I love this time of year when there are glimpses of spring days mixed in with the last of winter. The days are getting longer, and the birds are back in their nest on the ledge outside my treatment room.
This time of year although does prompt a resurgence in pollen allergies and the change of season sniffles. What I find really helps to keep a clear nose is conscious nasal hygiene. My neti pot gets more of a workout if I was to wake with a bit of a sinusey congestion. A recent purchase of an electronic steam inhaler is also proving a good way to boost my nose’s immune system; Vicks has an awesome one where you can use cotton pads of eucalyptus oil to mix in with the steam.
Nose immune system? Let me take you through the wonders of your nose!
What you see of your nose is just 30% of what makes up your entire nose. The hidden 70% (nasal cavity) is a work of art of rabbit warren like tunnels called turbinates. Your turbinates are lined with lymphoid tissue, which is where your ready to jump into action immune cells are. Why does the air you breath in travel through these tunnels before getting to your windpipe and lungs? Well for many reasons, here are just a couple:
The turbinates allow for the air that is breathed in to be filtered. The lymphoid tissues will catch particles such as pollens, bacteria, viruses, mold, air pollution, etc. This greatly reduces the risk of these particles making their way into your lungs and upsetting your respiratory health.
Fun fact: histamine production (allergy response) is increased with fast or big breathing.
- Your nose warms the air you breath in, so your lungs aren’t shocked with cold air. This extra moisture in your airways helps to keep inflammation and irritation of the airway walls at bay.
Nitric oxide (NO) is produced in your paranasal sinuses and on inhalation is delivered to your bronchi. NO sterilises the air and helps to dilate your bronchi.
Fun fact: humming (with mouth closed) increases NO production by 15x! Small breath holds, a Buteyko Breathing exercise, also accelerates the production of NO.
Have a look at these pictures. See the size difference between your nasal cavity and your mouth? (The tongue occupies a lot of space.) Your mouth is not a great tool to use for breathing. For one, it is not able to warm up air and it does not stimulate NO production. Your tonsils will catch some of the foreign particles that you mouth breath in, but your nose is so much better geared at immune defence.
In addition, proper diaphragmatic nose breathing prompts the calming rest and digest parasympathetic nervous system response.
As most of you know I love my training courses. The 3 that I had scheduled for this 2nd half of the year have been postponed to next year ☹. As this is the case it has freed some time up, and thankfully for online training capabilities, next month I’m super excited to be starting further training in Breathing Re-education. This time it will be with BradCliff, a NZ based Breathing Institute. I am looking forward to being able to incorporate new breathing exercises from a physiotherapy perspective.
Covid 19 Safety:
In the hopefully unlikely event that NSW follows VIC lockdown stages: If we do get to a stage where I will need to close the clinic for face-to-face consults, this will be reflective in the online booking system. I will block out the in-clinic booking options. What will remain available for booking are the 2 video conference options of Online Breathing Therapy and Online Self-treatment Exercises, and Remote Healing.
I have thoroughly enjoyed introducing the Remote Healing modality, the feedback has been amazing! This one is here to stay for those times that making it into the clinic isn’t on your side.
The clinic’s waiting area is still set up with the appropriate distancing and with hand sanitiser available for all to use. In my treatment room I do have disposable sheets for the treatment table, and I have gloves and a face mask. Plus, I am continuously practicing my diaphragmatic nose breathing exercises for increased health and immunity 😊.
Much love to you all and please get outside in the sunshine as much possible for your mental and body health!