With respiratory illnesses—from asthma to chronic bronchitis—on the rise, and resistance to antibiotics and other medications becoming common place, it is time to think outside the traditional treatment box. Medicine treats the lungs directly, but I believe that the inability to inflate our lungs to full capacity may be adding to our problems.
Today, more than ever, people’s rib cages spend most of the day in a “recoiled”, compressed condition. We sit too much (in a slumped position), we stand in a “chest wall-depressed” sort of way, and to add insult to injury, our lung-containers become extra squished when we decide to curl up into a crescent moon posture (head down, shoulders hunched, spine rounded) while we text—a real problem for our teens!
Try this exercise—slump forward in sitting, exaggerating poor posture. Now take in a deep breath…Oh, you can’t, can you? Now sit up tall, shoulders back, and try again. Much better, huh? Your lungs were created to expand and contract with ease. If they, being soft tissue, must fight against your bony rib cage, guess who wins? Right, it’s not your lungs!
If you’ve ever watched an accordion being played, the musician must draw the two ends of the instrument apart so air can fill the central chamber. This way the accordion is enabled to fully “exhale” its music. Likewise, you and I must be able to regularly fill our lungs to capacity in order to make sure they remain pliable and expandable, and therefore “fill-able”. Upright posture will improve air circulation, oxygen intake, mobility of the lungs against the inside of the rib cage, and will improve the effectiveness of our cough, which enables us to clear our lungs of unwanted junk.
So if you suffer with chronic lung problems, or you just feel as if someone is standing on your oxygen tube sometimes, try sitting and standing more erect and practice breathing more deeply (into your belly). It just may keep the pulmonologist away!