Cure A Lingering Cough: A Methodical, Multifaceted, Natural Approach
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A few years ago, I successfully recovered from a one-year bout of moderate depression. I thought my health was back to normal, but I then developed a follow up problem. I found myself coughing for several minutes at a time, several times a day. The cough was deep and wet with a lingering wheeze. At first I attributed it to a cold, but it continued on for several months and got worse over time. Eventually, my co-workers, family and friends began bringing it to my attention. My immediate gut reaction was to reply “it’s due to stress,” but I couldn’t quite explain the connection. After several months of coughing daily, I realized the cough wasn’t going away on its own. I decided to get to the root cause. I opted to take a natural/holistic approach since my instinct was telling me that there was an underlying emotional component that medicines alone couldn’t address. After a year of diligent work, I can now happily report that I’m completely cured of my lingering cough!
Finding A Complete Cure
My approach to curing my cough was to treat it is as a symptom of a deeper disturbance in my entire mind/body system. I decided to find possible theories to explain why a cough could be occurring, then try any and all remedies (dietary changes, exercises, spiritual practices, etc.,) associated with it. This process included:
- Doing extensive amounts of research by reading countless articles and even entire books to find theories and remedies
- Learning remedies, incorporating them into my daily or weekly routine and evaluating their effectiveness
- Finding well-reputed local specialists, meeting with them regularly and implementing their remedies
The key was to keep implementing new remedies while continuing the existing ones. This required persistence, patience, discipline and motivation. Quitting along the way was often tempting, but understanding the issue completely and ridding myself of the problem always won out.
The complete cure to my cough consisted of the following components:
1. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
I’ve always been passionate about maintaining physical and emotional health, so I kept my existing habits. For physical health, this included a plant-based diet consisting of whole, high quality unprocessed foods with a proper protein/carbohydrate balance, anti-inflammatory foods, probiotics, etc. In addition to diet, I continued doing regular exercise and keeping a routine daily schedule with an adequate amount of sleep.
For mental/spiritual health, I maintained a daily de-stressing practice after work consisting of meditation and yoga. I spend several hours a week maintaining my home to create a clean and positive environment. In addition, I consciously resolved to conduct myself correctly and maintain the highest level of happiness by finding pleasure in my work, spending time with close friends and family, taking on meaningful projects, going to interesting events and activities, etc.
2. Making dietary changes.
I found several articles proposing that excess phlegm could be caused by consuming dairy. I cut out as much dairy from my diet as possible and saw an instant reduction in the wetness of my cough. The improvement was immediate and definitive. Eventually I was able to add back a certain amount of dairy that was below the level that created phlegm.
3. Seeking help from specialists.
The first step in getting help from specialists was to find good practitioners whose approach matched my own. This required finding holistic healers in my local area, then reviewing their websites to determine if they were a good fit for me. I ended up working with three specialists, all of who helped in their own unique ways.
Acupuncturist/Herbalist/Nutritionist First, I went to a holistic practitioner who was a trained acupuncturist, herbalist and nutritionist. She prescribed Western herbs, Chinese herbs and did several sessions of acupuncture and cupping. Unfortunately, none of these techniques worked! In one of our sessions, she explained that my cough was an irritation in my lungs, which hold grief according to traditional Chinese medicine. This theory made sense to me intrinsically, since I could feel some lingering sadness in my system from my previous bout of depression. At our last session she concluded, “If the issue is fundamentally emotional in nature, no amount of treatment will cure the problem. The negative emotions will just bring it right back. The emotional issues need to be resolved since they are the ultimate root cause.” That statement was more powerful than any treatment technique because it made me realize that I had to work on releasing sadness that I knew I was holding onto.
Acupuncture specialist Next, I went to an acupuncturist that was more specialized and experienced in traditional Chinese medicine. She was able to confirm congestion in my “sorrow meridian,” which runs along the tops of the arms and upper back. She pressed one point on the meridian that was unexpectedly very sore. She also used small cups to do cupping along my sorrow meridian, which all left dark bruises, indicating energy stagnation. This was a second indication that I needed to work on opening my lungs somehow to release sorrow from my body and mind.
Energy Healer Lastly, I consulted an Eden Energy Medicine practitioner. I first read a full book on her style of energy healing to understand and evaluate it for myself. The book also mentioned lungs as a repository for sad feelings, confirming the theory that the other two practitioners had proposed. The energy healer pressed on points in my rib cage, which were all unusually sore. She explained this could be a buildup of lymph and energy, and instructed me to massage these sore spots daily to unclog them. This massaging was surprisingly effective, causing the soreness to subside after only a few weeks. The healer also prescribed a five-minute energy routine consisting of short exercises. Some claimed to be extremely powerful. I was skeptical so decided to test them out to see for myself. Although I can’t confirm their effectiveness, I also can’t rule out their role in curing the cough.
4. Opening up my lungs to release sorrow.
Running I once went to an herbal apothecary to get herbs to treat my cough. The herbalist wasn’t in but her assistant gave me some unofficial advice. He said, “I’m not a trained health practitioner, but the most straightforward way to breakup phlegm in your lungs is to start running. Your lungs will flush themselves out from exertion.” His remedy seemed plausible so I decided to give it a try. The big problem was that running was excruciatingly unnatural for me, always leaving me gasping for air. I consulted with my brother, who is an excellent runner, for instructions and tips on how to run. Although I dreaded it, I forced myself to run every other day, and after I few months I can now say I honestly enjoy jogging! Singing I began to ask myself how I could remove sadness from my lungs. One day it occurred to me that I had stopped singing to the radio, something that I had done almost every day in the car before my depressive bout. I forced myself to start singing to fun and uplifting songs even if I didn’t feel up for it. I felt its effects on a subtle level after a few weeks.
Breathing Exercises In the past I had done pranayama (yogic breathing exercises) intermittently as part of my daily de-stressing routine. I decided to do it every day and incorporate several types of breathing exercises, including some that were moderately strenuous. As with running, I felt exerting my lungs was a direct way of flushing out phlegm.
Increasing Positivity I decided to make my life as enjoyable as possible. I found a new job that was very satisfying. I moved to a nicer apartment and spent time decorating it in a way that was meaningful to me. I found a network of local positive people and spent much of my time helping them and enjoying their company. I’m not much of a traveler, but I planned short and simple vacations to spend time with and explore new places with close friends and family.
5. Miscellaneous remedies.
As with the other remedies, I have no direct proof that these miscellaneous remedies worked. I can only say that they may have contributed to the overall solution.
Himalalyan Salt Lamp I bought a Himalayan salt lamp, whose shape was appealing to me, from a salt cave. I replaced the light bulb with an LED bulb to feel really good about it! I began turning this lamp on every night for a few hours before going to sleep. Everything I had read on the Internet about salt lamps said there was no scientific proof of their effectiveness in improving health, however their color and light are pleasant and they cause no harm. The cough went away two months after starting the lamp.
Reduce exposure to wifi signals. Like most people, I’ve heard mixed things about the safety of cell and WiFi radiation. From an energy perspective, some sources say this radiation can interfere with the body’s subtle energy system. I couldn't control my WiFi exposure in public places, but I could at home. I decided to turn on my wireless router only when I needed it (about 3 hours a day), which was also energy and cost efficient! To reduce cell signal exposure, I turned my cell phone off at night.
One day I realized I hadn’t coughed in a couple weeks. I monitored myself daily and observed that the cough had indeed completely gone away! For additional confirmation, I massaged my rib cage and all previously sore spots were painless. Upon introspection, I felt an intuitive inner shift in my body and emotions, further confirming that my health was fundamentally different.
Finding a complete, holistic cure to a moderately severe cough was a long journey, consisting of almost a full year of coughing, of which I spent eight months finding a cure. It required lots of hard work including research, dietary changes, strenuous exercise, seeking out and consulting with multiple health practitioners and emotional work in eliminating negative feelings and creating joy.
Overall, the benefits far outweighed the laborious effort. Through the process of creating a recovery plan, I gained a better understanding of the mind/body system as well as intimate knowledge of my own system. I cultivated character traits that I can apply to solve any problem in life such as creativity, discipline and persistence. Most importantly, I achieved better overall physical and emotional health, creating a higher quality of life. Ultimately I will never be able to determine which remedies cured the cough, but I know I eliminated the root cause, and as a result, I am a smarter and healthier person!
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