Lately, I have been waking up feeling like my lungs are tight. I think I have a mold allergy. It could also be the bleach that I am exposed to at work, other chemicals, the heat—It’s been cooler lately, and I’ve been running electric heaters.—whatever’s going around (there is a sickness going around, at least one, might be more), or who-knows-what-else. Whatever the reason, it’s uncomfortable. I was late to work yesterday morning because of it. One evening, after spending a couple hours bleaching a certain bathroom (no, not my own), my lungs felt tight and there was sharp pain in my chest and throat. Breathing was difficult. I talked to my supervisor about it, and she told me to try hot and cold therapy.
I have had fomentations before. Foamentations is hot and cold therapy involving a cloth dipped in steaming hot water and a cloth dipped in ice water, alternatively placed on the troublesome area (in my case, the chest). They seemed to bring some relief, but did not really work for me as much as I needed (although I appreciate the caring friends who applied the treatment, in hopes and faith that I would get better).
I don’t have a stop watch, and, at least in one case when the foamentations were applied, my friend was running to and from the microwave. The microwave is across the hall in the guest rooms’ living room.
However, the water has been fixed and the shower works wonderfully now, with great pressure and steaming hot water. I don’t like full hot and cold showers, and have a poor concept of time. But, in that case, I really needed relief. So, I decided to try it. It worked again yesterday morning to get me breathing comfortably enough to go to work.
Here’s how it’s done…It’s easiest with a shower that has one handle that you can turn to adjust the temperature, but any shower should work, so long as you have hot and cold water, and it changes quickly.
I’m a Christian, and I recommend asking the Lord to bless the treatment and bring healing and comfort before starting. However, I will not force this step on non-Christians. I’m actually not forcing any of the steps. But, God is the great healer (seriously, read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, though you can find healing throughout the Bible, both old testament and new).
Now, I recommend spreading vapor rub on your chest (and perhaps your feet) and letting it soak in for about ten minutes.
Now, are you ready? Turn on the shower water to warm. Especially if your shower takes a minute or two to warm up, this is a good time to undress and tie your hair back. A shower cap should also help.
Step into the shower. Aim the warm water at your chest, or try to put your chest under the water (if your shower head is not adjustable, as mine is not very adjustable).
Tilt your head back. Keep your head tilted back as much as possible.
You may also want to keep your arms at your sides, and bend your elbow so that your forearms (the part of your arm from the elbow to the wrist) are up and clench and unclench your fists during the treatment.
Turn the water to as hot as you can stand it.
Okay, so, as the water is pouring over your chest, both cold and hot, breathe as deeply as you possibly can, in and out, slowly. Try to relax.
Now, if you’re not a Christian, you may have a problem with this. To get the right timing, I sing two or three verses of Amazing grace (in my head) while my chest is under the hot water. I don’t recommend singing aloud, as it may interfere with your deep breathing and is incredibly difficult under the cold water.
After the second or third verse (decide how many as you are under the hot water the first time) turn the water to cold, as cold as it will go. This shock will probably cause you to gasp for breath. That’s good. See? You’re breathing already.
In your head, sing one verse of amazing grace, slowing down a little (if possible, but do not sing faster), plus take a couple deep breaths (or gasps of air) at the end.
Turn the water back to hot, as hot as you can stand it. You may need to adjust it occasionally or frequently.
Continue alternating between hot and cold, with two or three verses of Amazing grace going through in your head for hot, and one for cold. Continue this process for 10-20 minutes, ending on cold.
You may pull your chest out from under the water and warm up your legs under the warm water, but your chest should still be cool.
If you get the urge to cough, cough. You’re in the shower and there should be a drain underneath you, so if stuff is coming up from your lungs, spit it out. If you see blood, you should see a doctor. The blood should not be a result from the treatment, but may be a sign that you have a serious problem.
If you do have a serious lung problem, that you know of, this is not a cure, though it may bring relief. You should also seek medical attention and/or other treatments.
This does clear the bleach fumes from my lungs though, and helps to get me breathing again after whatever it is that causes me to wake up feeling like my lungs are tight.
If you do not know amazing grace, here’s one version of the song. I recommend more traditional versions that sing it slowly and evenly, so that your timing will be correct. If you only know one verse, you can repeat that verse over and over again. You can also look up the lyrics (some versions have more lyrics than others).
Or, you can also compare the timing of the lyrics to other songs that you know, or figure out how much to set your stop watch for, if you have one. If you have someone to watch the time for you, that will also help. I don’t recommend a stop watch if you need to keep setting it, because there is supposed to be a sudden change of temperature, which may not happen if you have to keep stepping out of the water, or pausing to set the watch.
I hope this helps. I know it’s helped me, and even though I was breathing much better this morning, I took some time to do this again, just in case.
Praise God for healing. Praise God. I may need this again tomorrow evening. It’s also good to do this in the evening or when you can take a nap, and to go to bed shortly after to rest, especially if you are actually sick.
Ah, and keep those feet warm when you’re done. I recommend soaking your feet in hot water with some bath salts…But, we’ll save that for another post.