Just like other traditions, such as ayurveda and shamanism, Chinese medicine uses nature to understand the human body. Within the Chinese medical system, five elements correspond with the human body, with nature, and with the seasons.
The element metal dominates the lungs and the large intestine.
While the lungs and the large intestine are organs, they are also channels of energy that are used in acupuncture. Many acupoints on the lung and the large intestine channel address:
According to the Chinese medical system, the lungs govern the opening and closing of the pores in our skin. If the lungs are weak, the skin and protective field of the body is also weak.
Because the lungs control the pores, the energy of lungs determines how much or how little we perspire. If you have ever spent time in a sauna or enjoyed physically challenging activity, you know the cleansing value of sweat!
Often, a weak respiratory system means that the immune system may also suffer from an imbalance.
In the human body, the large intestine communicates with the lymph system and houses immune-boosting bacteria. It may come as no surprise then that the large intestine channel is paired with the lungs in Chinese medicine.
The large intestine also dominates one of our main pathways of elimination.
For example, when we are constipated, not only do we feel uncomfortable, but stagnant toxins begin circulating throughout the body and often make an appearance in the skin!
Breath in and of itself also detoxifies the body. Every surge of oxygen is an opportunity for cells to release carbon dioxide and cellular debris.
Besides nourishing the body with oxygen and cleansing the body, breath is also one of our most valuable teachers.
And fortunately, it is something that we have access every second of our lives.
With each inhale, there is an exhale: very simply, the lungs demonstrate our ability to receive and to release.
The American poet Li-Young Lee often tells his listeners the story of when his father taught him a simple meditation that goes like this:
When we say, “thank you” with our breath, we inhale and embrace the gift within each fresh, new moment.
When we exhale and say, “goodbye,” we release the good and the bad. We hold on to nothing.
Spend five minutes saying, “thank you” and “goodbye,” and you will look at the world a little differently.
With breath and with the mental exercise of “thank you” and “goodbye,” we can gently strengthen the energy of the lungs and the large intestine.
As we pass from the summer season into autumn, I invite you to inhale the rich scent of leaves and soil. And exhale fully, knowing that new opportunities await you!
Information and statements regarding dietary supplements/products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is a result of years of practice and experience by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your healthcare provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website.