Your lungs are 2 inflatable bags located underneath and protected by your ribcage. They allow us to breathe by gaseous exchange of oxygen with carbon dioxide. Your lungs warm and humidify the air too! You breathe 7 litres of air every minute, and the surface area of your lungs is the same size as a tennis court! You lose about 400ml of water vapour daily, just from exhaling. 14% of UK adults have a chronic lung condition.
In TCM the lungs are called a ‘tender organ’ as they are more susceptible to invasion by the outside world. The lungs are paired with the large intestine (colon). Both are linked with immunity. The colon is the ‘bin man’! If you can’t eliminate waste, then small parasites or toxins build up making you more susceptible to diseases.
If you suffer with COPD/ asthma, this can indicate weak lung Qi. Having a strong rhythm to your breathing or if you do any breathwork practice this helps the lung energy to form a good defense against disease. Weak lung Qi can lead to water retention or painful urination, as it is associated with water balance as well as the kidney energy. Lung energy manifests in the hair and skin. This is called the Lung Network: skin = bowels = lungs. Healthy skin is considered a direct reflection of strong lung Qi. Skin cells have a similar structure to lung cells. Acne can indicate excess ‘heat’ in the lung Qi. Hair that is dry or breaks and splits easily can also be sign of weak lung Qi.
Lung energy ‘opens’ into the nose. The nose is a filter for the lungs, and it stops infection and other irritants going deeper into the lungs or body. Lung Qi gives us our ‘street smarts’ as we can sniff out what’s seems right or wrong. You could say it’s our ‘gut feeling’! Exhaling is about letting go and the emotion associated with lung energy is grief. Nat mur is one of our top grief remedies and they have trouble letting go. Similarly, Ignatia is a fantastic grief remedy which has the keynote of long deep sighing. Touching on the colon as the ‘bin man’, you may refer to someone who has trouble letting go, as ‘anally retentive’. So often our language shows us our emotions.
Here are my 5 top tips to keep your lungs healthy:
- Breathing exercises or regular breathwork practice.
I have covered some in my Mental Health E-book. A simple one is box breathing. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4 and then hold for a count of 4.
- Increase fibre in your diet.
This may sound strange but as the lungs are linked to the colon, keeping your bowels moving is going to help your lung energy. High fibre foods examples are sweetcorn, peas, berries, plums, figs and celery.
- Drink enough fluid.
As I mentioned above, you lose 400ml of water vapour daily from just breathing. Your body needs a further 500ml for normal cells functions. So, make sure you are drinking enough water, squash or herbal tea. This will help your skin and bowels too.
- Let it go.
There are many ways to let our emotions go and not try and control things. Going with the flow or being more flexible with your plans. Journalling is a great way to get things out on paper. You can then safely burn this to release the energy too.
- Quit smoking or vaping.
Your lungs are delicate and fragile. Smoking cigarettes releases approximately 4,000 chemicals into the lungs, 10% of which are known carcinogens like carbon monoxide, camper gas lighter fluid and formaldehyde. Yuck! Vaping is NOT better. Nicotine is still a highly addictive substance which affects your heart. Vapers can develop a condition called ‘popcorn’ lung which affects how well you can easily extract oxygen from the atmosphere.
If the Ignatia or Nat mur descriptions resonated with you, or you want another approach to helping your lung energy, please contact me for homeopathic help!