Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects your ability to breathe clearly and live out your daily life. As the disease advances, it causes loss of energy and can lead to more severe health problems, such as respiratory failure or heart failure.
The disease is not curable, but thanks to modern treatments, including holistic COPD treatments, COPD patients can experience better breathing and a better quality of life.
Many conventional COPD treatments, like bronchodilators or steroids, are effective at managing the symptoms of COPD but come with a host of undesirable side-effects, including weight gain or bruising easily.
For this reason, many COPD patients are turning to more holistic treatment options that focus on empowering your body and mind to fight lung disease.
If you have COPD and are looking for alternative treatments to supplement your treatment, you should check out these five holistic COPD treatments that can benefit you:
1. Natural Supplements
Many natural supplements exist that can help improve health in all areas of your body, including your lungs. The following natural supplements are packed with vitamins and nutrients that help your body fight lung disease and strengthen your lungs:
- Vitamin D – is most commonly associated with the sun but can be found naturally in other sources as well. It has been shown to improve pulmonary function scores.
- Bromelain – is naturally found in pineapple juice. It can help reduce the inflammation in your lungs caused by COPD.
- NAC – Short for N-Acetylcysteine, this supplement helps fight inflammation and reduce the severity of symptoms associated with COPD.
2. Natural Remedies
Natural remedies refer to substances like herbs and roots that can help your body heal. Many of these natural remedies can be used to help treat lung disease as well as well. Always talk to your doctor before adding any remedies to your treatment.
The following natural remedies are known to help improve your lung health:
- Lungwort – can be used to reduce the irritation in your lungs associated with COPD.
- Lobelia – This remedy helps promote the production of epinephrine which helps relax the airways to help you breathe more clearly.
- Oregano – This herb helps your body with coughing and clearing up the nasal passage.
- Osha root – This remedy helps relieve congestion.
- Eucalyptus – helps boost the immune system.
- Elecampane – This remedy can help relieve coughing.
- Orange peel – is known to help the body fight congestion.
- Chaparral – This remedy helps shield your body from harmful bacteria that can make your lung disease symptoms grow worse.
- Ginger – is known to help improve your lungs’ ability to circulate air and fight congestion.
- Rosemary – is packed with vitamins that help improve your blood flow.
Acupuncture is an eastern treatment that helps relax muscles in your body. This procedure can be used to help improve your lung health. Acupuncture raises a few eyebrows in the west, but its effects are proven.
One study in Japan split COPD patients into two groups. One group received real acupuncture while the other received a placebo form of acupuncture. The results showed that patients in the group that received real acupuncture were able to breathe better than those in the other group.
4. Diet and exercise
Good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle go a long way toward improving your lung health. COPD patients should maintain a diet that is high in protein and fiber and other helpful nutrients to help improve lung function and overall health.
Exercising can help improve the strength and functionality of your lungs. Even a 30-minute walk can help increase your pulmonary function. Try other exercises too, such as yoga, that require little physical effort but yield great health results.
5. Quit smoking
Last but not least, the most important holistic treatment for COPD patients is to quit smoking. Smoking is the leading cause of COPD and can continue to make the condition grow worse at a rapid rate if you persist.
In very mild cases of COPD, smoking may be the only form of treatment necessary to experience a better quality of life.
Christine Kingsley, APRN is the Health and Wellness Director at the Lung Institute where she focuses on providing helpful online resources for people looking for information on various lung diseases, breathing exercises, and healthy lifestyle choices. She advocates for holistic care that involves working with your doctor to explore all options including traditional and alternative care while focusing on diet and exercise as proactive measures.