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Here are 7 effective ways to clear your lungs and breathe better

Techniques to clean the lungs can be beneficial for smokers, people regularly exposed to air pollution, and those with chronic conditions that affect the airways. Such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis.

Breathing in air pollution, cigarette smoke, and other toxins can damage the lungs and even cause health problems. Maintaining lung health is important to keep the rest of the body healthy. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), exposure to air pollution causes 4.2 million deaths worldwide each year.

Here are some methods to try to clear your lungs.

Can you clean the lungs?

Lung health is vital to a person’s overall health. The lungs are self-cleaning organs that begin to heal themselves once they are no longer exposed to pollutants. For example quitting smoking.

After the lungs are exposed to pollutants like cigarette smoke, the chest can feel full, congested, or inflamed. Mucus builds up in the lungs to trap germs and pathogens, contributing to that heavy feeling. There are special techniques to clear the lungs of mucus and irritants to relieve chest congestion and other uncomfortable symptoms. Some of these methods can also open the airways, improve lung capacity, and reduce inflammation. This can help reduce the effects of pollution and smoke on the lungs.

Here are breathing exercises and lifestyle changes that can help clear excess mucus from the lungs and improve breathing.

1. Steam therapy

With steam therapy, or steam inhalation, water vapor is inhaled to open the airways and help the lungs clear mucus. In people with lung disease, cold or dry air can make their symptoms worse. This climate can dry out the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract and restrict blood circulation.

Conversely, steam adds heat and moisture to the air. This can improve breathing and help loosen mucus in the airways and lungs. Inhaling water vapor can provide instant relief and help people breathe easier.

A small study of 16 men with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung condition that makes breathing difficult, found that steam mask therapy resulted in significantly lower heart rates and respiratory rates than steam mask therapy.

This therapy can be an effective one-off and temporary solution.

2. Controlled cough

A controlled cough can help push mucus out of the airways. Coughing is the body’s natural way of expelling toxins that it has trapped in mucus. Controlled coughing loosens excess mucus in the lungs and moves it up into the airways.

Doctors recommend that people with COPD do this exercise to clear their lungs.

Here are the following steps to clear your lungs of excess mucus:

Sit in a chair with your shoulders relaxed and both feet flat on the floor
Cross your arms over your stomach
breathe in slowly through your nose
exhale slowly while leaning forward and pressing your arms against your stomach
Cough 2 or 3 times on the exhale, keeping your mouth slightly open
breathe in slowly through your nose
rest and repeat if necessary

3. Drainage of mucus from the lungs

Postural drainage involves lying in various positions to use gravity to remove mucus from the lungs. This practice can improve breathing and help treat or prevent lung infections.

Postural drainage techniques differ by position:

1. On the back

Lie on the floor or on a bed.
Place pillows under hips so chest is lower than hips.
Breathe in slowly through your nose and out through your mouth. Each exhalation should take twice as long as the inhalation, which is called a 1:2 breath.
Continue for a few minutes.

2. Side

Lie on your side and rest your head on an arm or a pillow.
Place pillows under your hips.
Practice the 1:2 breathing pattern.
Continue for a few minutes.
Repeat on the other side.

3. On the stomach

Place a stack of pillows on the floor.
Lie on your stomach on the pillows. Remember to keep your hips over your chest.
Bend your arms under your head for support.
Practice the 1:2 breathing pattern.
Continue for a few minutes.

4th exercise

Regular physical exercise can improve people’s physical and mental health. It reduces the risk of many health problems, including stroke and heart disease. Exercise forces the muscles to work harder. This increases the body’s breathing rate and thus the oxygen supply to the muscles. It also improves blood circulation. This allows the body to more efficiently eliminate the excess carbon dioxide it produces during exercise. The body begins to adapt to the demands of regular exercise. Muscles will learn to use oxygen more efficiently and produce less carbon dioxide.

Although exercise is more difficult for people with chronic lung disease, these people can still benefit from regular exercise. People with COPD, cystic fibrosis, or asthma should consult a doctor before beginning any new exercise program.

5. Green tea to cleanse the lungs

Green tea is high in antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation in the lungs. These compounds may even protect lung tissue from the harmful effects of smoke inhalation. A recent study of more than 1,000 adults in Korea showed that people who drank at least 2 cups of green tea a day had better lung function than those who didn’t.

6. Anti-inflammatory foods

Inflammation of the airways can make breathing difficult and cause a feeling of heaviness and congestion in the chest. Eating anti-inflammatory foods can reduce inflammation to help relieve these symptoms.

Foods that help fight inflammation include:

Leafy vegetables

7. Percussion on the chest

Percussion is another effective way to clear excess mucus from the lungs. A health care professional or physical therapist will rhythmically tap the chest wall with a cupped hand to loosen trapped mucus from the lungs.

The combination of chest percussion and postural drainage can help clear the airways of excess mucus.

Cleanse the lungs naturally

Toxins from cigarette smoke or air pollution that get into the lungs can affect the whole body. These toxins end up in the mucus. Good respiratory health depends on how efficiently the body clears mucus from the lungs and airways.

Lung cleansing techniques, including postural drainage, chest taps, and breathing exercises, can help clear mucus from the lungs and airways. Steam therapy can provide temporary relief for people suffering from constipation or chronic respiratory problems. Regular exercise, drinking green tea, and eating anti-inflammatory foods are lifestyle changes that can improve lung health and reduce disease risk.


air pollution. (nd).

Cough: Controlled cough: management and treatment. (2017).

Kawagoshi, A., et al. (2018). The effects of heated steam inhalation on patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: A controlled cross-sectional study.

Oh, C.-M., et al. (2018). Green tea consumption at least twice a day is associated with a reduced likelihood of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in middle-aged and older Korean adults.

your lungs and movement. (2016).

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.

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