Our lungs do a lot for us. Even though most of us don’t think of the lungs as something we can exercise, it’s possible to take steps to help them work better.

The air we breathe can be contaminated with many kinds of pollutants. Everything from pollen, to chemicals, to secondhand smoke can be trapped in the air and enter our lungs.

Our lungs are mostly a self-cleaning organ, but there are certain things you can do to help them function at the optimal level. A lung cleanse may be helpful for individuals who have a health condition that causes breathing difficulties, such as asthma, COPD, or cystic fibrosis. You may also benefit from a lung cleanse if you’re a heavy smoker or have to use certain inhaled medications.

There are many ways you can practice a lung cleanse, including making lifestyle changes and performing exercises to help drain the lungs of fluid.

Start cleansing your lungs by improving the quality of the air in your home. You can purchase an air purifier that can be placed in individual rooms or invest in a household-wide purifier.

Along with getting an air purifier, you should change all of the filters in your home and clean all vents, such as those in the bathroom or your air conditioning or heating vents. Be sure to replace your furnace filter at least every six months.

You may think that you are helping the air in your home by making it smell nice with air fresheners, candles, or those famous wax candle warmers. However, these fragrances can actually be full of harmful chemicals that can irritate your lungs. Even household cleaners can be an irritant, so check your cupboards and replace your cleaners with all-natural products if possible.

Getting plenty of fresh air can help expand the tissues in your lungs and keep them working properly. Check the pollution forecasts in your area. Avoid exercising outside when pollution numbers are high, and stay away from burning trash, wood, or other types of smoke. If you are concerned about pollution or you live in an area with heavy pollutants, you could wear an air-purifying mask.

Studies have shown that certain breathing exercises can improve lung function, especially for individuals who smoke, have smoked in the past, or who have lung damage from chronic lung diseases. There are tools that can help you practice your breathing, such as a spirometer. This kind of device is often used after surgery to help with the recovery process. Other breathing exercises do not require the use of assisting devices. These techniques include:

  • pursed lip breathing
  • belly breathing (also known as diaphragmatic breathing)

You should talk to your doctor about options that are available to you if you’re a smoker or have lung damage. They should be able to refer you to a respiratory clinic, where therapists can put you in a special program to assist you.

Percussion is a technique that can help drain out the lungs. It involves having you lie down with your head lowered and tapping lightly on your back, working from top to bottom.

Many individuals with cystic fibrosis or pneumonia use percussion and postural drainage. The patient’s back is tapped firmly with cupped hands, loosening secretions, and the tipped position helps the secretions move up and out of the lungs.

There is not a lot of research that supports the use of products that claim to cleanse the lungs. It’s best to prevent lung damage by avoiding smoking, pollution, and other lung irritants. Some lung cleanse products might actually make certain lung conditions worse, so be sure to speak to your doctor before trying any specific lung cleanse.

For better lung health, you will want to start with prevention and make healthy choices. For example, quitting smoking, getting regular exercise that is appropriate to your activity level, and eating a nutritious diet will all help your lungs. You should also speak to your doctor about other steps you can take to improve your lung health.