The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Remember a time when you were a kid, sick with a cold and your grandmother made you drink a cup of special, home-made herbal tea? Did the warm beverage make you feel better? For ages, people have looked to herbal remedies to provide effective treatment for many health conditions. Yet, it’s only in recent years that mainstream medicine has begun to fully examine and realize this possible method of treatment.
If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), then chances are you are familiar with the different medical treatments available for combating the symptoms of COPD. This powerful disease is the third leading cause of death in the United States and it is estimated that 12 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD. With so many medical treatments available to patients, are there any alternative COPD treatments, and do they work?
Types of Alternative COPD Treatments
Unfortunately, there is no cure for this lung disease, but alternative COPD treatments may help to relieve the symptoms of this condition and enhance your overall quality of life. Alternative COPD treatments can be used in conjunction with standard treatments. However, they have not been proven to be effective in scientific studies, and you should always consult your doctor before trying any of these options to avoid complications or potential drug interactions.
According to Healthline, these are some of the most common alternative COPD treatments:
Herbs and Supplements
A number of over-the-counter herbs, dietary supplements, and even foods and beverages may be able to help relieve symptoms of COPD. These can usually be taken in addition to your regular medical treatments, but you should consult your physician before taking any herbs or supplements.
- Omega-3 fatty acids can decrease inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in supplements or from food sources such as flaxseed, soybeans, canola oil, walnuts, and cold-water fatty fish.
- Vitamin D and E has been found to improve some lung function in patients.
- Antioxidants can help reduce stress and inflammation. Foods rich in antioxidants include red grapes, green tea, broccoli and tomatoes.
- Eucalyptus oil to your humidifier may help you breathe easier.
Mind and Body
There is some growing evidence that mind/body interactions can help relieve some symptoms of COPD and enhance the overall quality of life. It is estimated that 40 percent of people with COPD also experience depression and anxiety. The ongoing stress of living with a serious condition like COPD is enormous. Reducing negative thoughts, fears and overall stress should be included in your routine. For many COPD sufferers, relaxation techniques such as meditation, guided imagery and relaxation therapy can significantly ease symptoms.
Yoga and Breathing
A key aspect of yoga practice is proper, controlled breathing. Pranayama includes hundreds of deep-breathing exercises. This type of yoga can significantly help COPD sufferers by teaching them to expand their lungs thus promoting deep breathing and reducing stress. Adapting different yoga techniques could be beneficial.
This traditional Chinese medicine involves placing very thin needles in strategic point on the body. Some studies have shown that people with COPD found relief from some symptoms with the use of acupuncture. Acupressure is based on the same idea but uses pressure instead of needles. Similar results can be achieved.
Some additional alternative COPD treatments may include: eating healthy, quitting smoking, exercising, getting plenty of rest, getting vaccinated for the flu or trying different medical devices (i.e. lung flute and lung foam).
COPD is a life-threatening illness that can’t be cured, but it can be effectively treated. Early diagnosis and timely treatment are crucial to helping control symptoms of COPD. If you have questions about alternative COPD treatments, consult your doctor first. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with COPD, then contact us at the Lung Institute to learn more about stem cell therapy or call (800) 729-3065 today.