The energy of the Lungs, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, controls a wide array of
physiological functions in the body. This energy is associated with the energy
of the fall – of harvest, and turning inward, and protection. It is for this
reason that pathologies involving the Lung energy are most common this time of
year. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine viewpoint, the Lungs have the
- Control breathing. When the Lung energy is
compromised, there may be shortness of breath, a weak voice, or asthma.
- Take the air that we breathe and turn it into
Post-Natal Qi. This post-natal Qi is formed from a mixture of this air and the
food that we eat, and can be roughly thought of as our day-to-day energy or
- Descend energy and water from the chest and
thorax into the lower regions of the body. When the function of descending
energy is compromised, there may be a cough. When water descending is
compromised, the patient may experience problems with urination, swelling, or
- Govern the body hair and the skin, moisten the
skin and the space between the skin and muscles.
- Control the Wei Qi, which is loosely linked to
the Western medical concept of the immune system.
- Control the opening and closing of the pores –
weakness in the Lung energy can lead to spontaneous sweating, an aversion to
wind (which enters the pores), or frequent infections (from the pores being too
- Relate to grief. The Lungs are closely
correlated with the emotion of grief, and healthy Lung energy can help the body
through the grieving process.
- Open into the nose and control the voice. Because
of this function, we treat the lungs in order to treat any sort of cold, cough,
congestion, or allergies. We also treat the lungs to treat problems with the
sense of smell or loss of voice.
You can be sure that your lungs are in tip-top shape by
getting regular acupuncture, taking Chinese herbs (if needed), and practicing
breathing exercises through yoga, Tai Chi, or Qigong.