Respiratory system

The Respiratory System:

The body’s cells require oxygen in order to function properly, so that the respiratory system is the body’s breathing equipment. It contains the lungs, air passages, pulmonary (lung) vessels and breathing muscles.

Haemoglobin (an oxygen carrying compound)  found in red blood cells continuously removes dissolved oxygen from the blood and binds with it to transport it round the body,

Carbon dioxide is removed by the respiratory system and is a waste product of the body’s tissue.


External respiration starts at the nose and mouth. The nose moistens and warms air entering the nostrils. The warming of air is very important for asthma sufferers who find that going out into the cold air triggers an attack; by breathing through the nose instead of the mouth, they can avoid this type of attack because, as the nose warms the air, it prevents the sudden rush of cold air into the lungs.

The trachea (windpipe) extends from the neck into the thorax (chest cavity) where it divides into the right and left main bronchi (air passages) which enter the right and left lungs. The left lung is smaller, because it has to allow space for the heart. Each lung is enclosed in the ribcage and supported below the diaphragm. The bronchi are the branches of the respiratory tube that transport air into and out of each lung; they break up into smaller bronchi and bronchioles (the final and smallest tubes) and end in small alveoli (air sacs), where gaseous exchange occurs.

Gaseous exchange relies on simple diffusion, which provides adequate oxygen and gets rid of sufficient carbon dioxide. Breathing works by making the ribcage bigger; the pleural layers surrounding the lungs slide over each other, and the pressure in the lung decreases, which sucks air in. When you breathe out, it does the reverse. The main muscle of breathing is the diaphragm.

Reflexology and the Lungs:

Reflexology can help to improve the function of the diaphragm and lungs, increasing the quantity of air being breathed in and of waste products being breathed out. It also assists in the distribution of oxygen around the body. Reflexology can help aid recovery from respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, influenza and the common cold. A relaxed person takes deep breathes, while a nervous person takes shallow breaths. If you take deep breathes while working on the solar plexus reflex on the hand, this can help to relax you.

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