torsdag 21 april 2011

The Small Intestine Channel and the Large Intestine Channel

Aren´t really linked, but I realized I forgot to do posts about them so we will neatly fold them into this same post, just like they are so neatly folded inside our bodies.

The large intestine is linked to the Metal Element; the small intestine is linked to the Fire Element. This goes into a coming post on the zangfu, the internal organs of Chinese medicine. The large intestine is the paired organ of the lungs, in Metal; the small intestine is the paired organ of the heart, in Fire. (...which goes into another post about the basics of the Five Elements which is...ummm, being written as we speak...)

Metal and the lungs are seen as an Element that refines. The lungs take energy from the air (kongqi, ”air energy”) and converts it to usable energy inside the body, an alchemical process in itself. The Metal Element concerns itself with discrimination, in the original connotation of the word, dividing things up to make them more correct and precise, refining them. The large intestine here is seen as refining the crude matter of our body into faeces and then allowing our body to release it and be free of it – discriminating, getting rid of that which is no longer useful, separating. When the Metal Element is unbalanced, people can often get stuck in just the lung part, which is very cerebral in Metal, and start ignoring and forgetting about the ”cruder” more physical part of the large intestine. From a purely Chinese medical viewpoint, this will often bring with it lack of working large intestines, and thus problems with digestion and stools, and more problems later with the functions of the lungs themselves in form of tension or inbalances in breathing, clear mental ability and free airways and healthy skin.

The Large Intestine channel is a yang channel that begins in the hands. It has 20 points and on it we find one of the most used points in acupuncture: Large Intestine 4, Hegu, Joining Valley, which is in the web between the thumb and index finger. This area is called Hukou in the Internal Martial Arts and qigong: the Tiger´s Mouth. It is always worked with in specific ways, sometimes kept open, sometimes partially closed, depending on what training is done, and there is always a slight movement in it and the hand all through the training. Most training is done with the space between index and thumb softly open, as this opens qi out into the hands and activates the Lung and Large Intestine meridians as well. Some Internal Martial Arts use it in ways to strengthen sinews, qi or tendons in various ways, but most of it in the beginning is done with it softly open while the hand simultaneously is being relaxed. The Large Intestine channel ends at the base of the nail of the thumb (or begins, if we´re going by how the points and flows go, same as for Small Intestine).

The small intestine is linked to the Fire Element where it pairs with the heart – the heart is the zang organ, the small intestine the fu. It receives food and drink after digestion by the stomach and spleen. It then separates this into pure and impure; the pure is sent to the spleen to nourish the body – ying qi, the nourishing qi. The impure is sent to the large intestine to be excreted. Heat in the heart, in Chinese medicine, can be transferred to its paired organ, the small intestine. Heat is one of several factors, the so called six external pathogens, liu xie, who can affect our health both from the outside and inside. The Small Intestine channel has 18 points and ends at the base of the nail of the little finger on the hands.