Every year, World Lung Cancer Day is observed on the 1st of August. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, there were 2.2 million cases of lung cancer in 2020. In circumstances like these, it is important to protect yourself using appropriate practices. Let us understand one such practice: lung cleansing.
According to Dr Sudheer Rai, MBBS, FEM, RCGP, emergency medicine (UK), a “lung detox” is a course of treatment or item designed to help repair lung damage. “Lung washes are occasionally also used to enhance breathing and lessen symptoms like coughing,” he explained.
Dr Rahul Kendre, lung transplant physician and interventional pulmonologist, DPU Private Super Specialty Hospital, Pimpri, Pune, said this process can help eliminate toxins or harmful substances from the lungs or respiratory system. “However, it’s important to note that the human body has natural detoxification mechanisms, and the lungs play a significant role in filtering and clearing out airborne pollutants and particles,” he added.
Dr Rai explained that lung cleansing or detoxing is especially helpful for those “who smoke cigarettes, marijuana, or use vaporizers” and “those who are exposed to irritants, chemicals, and gases including chlorine, phosgene, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and ammonia that can damage the lungs.”
It can also help those who suffer from respiratory illnesses such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, allergies, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or interstitial lung disease (an umbrella term for a vast set of illnesses that result in scarring or fibrosis of the lungs).
However, it is essential to remember that lung cleansing practices should complement standard medical care and not replace it, Dr Kendre warned, since there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that lung detoxification can protect against lung cancer.
While there are no specific techniques or products that can directly “detox” the lungs, adopting a healthy lifestyle can support lung health, according to Dr Kendre.
Dr Rai emphasised the positive aspects of lung cleansing as it “enhances your lung health without using medications or concoctions. Lungs are self-cleaning organs that will start to repair once they are not exposed to pollution anymore.”
Here are some pointers to remember for the best lung health.
Dr Rai advised that the best method to keep your lungs healthy is to stay away from dangerous chemicals like cigarette smoke and air pollution.
“Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to lessen and restore lung damage. It does not matter if you have smoked for three days or 30 years; the first step to healthier lungs is to stop,” said Dr Kendre.
Indulge in regular exercise
Regular exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, even if you have a chronic lung disease, according to Dr Rai.
“The appropriate amount of exercise can help your lungs recover naturally and healthily, among other things,” he said, adding that before you alter your fitness regimen, make sure to see your doctor.
Take a healthy diet
Changing your diet can also benefit the health of your lungs, especially if you have a chronic illness, as per Dr Rai. “Your mind and body will stay healthy if you include foods high in antioxidants in your diet, along with a variety of vitamins and nutrients,” he said.
Be mindful of the air you breathe
Our lung health is significantly influenced by the air we breathe. It is critical to be aware of dangerous contaminants and, if possible, avoid them if you want to maintain the health of your lungs. “Higher AQI values indicate more air pollution and greater concern for public health and welfare,” Dr Kendre said.
He added that it is critical to maintain clean indoor air quality. “Invest in a good hoover and use it often. Use fragrance-free, natural cleaning products,” he said.
Lung cleansing techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, may have some benefits for respiratory health. However, it is essential to be cautious and consult a healthcare professional before attempting any new health practices. They can assess your individual health situation and advise you on potential risks and benefits. Safety is always a priority when trying new health treatments or therapies.