November is recognised as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Awareness Month. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, is a very common lung disease. Having COPD makes breathing difficult. There are two main forms of COPD. Chronic bronchitis, which involves a long-term cough with mucus caused by inflammation of the airways, and Emphysema, which involves damage to the air sacs in the lungs. Most people with COPD have a combination of both conditions. COPD is most commonly caused by smoking and usually affects middle-aged or older adults. Breathing problems tend to get gradually worse over time and can limit your normal activities. COPD cannot be cured, but treatment can help keep the condition under control and managed.
Alternative therapies can often aid in the management of COPD symptoms. Massage can be very beneficial to people living with COPD. Benefits of massage are immediate and will increase with regular treatments. Massage helps to increase blood flow, loosen up tight muscles and helps the body to move more freely. Massage encourages the natural drainage of the lymph which will allow the lungs to open up more fully, thus allowing you to breathe easier. As with everyone who gets a massage, it’s important to drink lots of water as this helps to flush toxins from the body. As the COPD progresses it gets more and more difficult to move around or do simple daily activities without running short of breath. At this point chair massage is very beneficial and easier than other types of massage as the client is seated so there is not the extra body weight on the chest cavity.
Aromatherapy is another alternative therapy that can help with COPD. Inhalation of essential oils has been known to help some people relieve their COPD symptoms. Certain essential oils that have healing properties that will assist with breathing are eucalyptus, lavender, frankincense, myrrh, peppermint, and rosemary, to name a few. Some companies, such as DoTERRA, also provide specific blends that support overall respiratory health.