India is home to 18 per cent of the world’s population and according to the recent Global Burden of Disease (GBD) survey, it has the highest incidence of both acute and chronic respiratory disorders.
Air pollution is one of the leading causes of severe respiratory ailments affecting people across age groups, including those who are healthy. The harmful effects of air pollution include (and are not limited to) :
Lung disease and respiratory problems: Conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Weakened immunity especially among children
Thankfully, following these simple ayurvedic tips can help improve your lung health considerably.
Nasya Karma: This therapy includes the installation of medicated drops through the nostrils which prevents allergies caused by air pollutants. It should be done daily under the supervision and must be taken in small doses during bedtime and post waking up in the morning. This helps in flushing out pollutants from the nasal cavity and prevents the pollutants from crossing the nasal pathway. Instilling drops of almond oil or cow’s ghee can also help.
Gandusha Karma/Oil pulling: Healthy humans may breathe through their nose, their mouth or both. The nose has a filtering mechanism in preventing pollutants from entering the body. But for the mouth breathers, oil pulling therapy provides the barrier to prevent the entry of pollutants through the mouth. The process involves placing medicated oil into the mouth for 10-15 minutes and then spitting it out. It cleans the harmful bacteria and strengthens the mucous lining of the mouth to fight various allergens present in the air.
Breathing exercises: Breathing techniques like pranayama, kapal bhati etc. can be of significant help in cleansing the airway and combating the ill effects of pollution.
Abhayanga/Massage: It helps in improving blood circulation and getting rid of toxins that have entered the bloodstream by various means like inhalation or skin. Regular Abhyanga with sesame oil or other medicated oils infused with herbs increase the body’s immunity and helps keep the person energised.
Swedana/Fomentation: This is a procedure to induce sweating. The sweating caused by boiling medicinal herbs helps to liquefy and melt the adherent doshas (toxins) and expel them in an efficient manner, thus removing pollutants from our body. Facial steam can also be taken by adding eucalyptus oil, basil oil, tea tree oil, and carom seeds to cleanse and strengthen the nasal barrier for pollutants.
Dhawana: Washing the skin and bathing with medicated water helps in flushing out the pollutants stuck to the skin and mucous membrane.
Diet and herbs: One must consume freshly prepared warm food. Ingredients like ginger and carom seeds can be included in the diet. Tulsi, Pippali, Triphala etc, can be consumed on a regular basis to strengthen the respiratory and immune system.
Remember to always consult your ayurvedic doctor before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.