‘Tis The Season…of Sniffling, Sneezing and Stuffy Noses!

Is your nose blocked? Well, both adults’ and children’s heads can sometimes get all clogged up with mucus, phlegm or crudely, “snot”, in their nasal passages which renders them unfit for breathing nasally. It can also affect the ears and hearing, sometimes causing some to suffer from temporary hearing loss.

Curious about how to remedy this issue before Christmas comes upon us in full swing? Then follow on for ‘Tis The Season…of Sniffling, Sneezing and Stuffy Noses!

Children and Gunky, Oozy Slime

In the meantime, kids can easily ooze mucus for six to eight months each year, if not longer, whilst they zoom around like nothing is going on. Well, there is: a stuffy nose massively influences their overall health, including both physical and mental development. The question then arises, what can we do to alleviate and preferably eradicate the problem? Does anyone have a solution to the common cold yet?

My Experience as a SALT (Speech and Language Therapist)

When I worked as a SALT, I’d seen plenty of youngsters that were all too familiar with mucus causing aggravation in their lives.

It practically stunted their hearing and thus their learning overall, think of language, speech, communication in general, and auditory skills prerequisite to learning to read well, but also their resultant behaviors.

With no nasal airflow, mouth-breathing is relied upon which affects the development of the entire skull; teeth, jaw, tongue position, it’s all affected. It even influences the tension of the entire body’s musculature. Back then I taught a fair share of parents and their child how to blow their nose, and once cleared, how to be a nasal breather.

Sensory Motor Games

A few years ago, we used several motor sensory games to learn to strengthen the mouth and lips, play with mouth closure, nose breathing and tongue placement. Because our way of breathing affects our entire developmental curve (see more below), there is usually help from other disciplines.

The current approach of professional ENTs is to place little plugs in the ears, to get the effusion out of the middle ear, thus clearing and enhancing the volume of hearing. Children can be taught to blow their noses, and we can put Vaporub on their chest and feet, to help avoid phlegm build up from recurring.

Yet still, how can we avoid them getting ill, period. As a SALT I’d teach about how breathing through the nose is important, and now that I’m personally diving deeper into breathing, it’s obvious that our breath has far deeper and more, far reaching effects.

Sealing the Lips

Dentists can provide plasters to help to seal the lips, or a mouth guard to keep the tongue actively kept to the roof of the mouth, behind the teeth and not inactively low, pushing the teeth forward and dislocating them while swallowing, aka tongue thrust.

The plasters are also advised at night time, as we’re then unconscious. Plenty of people wake up with a dry mouth, which comes from breathing with the mouth open. And this is related to restless sleeping, which can even be linked to insomnia.

The Eastern Approach

When reading up on the breath research which James Nestor (author of “Breathe”) did, he blocked his nose for 10 days in a study at Stanford University.

This study showed that breathing through the nose is far more important for our overall development than most are aware of. The way we breathe, as mentioned above can influence our facial features and overall posture, but also it directly stimulates either the left or right hemispheres of the brain. We can work with our breath to balance both sides.

What Can We Do?

We all are familiar with solutions, like a mucus or ‘snot sucker’ for babies, a neti pot to clear the nose with salt water, or vaporub for the chest, and feet.

Enter Breathwork

Pranayama performed via the nose can help lessen and streamline the entire mucus pathway: Breath work doesn’t only help to balance and lessen phlegm secretions from the nose and throat, but also regulates wax production from the ears. The prana which is most often disturbed is Udana prana (upward-moving life current).

Be aware, mouth breathing stimulates more mouth breathing whilst nose breathing stimulates more nose breathing. If a child’s nose is severely stuffy for too many years, it means they’re obviously not able to breathe through their nose effectively.

If they’re not able to breathe through their left or right nostrils (ida and pingala respectively in Sanskrit) it means their brains will receive less life force, leading to a lack of brain development and less absorption of liquid life force (intelligence). If they continue breathing through their mouth (which now has become the default), they won’t be able to refine their thinking ability.

Daily Check

Children’s left and right nostrils should be checked 2-3 times a day by way of a quick 1-2 second nasal exhalation check which is well worth it! The clearer the passage, the better the prana-flow to that part of the brain. This check will help to determine which hemisphere of the brain is working predominantly at that moment: Left or right (feeling or reason).

When using this technique, over time medicines, expectorants, asthma inhalers and other forms of treatment could largely be done away with, with the simple introduction of (more and more) prana.

Recommended Starter Breathing Method

Medium-to-Fast Paced Breathing Method (Bhastrika)

  • 3 x 4 breaths through each nostril.
  • Do this for a total of 3 times on each nostril (72 breaths).
  • This takes approx. 18-20 seconds.
  • Do this 3 times per day (Total: 1 minute per day. Take up to 2-3 minutes per day in the beginning whilst you’re getting used to it!)
  • If you’d like our team to help you with this, for free, simply click here.

The technique by itself will help clear out, regulate and streamline-to-reduce mucus in the entire system. Simply continue using prana/life force daily/consistently, then observe and note down the beneficial changes that begin to take place. This works for all ages, not just on children. So make a start today, your future self (in 3 months) will thank you for it!

Have you tried breathing exercises (or pranayama/life force control) for any length of time? Let us know in the comments below and join in the conversation on FacebookTwitter & Instagram

Marleen Lam

Marleen Lam is a journalist from Holland with a background in pediatric speech therapy and sensory integration. Her passions are reading, teaching, child-development, cats, food, gardening and being outdoors. As she continues to evolve, she is enjoying getting more into mindfulness including meditation, yoga, vegan food and energy healing practices like Reiki and Jin Shin Jyutsu.

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