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Kick Smoking's Butt! - by Jerry Ryan, Ph.D.

Since an earlier article’s topic was the importance of oxygen and ways to breathe deeply, I felt that it would be good to follow with some information on natural ways to help overcome another habit that directly affects your oxygen intake.  It’s time to take a look at ways to stop smoking.

Smoking drastically reduces our consumption of oxygen by introducing a wide range of pretty nasty chemicals in its place.  Carbon monoxide, cyanide and several other lethal agents are in cigarette smoke.  Inhaling those deadly vapors in each puff while you are smoking is like a long, slow gas chamber.  As a nation of sedentary people, we are already running an increased risk of respiratory problems due to our reduced ability to fully inflate our lungs through lack of exercise.  Is there any reason to add to that risk by purposely inhaling toxic gases?

Tar and nicotine are other factors in cigarette smoke that have serious detrimental effects on your overall health.  Nicotine has been called the most addictive drug on the planet, far worse than heroin.  It’s also been said that if cigarettes had to pass today’s FDA regulations that they would all be illegal and taken off the market as too hazardous to consumers.  Tar ends up accumulating on the tongue, in the mouth and in the throat.  It is then swallowed where it begins ‘gumming up’ the digestive system.

Smoking is also known to cause your blood vessels to constrict or get narrower in diameter.  Constricted blood vessels results in a reduced blood flow and a reduced oxygen supply to the cells. 

Several methods have been recommended to quit smoking.  Stepping down slowly is the most widely accepted program.  It allows you to slowly taper off the nicotine by using gum or patches.  It also avoids the harsh shock to the body that ‘cold turkey’ quitting can deliver.  The withdrawal symptoms are greatly reduced and many folks have had success with this slow program. 

Some herbal teas are helpful.  Herbs such as mullein, coltsfoot, plantain and marshmallow can have beneficial effects on the quality of breathing.  Elecampane and hyssop serve as good expectorants to help clear the mucus.  The two best herbs for respiratory stimulation are ma huang and lobelia.  However, as I have pointed out in previous articles, these herbs are not without concern.  Ma huang has a stimulant side effect to the heart and lobelia has some depressant side effects on the nervous system.  Do not attempt to use them without medical supervision.

Deep breathing techniques will aid your body in getting rid of the stored up junk in your lungs.  You may cough quite a bit at first but keep after it.  The benefits you’ll get from getting more oxygen in your system are worth clearing your lungs for. 

Acupuncture has also shown to be helpful in stopping smoking.  The sites used by the acupuncturist are located in the ear and help relieve withdrawal symptoms from addictive substances.

Drinking plenty of good, clean water helps flush out the toxins as they are dumped into your blood stream.  Aerobic exercise such as swimming or bicycling can aid in expanding and cleansing the lungs as well as building up the body.

If you would like more information on any topic discussed in this article or to suggest ideas for a future article, you can contact me through my website.

Jerry Ryan, Ph.D. is a Natural Health Coach who teaches individuals and group classes on the scientifically documented benefits of natural health techniques.  He is also an internationally published author and has been a guest speaker at such places as NIKE World Headquarters.  For more information, his website is http://www.JerryRyanPhD.com

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