606-215-4319 801 Master ST, STE 2, Corbin KY 40701
KENTUCKY HEALING ARTS LLC
Kentucky Healing Arts Corbin KY
by Rachael Noell LMT NCTMB
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a term for lung diseases that are long term and result in excessive mucus which obstructs breathing. The main diseases associated with COPD are Asthma Bronchitis, and Emphysema. Those suffering from COPD often experience shortness of breath, wheezing, tightness in the chest, and chronic cough.
Chronic Asthmatic Bronchitis results in inflammation and narrowing of the airways that lead into the lungs. This can cause wheezing, coughing, and increase mucus production that further blocks the narrowed airways.
Emphysema damages the alveoli or the tiny air sacs in your lungs. The alveoli are like tiny bunches of grapes, with emphysema the air sacs clusters become dysfunctional and this reduces the surface area available for the exchange of gases. (Oxygen and carbon dioxide) In addition the walls of the alveoli lose their elasticity, weaken, and may even collapse when you exhale. This can cause a tightening in the chest and shortness of breath because the muscles are working twice as hard to move air.
COPD suffers are also at risk for complications. The purpose for mucus is to humidify the air we breathe, lubricate the moving parts, and catch any particulates like dust. The respiratory tract is lined with Cilia (tiny finger like projections) that beat in the up and out direction. This is to keep the mucus moving and remove any particulates. With COPD the mucus becomes too much for the cilia to handle and when this happens the risk of respiratory infection is increased. Bacteria and virus thrive in warm, dark, and moist places. When the cilia become unable to move the mucus pathogens have the ideal breeding ground.
High Blood Pressure and Heart Problems are also concerns for those with COPD. The blood pressure can become higher in the right ventricle which brings bloods to the lungs. (Pulmonary hypertension) This pressure can strain the right ventricle of the heart. It may also cause swelling in the ankles and legs. This also poses the risk for congestive heart failure.
In addition to the physical problems COPD suffers face; this illness can also cause a great deal of mental and emotional stress such as depression, and anxiety.
Medications: Bronchodilators, Inhaled steroids, Antibiotics.
Traditional Therapies: Oxygen therapy, Pulmonary rehabilitation program.
Surgery: Lung volume reduction surgery, Lung transplant
Sources: Mayo Clinic
The effects and potential benefits of Therapeutic Massage as a complimentary treatment for COPD can be many. At Kentucky Healing Arts we incorporate a holistic approach that gives us a wider and more in-depth view into the life of those suffering from COPD. In addition to understanding the medical science of the disease, we can also empathize with those dealing with it uniquely, by seeing the individual as a whole. COPD can be challenging on the mind and spirit as well as the physical body.
While traditional medicine states the sufferer has difficulty breathing & shortness of breath. We understand the individual with COPD frequently feels like they are smothering or drowning due to excessive mucus. Massage cannot stop the excessive production of mucus. However, techniques can be applied to break-up & loosen the accumulated mucus from the chest so it can be expelled. In addition massage promotes relaxation. This triggers a response in the nervous system that can assist in opening the airways.
We also understand the tightness in the chest and shortness of breath can also result in chronic pain felt in the neck, shoulders, chest, abdomen, back, and even the legs. These areas all contain breathing muscles that become imbalanced due to the chronic coughing. When these muscles become shortened the chest becomes locked down and the lung volume becomes compromised. Therapeutic Massage can help to restore this balance enabling a greater lung capacity. It will also help to relieve the pain.
The effect of massage on the nervous system holds great benefit. This effect is known as the parasympathetic state. When this happens, the restorative response (self healing) kicks in. Blood pressure and heart rate lower, anxiety and stress are reduced, and the function of the organs is improved. In addition massage is helpful in treating depression, and it is well known for its benefit on the immune system.
Conclusively, touch therapy offers options for those dealing with COPD. Massage can improve the quality of life, create a greater sense of wellness, and make living with COPD more manageable.
It is always advised to consult with your Doctor before making any changes in your current treatment plan.