I don’t know about you, but this season I was hit by a whopping case of bronchitis. It’s happened to quite a few people and it was a wicked strain this year. It made me think about these little tubes that hold our lives so dear.
When was the last time that you noticed the twelve to twenty times per minute, each and every day (and night), you breathe — thanks to your body’s respiratory system.
Oxygen is a vital fuel that goes to every cell in your body. And, your cells needs oxygen supplied regularly each and every minute. In fact if a cell doesn’t get oxygen within about 4 minutes, well… it’s a dead cell.
Your lungs expand and contract, supplying life-sustaining oxygen to your body and removing a waste product called carbon dioxide.
When a person breathes, air comes in through the nose or mouth and then goes into the trachea (windpipe). From there, it passes through the bronchial tubes. These tubes or airways, let air in and out of your lungs, so that you can breathe. There are 2 – one going into each lung.
Bronchial tubes, or bronchi are divided at the end of the windpipe (trachea) to left and right. These main bronchi then branch into progressively smaller airways (bronchioli) ending in microscopic numerous sacks (alveoli). Oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged between air and blood through thin alveoli.
Bronchial tubes are one of the main sites for airway inflammation that leads to bronchoconstriction.
Anatomy of Bronchial tubes
The trachea (windpipe) divides into two main bronchi (also mainstem bronchi), the left and the right, at the level of the sternal angle.
The right main bronchus is wider, shorter, and more vertical than the left main bronchus.
The left main bronchus subdivides into two lobar bronchi while the right main bronchus divides into three.
The lobar bronchi divide into tertiary bronchi. There are ten segments per lung, (but due to anatomic development, several segmental bronchi in the left lung fuse, giving rise to eight).
The segmental bronchi divide into many primary bronchioles which divide into terminal bronchioles, each of which then gives rise to several respiratory bronchioles, which go on to divide into 2 to 11 alveolar ducts. There are 5 or 6 alveolar sacs associated with each alveolar duct
There is hyaline cartilage present in the bronchi, present as irregular rings in the larger bronchi (and not as regular as in the trachea), and as small plates and islands in the smaller bronchi. Smooth muscle is present continuously around the bronchi.
Okay, I’m sure that by now you understand that there are many, many branches of bronchi.
The Role in Disease
Bronchitis is defined as inflammation of the bronchi. There are two main types:
- Acute bronchitis is usually caused by viral or bacterial infections.
Acute bronchitis is an infection of the bronchia tree. The bronchial tree is made up of the tubes that carry air into your lungs. When these tubes get infected, they swell and mucus (thick fluid) forms inside them. This makes it hard for you to breathe.
The symptoms of acute bronchitis can include:
- Sore throat
- A cough that may bring up yellow or green mucus
- Chest congestion
- Shortness of breath
- Body aches
- Chronic bronchitis is a form of COPD, usually associated with smoking or long-term exposure to irritants.
Asthma is hyper reactivity of the bronchi with an inflammatory component, often in response to allergens.
What can Reflexology Do?
I think you can easily tell that it’s important to keep your lungs and bronchi in good working order. In fact, your life depends on it.
If you or anyone you know think they have a problem there – asthma or bronchitis, etc. – it’s very important to get the appropriate medical attention.
As with any illness, stress is always a factor. Rest is important and the stress relief that reflexology brings is a wonderful component to any health maintenance regime.
So where are the bronchial reflexes?
The bronchi have a very specific reflex location – bilateral – found on the plantar aspect of the foot between the first and second metatarsal heads.
And, since they’re part of the respiratory reflex system they are well suited to working in a detailed way.
You might have noticed on some people’s feet, there are thin calluses on just that thin space between metatarsal heads one and two.
Of course, you’ll want to detail the reflexes for the whole respiratory system.
Another set of reflexes you’ll likely want to detail is the immune system reflexes.
And, don’t forget the lung – large intestine connection too.
Common Home Remedies for Bronchial Health
- It’s thought that Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 are very important nutrients to helping to decrease the inflammation in the lungs.
- Many say that Vitamin C helps the body to fight infection, increase the amount of oxygen and reduce inflammation.
- Some would tell you to eat salmon 3 times a week and take salmon oil capsules.
- Careful with this but drinks with caffeine may dilate the bronchial airways.
- Honey is one of the most common home remedies for soothing the throat and chest.
- Among fruits, figs have proved very valuable in draining off the phlegm. Common wisdom says that three or four dry figs cleaned thoroughly with warm water and soaked overnight.
- Lemon is another fruit thought to be beneficial in the treatment of asthma. The juice of one lemon, diluted in a glass of water and taken with meals, might help bring some good results.
As always, there’s so much more I’d like to share with you. I’ll be adding more great reflexology information in future newsletters.