Lung Function

by Mark Whalen

In this part of our ongoing series about the organ functions according to Chinese Medicine, today we are going to cover Lung Function.  In Chinese Medicine, the Lungs are technically an organ of the fall, but since everyone seems to be getting sick recently, I thought it would be good time to cover the Functions of the Lung.

As you might have guessed, the Lungs play a crucial role in our ability to breathe. The Lungs open into the nose; or another way to say it, the nose is the opening of the lungs. If the lungs are strong, breathing will be normal and easy, and the sense of smell will be normal.

The Lungs also have a crucial role in our ability to fight off colds. The Lungs are referred to as the 'tender' organ because they are the intermediary organ between our body and the environment. As the tender organ, they vulnerable to attack from external forces, known as climactic factors- wind, damp, heat, dryness. When a patient presents with  a cold, we use these descriptions to diagnose the cold.

The infographic below displays the functions of the Lung in the language of Chinese medicine with a brief explanation of what it means (in plain english- I hope)

Lung Function

Signs and Symtpoms of a Lung Disharmony

If you have a weakness in the Lungs, you will likely present with problems in of these areas:


Any cold/flu-acute stage
Frequent colds- pointing to lowered immunity
Skin problems- acne, eczema, psoriasis
Sinus problems
Chronic cough
Asthma
Allergies


Emphysema
Wheezing
Shortness of breath
Sweating issues- too much or too little (b/c of Lungs control of the skin)
Cold Hands
Edema-water retention issues


Symptoms typically don't arise unless there has been a period of time with problems in the lungs function.  What sort of issues can weaken the lungs?

How the Lungs get weak

  • Smoking
  • Prolonged Grief/Sadness- Grief is the emotion of the lung and prolonged grief will wear down the lung's ability to disperse/descend. Over time, the ability to get deep breaths will weaken- you'll notice sad people have shallow breathing
  • Prolonged worry can impact the lung's ability to disperse
  • External factors- exposure to wind, cold, damp, dryness either acutely (cold/flu) or over prolonged periods
  • Poor diet- excessive intake of cold, raw foods over a prolonged period
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Best foods for the Lungs

For specific advice, ask your practitioner- these are general foods that are good for the lung but may not benefit your specific condition.


Almond
Apricot
Asparagus
Avocado
Banana
Basil
Brazil Nuts
Coconut
Eggs
Fennel
Fig
Garlic
Ginger


Grapefurit
Honey
Lemon
Lime
Orange
Onion
Oregano
Parsley
Pears
Peppermint
Pumpkin
Walnuts

Other ways to improve lung function include exercise, quitting smoking and breathing exercises like Qi Gong or gentle movement exercise like Tai Chi.

If you have any questions or are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned, give us a call at 781 944 3000.

 

Yours in health,

Mark

Mark Whalen is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Board Certified Herbalist and the founder of Five Points Acupuncture & Wellness in Reading, MA.

Mark Whalen – who has written posts on Acupuncture Reading MA - Five Points Acupuncture & Wellness.


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Five Points Acupuncture & Wellness
20 Pondmeadow Dr #107, Reading, MA 01867
Phone: (781) 944-3000
 

 

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