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Oct 3, 2011

The Lung Channel

With the start of the fall season, the energy within our body returns to the beginning of the flow- the Lung Channel.  Within the body are 12 meridians and 8 extraordinary vessels.  The vessels are rivers, broad and deep, carrying the living energy, or qi.  These vessels supply the 12 meridians, which then transport the qi to all the limbs and points on the body.  The flow of energy begins with the Lung channel, also known as the hand Greater Yin channel.  It runs from the upper chest near the shoulder to the tip of the thumb.  The Lung in Chinese medicine is responsible for many p rocesses in the body. 
In addition to respiration, the lung regulates the “Wei Qi” or protective qi shield that helps keep out toxins and pathogens.  Often during this time of year, if the Lung energy is weak, people experience more colds and flu.  It regulates the skin and hair, ensuring that the pores open and close at appropriate times, as well as controlling perspiration.  In concert with the Kidneys and Spleen, the Lung regulates the body fluids, ensuring the skin and hair is well supplied with natural moisture.

The nature of the Lung is Yin, or solid- Yin organs store energy, and the lung is no exception, storing and distributing the qi of the upper chest (known as “Zhong qi”) and controlling the voice.  In the system of the Five Transformations (known typically, if incorrectly as the “Five Elements”), the Lung has the nature of Metal- which mirrors the season of Autumn.  Condensing, sinking, and nurturing, in the same way that the energy of Autumn descends, condenses, and prepares the Earth for gentle sleep.  By understanding the nature of the Lung channel, we can see why there are certain maladies that typically present during the early fall- dry skin, allergies and colds, as well as cough and loss of voice.  If someone has a weak Lung, they will be more susceptible to these imbalances, but with acupuncture and herbs, the Lung can be strengthened and balanced. 
Some tips to keep the Lung and Lung channel healthy include deep breathing exercise- sink those shoulders and drop the breath to the dan tien (navel)!  Make sure you are drinking more water- if you are dehydrated, the lung cannot distribute moisture properly, and dry skin can result.  And make sure you are taking herbs to assist the Lung in keeping your Wei Qi shield strong (Jade Windscreen Powder, or Yi Ping Feng San is great for this time of year).  

Dustin Bergman, L.Ac