Inhalation Therapy

Breathe deeply and you will achieve optimal health

Inhalation therapy, more commonly breath therapy or respiratory therapy, is a very general term for any type of oxygen-related treatment. It refers to the administration of any medical treatment via the lungs of the patient. Asthma inhalers, for example, are a type of inhalation therapy that is practiced and respected in the medical world for the treatment of restricted oxygen intake.

The most common form of inhalation therapy is the provision of oxygen. This can be given via a mask, tubes in the nostrils, in a tent or with the patient totally encased in an oxygen chamber. There are a multitude of reasons for administering oxygen to the body, ranging from minor to very serious breathing problems. People with decreased lung function, systemic organ failures, the prematurely born and the very elderly are all candidates for inhalation therapy - depending on their specific circumstances.

Inhalation therapy also has a role to play in folk remedies, which vary from effective to useless. For instance, inhalation therapy can be administered at home via a vaporizer or humidifier in your child's room. Both devices are recognized as effective ways to ease many upper respiratory conditions. In addition, a treatment as basic as inhaling steam from a pot of hot water can provide some relief from congestion-related conditions. When warm moist air is applied to the nose and throat, it begins to thin the mucus and drain the sinuses. It is a fast-acting process, without the bothersome side effects of drowsiness or rebound congestion. (For optimum effects, the user should remain in a warm environment for at least one hour after the inhalation treatment.)

At the other end of the spectrum are claims that medicinal plants can be smoked and that inhalation of smoke can have medicinal and anxiety-relieving benefits. Proponents of medical marijuana make the legitimate claim that it helps quell nausea and stimulate the appetite in terminally ill patients. But pot hobbyists who claim that marijuana contains dozens of nutrients, which the body absorbs when smoked, producing improved health, are on very shaky ground. Smoke isn't good for your lungs, generally, and it hasn't been definitively established that marijuana micronutrients can be absorbed from smoke through the lungs.

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