against your ribs. You need to try to push against their resistance. At first it will be tough. Your ribs may not be used to moving like this but over time, you will start to see them expand more easily. As you exhale, your partner’s hands will maintain the pressure whilst continuing to support your ribs.

Try it. It might work for you. If anything, it’s a good exercise for your waist too!

Other tips include:

  • Counting and breathing – counting is a tried and tested way of calming people down in moments of anger – especially children. It works for a reason. It keeps you focussed on your breathing and distracts you from the feeling of panic or stress.
  • Keeping your head slightly tilted forward- it is tempting, in discomfort, to want to lean back or tip your head backwards. If you do this, you restrict your airways and the flow of oxygen to your lungs decreases. The same applies for the recovery position. You must tilt the head down to prevent choking on the patient’s tongue or vomit.
  • Relaxing – close your eyes, put on some peaceful music.
  • Buteyko Method (Nasal breathing) – making a conscious effort to breath solely from your nose is proven to be a better way of getting oxygen into your lungs. Breathing nasally will filter the air more efficiently through your sinuses unlike breathing through your mouth. It also helps to humidify the air that you inhale.
  • Good posture – keeping upright and not slouching are simple solutions. A good way of spotting an Asthma attack is if the sufferer is leaning forward. This is a natural reaction to the chest closing up and can bring some relief but keeping the chest area open will aid the patient more. Get someone to rub your back gently if needed.
  • Steam – one of my favourite remedies as it involves a hot bath. You don’t even have to get in it. If you feel tight chested, run a hot bath, shut the door and sit down in the bathroom. Lean against a wall so that you do not slouch. Take deep breaths in. You could count to keep a slow pace and inhale the rising steam. I assure you that this is an incredibly soothing remedy.
  • Keeping a control of your emotions- this can be a tough one and slightly ambiguous. This doesn’t mean become a wall of stone, just be aware of how you may be feeling. Extreme stress and upset can fuel Asthma attacks so I am going to state the obvious now – sorry – but do not PANIC! It will only make it worse. Anger won’t help either. Even side-splitting laughter can trigger an Asthma attack. I cannot be tickled as I end up wheezing like crazy. It is strangely difficult to explain that to people.

I hope these tips are useful to any fellow Asthma sufferers out there.

Keep well and look after yourselves.

xxx

*Asthma UK – The United Kingdom’s leading Asthma Charity. Image from Google.

What a “victim” will often hear.

I say “victim” in inverted commas as I detest the word. I have made the point several times, that we are survivors. Inspired by a video posted on YouTube by an emotional abuse sufferer, I have created my own list of what an abuser’s prey can often be subjected to. Many of these were thrown at me on a daily basis. One on their own does not seem so bad but for many people, they are constantly tormented and cannot escape this abuse. Sarcasm, questioning and indifference play a huge part in verbal and mental abuse.

  • I am worth a million of you
  • Remind me why you were born?
  • You are disgusting
  • I can’t believe my child is a moron
  • What did I do to deserve you?
  • My life used to be good
  • I should have stopped having children after your sister
  • What’s wrong with your face?
  • Be very careful
  • I’m watching you
  • You will never change
  • Idiot!
  • Here come the tears (!)
  • Grow up
  • You really are a pathetic creature
  • Why has God punished me?
  • I say this out of love
  • Why do you always hurt me?
  • Your words are like poison
  • You break everything you touch
  • No one likes you
  • What man would want to marry you!
  • I do not owe you any apologies
  • You brought it all on yourself
  • There used to be a nice person inside you
  • You want me to get angry don’t you
  • I’m your father, I don’t have to respect you
  • I am the authority
  • You are going to drive your future husband to violence – and who can blame him?
  • You embarrass me
  • I’m ashamed to call you my child
  • People are staring at you
  • When I die, you’ll get nothing
  • This isn’t your house; it’s mine
  • Everything you own is mine
  • What are you moaning about now?
  • All you ever do is lie
  • You dare to push me
  • Are you challenging me?
  • Pig!
  • You are always ill!
  • What is wrong with you?
  • I do not deserve this life
  • If I catch you even looking at me………….
  • You will be the reason I die early, probably from a heart attack
  • Are you throwing all that food away?
  • Get out
  • You only ever think about yourself
  • You are evil
  • GET OUT OF MY HOUSE
  • You are just like your mother
  • I am really going to lose my temper
  • It’s your fault I’m angry
  • Where is my apology?
  • Well?
  • Are you stupid?
  • Move
  • Where have you been?
  • Why are you crying, are you a baby?
  • You are a failure
  • Are you trying to kill me?!
  • Even your voice irritates me
  • Think before you speak
  • I’ll never hit you. You’d love that.
  • What is your problem?
  • Imbecile!
  • Even your friends hate you

Of course this list is endless. I could write a thousand more.

Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau