Pneumonia is a quite common lung inflammatory condition affecting the microscopic air sacs. It is usually caused by a virus, bacterial infection, or fungi and mostly occurs in autumn and winter. It typically follows an infection like influenza, or a period of stress (usually around sadness or loss) that weakens the immune system. In my experience, many cases of pneumonia are linked to relationship breakups or loss of loved ones or loss of a job etc. In such circumstances emotional tension is held in the chest region. People ‘sigh’ for themselves and often feel defeated and resigned to their situation. This can weaken the immune defence of the lungs and make them more susceptible to infection. Pneumonia was once a fatal condition for most who developed it, but today antibiotics help the majority of people recover. However more than 2,000 people still die from pneumonia in Australia each year, so it is important to know what you can do if you or someone in your family develop the condition.
If you have pneumonia, you may find you can keep going with most of your tasks but feel weak. You will have a persistent dry cough, (although some people do cough up yellow/green mucous) accompanied by an inability to catch your breath because you can’t breathe easily and deeply. When you try to breathe deeply you may feel sharp stabbing pains, usually towards the back of the lungs. You will have difficulty exercising and find you just can’t do things you normally could. You may hear your lungs making crackling or bubbling sounds, or even wheezing. Sometimes a fever, followed by chills, may occur, but this is not a diagnostic sign and may be absent, even in severe cases.
The acupuncture point, Conception Vessel-17 (in the frontal midline, halfway between the clavicular notch and the ziphoid) becomes painful to touch and will cause a stabbing pain into the spine opposite this point. If you feel a needle-sharp pain in the spine, you may need antibiotics so see your doctor.
The most debilitating time of the day is the hour before sunset when you may feel wretched, especially in a particularly cold place like Canberra. This is a time to stay indoors, keep yourself warm and drink hot fluids. This is also a good time to have a traditional steam sauna with some eucalyptus added. A nip of brandy may also help.
To help your body fight pneumonia consider spending a few weeks in an environment opposite to that in which you developed the pneumonia in the first place—especially if your pneumonia is viral and cannot be treated with antibiotics. In autumn, winter and spring, Canberra can have sudden very cold snaps. It is quite dry and it is elevated. The best environment to heal would be a consistently warm/hot place, that is moist and at sea-level, like coastal towns from Coffs Harbour northward.
To help boost your immune system, take vitamin-C (2000 to 5000 mg a day). Spend time in the sun. Don’t take cough medicines since they may reduce your ability to remove mucous. Stop eating dairy products (except butter) if you know they produce mucous. Cut out all foods containing grains, including rice and corn. These will put pressure on your immune system at a time when it is working extra hard. Eat well-cooked meals, such as broths and soups. Drink adequate filtered water and add electrolytes like Hydrolyte. Do light stretching and isometric exercises throughout each day. Have an acupuncture treatment. Wear jumpers which cover your neck over thermal underwear. Always keep your feet warm. Thoroughly dry your hair after washing. Keep away from mouldy places.
There are also several medicinal herbs that can help, including astragalus, echinacea, elecampane, liquorice, pleurisy root, fenugreek, garlic and goldenseal. You can also source homoeopathic pneumonia nosodes. Bill Giles Health Ecology can help you with these.
Once you have fought off the pneumonia you will need to look at the underlying factors that contributed to the condition in the first place. Was there more at play than just influenza? Had you been experiencing intense sadness or loss? If so you need to turn your attention to renewing your emotional vitality. This is where Bill’s workshops and raja yoga can help you. Discover how to change your focus and alter the meaning you placed on that initial situation/event, so you can feel happy and look forward to the future.