Cold season has arrived. Of course, taking preventative measures is always essential. But if this is one of those seasons when sickness gets past you, here are some things you can do.
This article is about calming annoying persistent coughs. You know, the type that exhausts your lungs and fatigues the muscles in your head and chest to the point they feel tight.
Preparation for dealing with coughs
Before we get into what to do, make sure you are prepared. Here’s what you will need.
- A warm shower
- Peppermint soap (like Dr. Bronner’s) or an essential oil
To Reduce Persistent Coughs
To help reduce a persistent cough from a cold or mild upper respiratory infection, take a warm shower. Make the water warm enough to create steam in the bathroom. If you have your own sauna, bonus. However, I would not advise doing this in a public sauna room. You want to be respectful to other people and not risk passing on your cold.
During your shower, take the peppermint-scented castle soap or add peppermint essential oil to a non-scented soap. Lather it up well and cup your hands over your nose. Take a few slow deep breaths. As you breathe in, really open your airways in the back of your sinuses. Fill your lungs from the bottom to the top.
When you exhale, uncover your nose and relax. If you get dizzy at any point in this, please stop. You can also do this in a warm bath.
Incorporate an easy pranayama like Dirga or Uji. Pranayama strengthens your lungs. Using peppermint helps to calm agitated lungs and open the airways that may be blocked by phlegm.
Upper Chest Massage
Start under your collarbone (clavicle) from the center of your chest –see img.002. Use all four fingers of the opposite hand –see img.001 (opposite from the side you are working on). Keep your fingers close and side by side. With comfortable pressure, slide your fingers to the side toward your shoulder. You can use the soap to make this glide easier. Do five slow glides, one on each side.
Stimulate your Immune System
Bring all four of your fingers and your thumb together – see img.003. With a relaxed wrist, lightly thump your sternum – see img.004. Aim a couple of inches down from the collar bones and in the center of your sternum.
Do not do this too hard or aggressively. Find comfortable thump pressures. Complete at least 20 light beats. Deepen your breath as you do it.
Do not do this too hard or aggressively. Only enough to where it is comfortable. Do 20 light beats. Deepen your breath as you do it.
This gesture is an ideal way to calm your coughs. There is a good chance that the coughs will not go away instantly. However, doing this routine will strengthen your lungs and immune system to better fight off what is causing the coughs. To further support your immune system, fortify with vitamin C, ginger, raw honey, bone broth, and plenty of water.
When to see your Doctor
Of course, if you suspect that you have a severe condition like bronchitis, pneumonia, the flu, or COVID-19, contact your doctor right away. If you have a temperature of 103 F (39.4 C) or higher, get medical care right away.
It is also time to see your doctor if you have yellowish-green phlegm, wheezing, shortness of breath, or a cough lasting more than 18 days. Get the right care for severe conditions sooner than later.
Update: for coughing due to COVID-19, please refer to the CDC.org website for updated information. If you have been tested positive for COVID and you are not in a critical situation, read our article Personal COVID-19 Experience to find out how we used integrative technique to support during the illness.
If this has been your experience and you tried this sequence, let us know your results.