Our lungs are incredibly powerful and do one of the most important jobs in the entire body — delivering oxygen, without which we would be unable to live. Try holding your breath for a minute and you will quickly see how important it is to have functioning lungs. We abuse our lungs on a regular basis through different means — modern living brings us the pollution of industry, car exhaust, as well as second hand and occasionally first hand smoke. For too many people, cigarette smoking still has a powerful grip and cannot be shaken regardless of how many graphic warnings are shown.
In an ideal world there would be some sort of nanotechnology available where hard working robots would go inside your lungs like the Fantastic Voyage and take tiny little brushes and mops and other such tools and scrub the lungs clean. While we are waiting for this ideal world to come about, there is now a therapy available which involves steam cleaning your lungs, which promises to give new hope to those who either have battered and bruised their lungs through years of smoking or even were given a bad hand genetically and just have always had some lung problems.
The steam cleaning is a fairly straight forward technique and involves steam being fired through a tube that is inserted in a non-invasive manner — always a positive thing when seeking medical treatment — and scalds specifically targeted tissue. Once a scar forms on this tissue, the overall volume of the lungs is reduced and it becomes easier for the affected person to breathe. It seems from tests on patients who have had the steam cleaning treatment that it has proven to be effective in helping with lung function — performing physical activities without having to stop to catch ones breath, for example. For people who have long suffered with such problems, I can only imagine what it would be like to suddenly be able to have a normal jog around the park without collapsing.
While steam cleaning is an excellent positive thing for the future, I believe that the best thing we can do is to help the smokers of today who have not yet fallen victim to emphysema to quit — to be a support system or a part of a support system for them. Quitting smoking can be one of the most difficult things a person can do and getting support can make it significantly more tolerable.