The Meridians and Channels – Lung/Large Intestine

This month’s “In Health” blog is focused on the Lung and Large Intestine channels. I’m kind of pushing the envelope with the monthly blog thingy. There are only a few days left until June. Crazy. Let’s jump right into it.

I’ll start with the Lung, which is the Yin channel of the Lung and Large Intestine pair. The Lung, obviously, governs respiration. However, it has an intimate connection with the Kidney channel in regards to breathing. I’ll explain that when we get to the Kidney’s blog. The Lung is in charge of the dispersing and descending of Qi. If you think about this in common sense terms, it means you breath oxygen into the lungs to oxygenate the blood and stay alive. Breathing is a big issue for most of the world, nowadays. We hold our breath, breathe shallowly, breathe in pollution/toxins (pretty much unavoidable), and chest-breathe, as well. If we are not breathing correctly, it can lead to a number of issues. Anxiety, stress, and even blood pressure is very connected to how we breathe. Think about when you’re stressed or anxious. What do we do? We carry our shoulders high and tense-up. Just breathe. You will be pleasantly surprised with the result. When an acupuncturist asks you how your breathing is, it’s always for a reason. The Lungs are considered delicate in TCM because they are exposed to the environment. Common symptoms of Lung Qi Deficiency is getting frequent colds, nasal stuffiness, or frequent sneezing in some cases. It’s the first place pathogens typically come into contact with us. So, our immune system is high dependent on the strength of the Lungs.

The Lung opens into the nose. That’s pretty obvious, right? It controls our sense of smell. It’s also responsible for the voice. If someone has a really soft voice, it can sometimes (not all the time) indicate a Lung disharmony from a TCM perspective. Singers tend to need their Lung channels focused on because of the stress that’s placed on their voice and throat. Of course, this “stress” is good because singers provide a lot of people comfort through their music. The skin and hair are nourished by the Lung channel through the spreading of fluids to the skin. Impaired Lung function can result in malnourished body hair and skin. Fluids and edema are regulated by the Lung, Spleen, and Kidney. This will require a separate blog post in the future to explain because it can get a little complicated.

The emotion associated with the Lung is sadness or grief. Grief is said to “deplete one’s Qi”. Depression is often treated through the Lung channel in conjunction with other channels, of course. Depression affects approximately 15 million people a year in the U.S. If you are someone suffering from depression, try your best to get out into nature (and exercise, if you can). Research has shown positive benefits, specifically for depression, with being in nature. Get back to your roots, pun slightly intended. Come get some acupuncture, too!

The Large Intestine is the Yang channel of the Lung and Large Intestine pairing. It controls the transportation and descending of waste…I think you kind of get my drift on that one. Sometimes, constipation can be a result of a Lung/Large Intestine disharmony. On a funny/slightly serious note, the Large Intestine is in charge of “letting go”, whether it be emotions/past experiences or, well, you know…

That’s all folks! I hope to see you soon!

In Health,

Adam Gloyeske, L.Ac.