When the seasons change we all get colds. When you eat healthy, keep your body moving, and have a regular yoga practice you may get them less often. But in case you do, here are some easy ways to get over a head cold, naturally.
Steam, 2 or 3 times a day
Breathing in moist air can help soothe irritated tissue and swollen blood vessels in your nose and sinuses. It can also help to drain out the congestion in those areas. Over the years I have found this super simple method to be the most effective at home remedy in combating a head cold.
Begin by filling a medium pot with water. Place the pot on the stove over high heat until the water begins to boil rapidly. (At this point you can throw in some mint leaves if you desire.) Next, shut off the stove and slowly breath in the vapors. Be careful to keep an appropriate distance from the pot so as not to burn yourself. Repeat this process as many times as possible. Note: The water vapors release from the pot much faster when the heat source is switched off, once the vapors slow down you can bring the water to a boil again and repeat the process.
You can even try a salt water rinse. It helps to break up the mucus and nasal congestion while also removing virus particles and bacteria from your nose.
Fluid load, but eat very little
Fluid it the primary mechanism by which you move the congestion out of your body. Drinking water or freshly pressed juices will help prevent dehydration and keep your system moist and in motion. Aim to drink at least 8 eight-ounce glasses of fluid daily. Include fluids such as water, herbal teas, freshly pressed juices, or bothy soups. Munching on some fluid dense veggies, such as cucumbers or celery may help too!
I’m a big believer in freeing up your internal energy so it can do things like heal your body. The kind of energy I’m specifically talking about is Digestive Energy. Do you know that the energy it takes to digest the foods we eat is more than that required for any other specific internal function of the human body? Some experts suggest that digestion takes as much as 50 to 80 percent of our total energy.
In order to heal, we need all the energy our body can muster up and the best way to free up some of this energy is to eat as light as possible, trying to stick mainly to broth based soups or hydrating raw fruits and vegetables. Some fruits may make your cough worse; in that case simply stick to warm broths and vegetables.
Get enough sleep
The fact is, is that you body heals mostly when you are sleeping. Yup, that’s right, that thing you love to do most, it’s really good for you. Sleep is one of the most effective methods used to get over illnesses fast. The more you sleep , the faster you will recover… And if you’re lacking sleep? Well don’t plan on getting better anytime soon.
So, how much sleep should you be getting? The answer is, there is no real answer. Get as much sleep as you possibly can. But, if you want some guidelines, aim to get at least 9 – 11 hours of sleep when you are feeling down, and try and squeeze in a hour long afternoon or evening nap as well.
Try and avoid medications
Medications such as decongestants may make you feel better but the way they work is by reducing swelling of the blood vessels inside your body. This temporarily opens up your nasal airway, making breathing easier. The problem is that although decongestants can help you to breathe more easily, they actually slow down the natural healing process of your body.
Swelling of the blood vessels are your body’s way of fighting off the viruses and bacteria that are in your insides, so if you temporarily shut this natural healing mechanism down, all you do is slow down the healing process. Im not saying don’t take any medications, if your feeling really crummy of course take something to help you get through it, but once you are well enough to get up and move around a bit, lay off the medications, I promise your recovery will happen faster off the medications then on them.
Practice a little Yoga
Here’s a little yoga sequence you can literally do while sitting in bed. This short sequence will help you break through the congestion and get you going on the path to a clear, recovered and reenergized body.
Start with 3 minutes of alternate nostril breathing. This method of Pranayama is used to clear out blocked energy channels in the body and will begin to alleviate your whole nervous system, calming both your body and your mind.
Next move into bridge pose. This pose will open up your entire chest area and bring easier breathing to your chest and to your back. It also helps to instantaneously relieve a tired back and stretched out your hips. If your head is very congested try doing this in a seated position. Stretch your arms behind you, holding your fingers at the bottom, and pop out your chest, hold, and take a few long deep breaths. This pose brings oxygen to your chest and throughout the lower part of your body, helping to move along and clear the congestion.
Next, do a few seated twists. Seated twist are great do to anytime, sick of not. They make you fell like you are elongating the entire side of your body and bringing breath and space to your insides. Seated twists also help to open up lots of space in you chest and throughout the upper part of your body.
End with long deep breaths. Sit comfortably and start to breathing in for 3 counts, hold at the top for 1 count and then begin to breath out for 3 counts, holding again at the bottom for 1 count. Repeat this sequence for several minutes. Long deep breaths are very effective in calming your entire nervous system and help to clear things on your insides.
Get a Massage
Massage works wonders when you need to move the congestion out of your body. If you have the right therapist they can help to clear your sinuses, losses up your chest congestion, and bring relief to you aching muscles.
Naturally, when we are sick, tense, or stressed we hold a lot of the tension and pressure in our joints and our muscles. Specifically when we are sick, our hips, thighs, upper arms, back and shoulders carry a lot of that weight and begin to ache. Well trained and experienced massage therapists know how to work their magic to get us back on track to feeling like our best selves.
So, next time you’re feeling a little down try some of these simple tips, tricks, stretches and breathing techniques to quickly get yourself on the road to recovery. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.