onsdag 20 april 2011

More on the Lungs and Lung channel

I meant to do this before but didn´t have time. Oh well. Humans still have lungs and lung points and lung channels, so let´s do it now. Let´s do the show right here.

The lungs are often the first channel taught in Chinese medicine. Same in the Internal Martial Art of Xingyi, where the Metal Element, which the Lungs belong to, is the first learned and the one the practitioner will put the most work into. In Xingyi it´s called Piquan, Splitting Fist.

The lungs are seen as very important because they take external energy from air and refine it in the body, and they produce the weiqi, the Protective Energy, the most external layer of energy that Chinese medicine sees as a first, energetic layer of the immune system (what New Age people call ”aura”, and I don´t). The lungs are linked to the Metal element. The Five Elements in Chinese medicine contain huge amounts of information; we will look at the basics in a post further on. Metal is the element that creates boundaries, lines, precision. When the weiqi and Metal element works well, you have a stable, neutral boundary with your surroundings. Everybody is born with a makeup of three of five elements who shape our body, mind, energy, and personality. People who have Metal as their primary element like things in straight lines, tend to be fairly black-and-white about life and often say ”No, that´s incorrect.” When balanced in a person, Metal has a great capacity for logical, incisive thought and a brilliant ability to think. Metal, when it works well, is drawn to systems, both understanding them and seeing the beauty in them.

The main Lung channel itself goes from the lungs and out into the thumbs. It has eleven points on it. It links further to the large intestine, and the Large Intestine channel and points, just like the Metal element contains a process between Lung and Large Intestine.

Points on the Lung channel are often used for clearing up and balancing the lungs and their organic connection with the rest of the person. This can also be done through supporting them or opening them from other points on other channels. On the lung channel itself, you have points that will open the lungs (it usually takes only a few seconds before someone starts taking deeper, freer breaths), that can clear heat out of the lungs, relax them or balance them with the season we are in or going towards. Depending on the skill of the practitioner, points here can also be used for releasing locked grief in the lungs, just like with several other points on other channels. If we take Peter Deadman´s book on acupuncture points as an example, the section on the Lung Channel, its points, their various functions and ways of weaving them together, covers 18 A4 pages. In Classical Chinese medicine, this would be seen as the very basics on the subject. (The whole book is a nifty 675 pages, making it a pet peeve among us students to lug around London.)

Let´s use the current season as an example. Each of the Elements are linked to a season. Right now, we are still mainly in that of Metal: autumn. We are heading towards winter, linked to Water. Old chinese medicine would use precisely applied acupuncture to balance the shift between those two seasons in a patient, so as to minimize any health-issues that might arise from a person´s health not being in phase with the season. It would also clear up the emotions linked to that season, and let the person move more in harmony with it and appreciate it for what it is. Ideally, treatments like this are done starting two-three weeks before the season has fully shifted. For the autumn, Metal and the Lungs, an important issue would be that the system is healthy and protected, and that there are as few imbalances in the lungs as possible before the winter. Otherwise, a cough or lung imbalance in the autumn easily transfers and becomes something worse and more permanent in winter.

The lungs are linked to the emotions of grief and sadness, and to the joy of being alive. We need to be able to feel grief, it´s an important part of life, this fact that it will end. But if grief is locked, kept, held, ignored, it can eventually damage the functions of the lungs and weaken them. If the Metal element works well, there is a clarity and an ability to really enjoy that we are alive, alive, now, alive and know this, and know that we will die, but now, right now, we are alive. That is the joy of Metal. Alive, on this edge of life and death.