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Autumn is the Perfect Time to Care for Your Lungs

November 1, 2021Trisha Han Acupuncture, Self-Help Topics, Wellness & Prevention

Did you know Autumn is the time of year when the lungs are the most active, when they are in the most optimal condition.  We can take advantage of this time to nurture our lungs, to give them any necessary attention and care.  According to Chinese medicine, the lungs have two primary functions: one is to “release”, the other is to “reduce”, or to pass through.  The releasing function is expressed in ways such as sweating, coughing, and sneezing. The reducing function is expressed in two ways: one is opening the water passage within the body through the Bladder Meridian; the other is opening up the digestive organs and allowing waste to pass through. However, the reducing function can only be seen and analyzed during sickness; in other words, when the lungs’ reducing function is normal and healthy, its effects can’t easily be observed—only when it is abnormal can you see any symptoms.

Sometimes, the cause of constipation isn’t the hard, dry nature of the stool; rather, it is often because the stool is unable to make its way out.  Many people also find that they do not urinate as often as they should.  These conditions are both caused by and directly related to an abnormal reducing function.

So where exactly does the energy of the reducing and releasing functions come from?  This energy originates in the spleens and lungs, and is the central source of energy in our body.  This is why many Chinese medicines focus on replenishing this source of energy.  One example is the Shen Ling Bai Zhu teapills—this herbal medicine not only reinforces the spleen but also replenishes the lungs and restores balance in the body, so it is the perfect remedy for a weak central energy source.  Another example is the Bu Zhong Yi Qi teapills. Its name means “Restore and Increase the Vital Central Energy”, and the medicine does exactly that.  However, the Bu Zhong Yi Qi teapills work by using the energy of the liver and kidney organs in order to restore the energy of the central source (the spleen and lungs), so this medicine is not suitable for those with a weak liver and kidney function.

On the Lung Meridian, there is a point called Zhong Fu, meaning “central residence” because this is where the central energy of the body comes together and resides.  Therefore, it is one of the key points in treating and restoring the body’s central energy.  Another key point is the Tai Yuan point; it is the point where the Lung Meridian originates, so it has enormous effects in restoring the body’s central energy.  Either using moxa or massaging out these two points will prove extremely beneficial in restoring the body’s energy balance, and meanwhile, taking care of the lungs.

Many people don’t want to eat medicine or drink porridge for medicinal purposes, either because they dislike the practice or have difficulties preparing it.  So they wonder if there are any other good methods to maintain and replenish the lungs.  In actuality, if the lungs do not receive harm from the exterior, no sickness will arise—so how would we go about maintaining them?  The main source of exterior harm that our lungs receive is the cold; if the body is exposed to the cold for an extended period of time, it will come into the body through the pores and do damage to our lungs. Therefore, preventing the cold from entering our bodies is the key to keeping our lungs healthy.

The lungs do have one threat that comes from the body’s interior—it is the excessive heat of the liver, or liver inflammation.  In Chinese Medicine, we call this “Liver Fire”.  Although this excessive heat given off by the liver is very intense, it shouldn’t do too much damage to the lungs, as long as it is controlled in time.  The Yu Ji point is a point on the Lung Meridian that, when massaged, can heal coughs and lung inflammation caused by “Liver Fire”.

Some people do not have enough Chi in their lungs, therefore their bodies do not retain heat well, and easily feel cold.  People with this condition often find that they have difficulty breathing, or don’t always take in enough oxygen; this is because the spleen does not absorb energy well. Because the spleen is one of the centers of our body’s energy, we must treat this condition starting with the spleen.  To strengthen the spleen, you can use moxa on the Ming Men point, the Shen Que point located near the waist, the Guan Yuan point located beneath the belly button, and the Tai Xi point located on the Kidney Meridian.  By using moxa on this acupuncture points, you will give warmth to the meridians they are positioned on and open up the stagnant pathways. If you persist in this method, you will find that it is the best way to treat a weak spleen and lungs during the fall season.

Another common condition occurs in people who have excess liver fire, but their lungs are not weak either; these people easily get upset, but they stifle it instead of expressing their emotion. Because of this, they often feel like there is a huge weight inside their chest, preventing them from breathing with ease.  If you have this condition, you can massage the Lung Meridian’s Chi Ze point.  Massaging this point daily can also relieve symptoms of conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma, and enuresis (bed-wetting syndrome).

The methods above can be used according to individual body types, conditions, and needs. However, one method that can be applied to all conditions relating to the lungs’ releasing and reducing functions is the “Making-Yourself-Sneeze” method.  This method was introduced in a previous blog entry, and can relieve such conditions as allergies, cold, stagnant or obstructed energy in the body, various skin diseases, and etc.