|And the entire West Coast of the USA is on fire right now.
I’ve made posts on social media before about what to do during times of air pollution (especially during the tear gas times in Hong Kong), but I wanted to get into a little more detail about this stuff and have it as an article people can refer back to on a different platform, so here it is on a newsletter and my website.
Air pollution can affect us in ways we haven’t paid attention to, or have gotten so used to (especially if it’s a normal part of life) that can prevent us from operating at our best, and at worst, put our bodies in a position of easily getting illnesses and diseases.
I’m aware that my lungs are one of my “weak points” (I had asthma as a kid, and will still get it if I’m exposed to things like animal dander, dust, air pollution, smoke, etc), and because of that, I use them as a way to keep myself in check (if my lungs are struggling, it means that I need to do something about it ASAP otherwise other parts of my body will start to compensate, which would lead to other problems).
The thing about me (this is pretty evident if you’ve ever spent time with me) is that I don’t live in fear. Even though I know I have weak points (like my lungs, knee, and back), I don’t use them as excuses to hold me back from doing the things that I want. I just pay attention to them to make sure they’re ok while I live my life the way I want to. And when I need to take care of them, I make it a priority to do so, so I can continue living the life I want.
So when I was at my friend’s house the other day helping her fix her couch (windows and doors open), we both noticed that I was wheezing. So I immediately went home and did some detox (details below). Result: much better. Wheezing gone.
Then the next day, I made sure all my windows and doors were closed, and I had the stove range fan on while I was out later in the afternoon for an outdoor acro yoga jam (meetup). For the jam, I had on long pants, a shirt and a long sleeve jacket, and my properly-fitting N95 mask with a carbon filter. I had clay in my water as well (this is all explained later in this article).
Even with all of that, I noticed about 2 hours in that my body wasn’t responding/performing as it usually does. It was like it didn’t know what to do physically, and I couldn’t do nearly as much, or as long as I usually am capable of. So I took it easy for the rest of the jam, and went home a little earlier than usual. I detoxed again that night, and the next morning.
It still wasn’t enough.
That afternoon, I went with some friends to an area where the air was supposed to be much cleaner. They noticed my brain fog, and I noticed a lack of stamina in altitude (which I usually am totally fine in). It was a struggle just to go up the 4 or 5 stairs to the restaurant.
So when I got home that night, more detox, added some liver support, and I moved one of my ivy plants into my bedroom.
I slept almost 12 hours. Much needed recovery, and I felt so much better in the morning.
Because I am a bit more sensitive to the air pollution, I need to detox and minimize exposure on a daily basis until the air clears up. I know this, so I do it. But I also continue to do things that are important to me (like the acro jams), but I do them in a smart way to minimize damage.
You see, if I let the toxins accumulate in my body, it basically creates a toxic environment in my body, which means that nothing will function optimally, because it’s trying to operate dirty. It’s like trying to get work done in a messy office, or live in a messy house. It’s super distracting and hindering.
Some symptoms you may experience with air pollution exposure:
– Difficulty breathing, wheezing, shortness of breath
– Decreased ability for exercise/physical activities
– Brain fog
– Joint pain
– Vision problems
– Decreased immune function
– Weight gain/loss
– Digestive stress
– Mental/Emotional stress/Easy to get stressed
– Lymph buildup
– Fatigue (mental, physical, and emotional
– Skin problems
– And more…
Aside from living in a hyperbaric chamber or walking around in an oxygenated bubble suit, there are several things you can do to minimize your exposure and also detoxify the pollutants from your body.
Just wearing a mask is not enough to protect yourself from air pollution from getting into your body. Your skin is the largest organ you have, and one of its main jobs is to absorb things from the environment (which is why things like lotion and essential oils work well, and why we can get wrinkly prune skin after soaking in water for too long).
If you live in an area where air pollution is a normal part of life, you may want to implement at least some of these strategies for a week to see if you experience improvements in any area to see if you’ve just built up a tolerance to the air quality (fyi, long term “tolerance” is just masking your ability to become optimal, and is often a precursor to chronic illnesses and conditions, including mystery pain).
To minimize exposure:
– Close all windows/doors to the outside. Just don’t let the dirty air inside. This is pretty self-explanatory, but those (like myself) who usually have windows and doors open might need the reminder.
– If you need air conditioning/fan, make sure the filters are CLEAN (Also make sure the air environment indoors is clean!! No smoking, dust, pet hair/dander!). You can get sick from using the air conditioner too much (because it’s blowing processed air), and oftentimes, the filters for air conditioners and fanblades are not clean, which means dirty air is being blown around.
– When outdoors, wear Long Sleeves and Pants. Again, one of the main functions of our skin is to absorb things from the environment, so the more you cover up, the better. Layers are good. The clothing acts as a filter for your skin. And if you’re going to be outside for a while, bring changes of clothes, so you’re not running around with a dirty “filter.” When you get home, immediately put the worn clothes into the hamper (don’t re-use) to wash. Then take a shower asap, and do some detoxing (listed below)
– Wear Eye Goggles. Your eyes are another porous orifice that toxins can enter!
– Wear a properly fitting N95 mask with activated charcoal, making sure to regularly change the filter/mask as recommended. Quality and fit are important here. Don’t skimp.
To detox and manage the stress from the exposure:
– Blow your nose gently after getting out of the pollution, and after a hot shower. Blowing your nose clears the gunk that your nose trapped (that’s its job, yay nose hairs!), but blow gently, because too much force can cause the gunk to go INTO your sinus cavities, which is no good. Doing so after a hot shower allows the gunk to soften up, so it does a more thorough job after you’ve done the initial blow.
– Use Bentonite Clay (Edible capsules several times a day, either directly taking the capsules, or empty the capsules in your water, about one capsule per 16 oz of water; or external use for baths/masks). I personally like the Great Plains brand. Activated charcoal is also ok, if you can’t tolerate the clay, but make sure you mix it with something else if you’re going to use it as a mask or in the bath, otherwise everything will turn black.
– Take Chelated Magnesium Glycinate (CALM makes a dissolvable drink version, or you can get the pressed pills). Your body burns through magnesium when it’s in a stressed state, so supplementing with this type of magnesium is super helpful in not wearing your body down with the stress of exposure.
– Do frequent gentle Liver cleanses and daily support. I like the REVIL brand liver supplement for a 2-in-1 gentle cleanse and support. You can also take milk thistle, or eat a good quality animal liver for support.
– Eat Clean, avoid foods and drinks your body doesn’t like or gives you inflammation. The more junk you intentionally expose your body to, the fewer resources it has to clean up the junk you absorb from the air pollution. Leafy greens with a balance of salt, clean proteins and fats, and complex carbs depending on your activity level.
– Stay hydrated. Drink lots of clean, filtered water. Your body runs on water. If you are dehydrated, even a little bit, your cells (which communicate via electricity) can’t communicate effectively, and there isn’t enough lubrication between structures that need to glide (like muscles, organs, and fascia) to glide. Room temp or slightly warm is recommended so your body doesn’t have to do too much work to heat it up (it’s also better for your internal energy system, aka “Chi/Qi” to drink warm fluids).
– Bounce. Or get lymphatic drainage therapy. I prefer a minute of bouncing a few times a day. But basically, the lymph is the sewage/plumbing system for your body, so you gotta keep it moving when there’s a higher concentration of, er, “shit.”
– Have plenty of Air-purifying plants (like Ivy, Aloe, or Chrysthanthemum) in the house, especially in rooms where you spend more time (like the bedroom). Or you can get a good quality air filtration system. I personally like the positive energy the plants bring into my environment, and it’s better for the environment overall to have plants than machines.
– Perform Movement/Exercise in Clean Air Environment only. When you exercise, your pores open up, which allows sweat and toxins to be expelled. But since the pores are not a one-way valve system, it will also allow environmental toxins to enter more as well. If you’re going to exercise in dirty air, don’t get sweaty. Don’t even breathe hard. Basically, just do easy stuff. And then do a detox afterwards.
As you can see, there are lots of different things you can do if you’re in an area with air pollution (there’s a lot more you could do, but these are some simple big bang-for-buck items). If it’s overwhelming, don’t worry. Just do what you can. When I travel, I don’t have the plants in my hotel room, but I’ll do mostly everything else.
Point is, if you can minimize the junk going into your body, do it. And when you can’t avoid it, minimize the damage done, and get it out of your system ASAP to prevent further damage in the future. It’s all about how well you take care of yourself as a habit (remember the last newsletter?). You don’t need to specifically detox as a habit, but make self-care as a concept a habit and priority. This is the key to be able to live your best life, and longest.
Best in Health and Happiness,