Caring for the lungs
I hope, as far as possible, that you are continuing to stay fit, healthy, sane and safe during this time of lockdown!
This post is focused on caring for your lungs, which are a vital part of your body’s defence against pathogens. In Chinese Medicine, it’s believed the lungs circulate ‘wei qi’ that protects against harmful ‘xie qi’– such as viruses and bacteria. The protective ‘wei qi’ is circulated by the lungs on the exterior surface of the body and between the skin and muscles to keep unwanted ‘guests’, like coronavirus, at bay.
The nose and throat are the exterior of our body, and symptoms suffered here, such as runny nose, sneezing and congestion, are considered in Chinese Medicine to be the first manifestations of wei qi defending against xie qi. If the xie qi is stronger then the interior of the body – the lungs – can be affected, which can be more harmful and difficult to treat. We’re seeing this with Covid-19, which can get through our first layers of defence and enter the lungs, causing a severe dry cough and in the worst cases, pneumonia and fibrosis.
Caring for your lungs
Nourishing the lungs is an important part of strengthening your body’s immune defences. Here are some tips…
Breathe well - strong lung qi is helped by deep breathing. Take good, relaxed inhalations and strong exhalations. Exhale for a little longer than you inhale. And take plenty of fresh air!
Regular exercise - can improve the circulation and volume of ‘qi’ within the body, and develop the physical capacity of the lungs.
Keep warm - to conserve lung energy - bundle up in chilly weather, especially around your feet, middle, arms and face, and wear a scarf.
Keep your nose and throat clear - massaging up and down the sides of the nose can help, or use a Himalayan salt inhaler, or neti pot (buy on internet) to flush out impurities. Gargling with lemon or salt in warm water is also great, or make tea from dried thyme to loosen phlegm (add cinnamon and cloves for an extra boost, and honey and lemon for taste!)
A nourishing diet - pungent foods such as horseradish, garlic, leeks and onions are very good for the lungs, as are and white and light-coloured foods such as radish, almonds, mushrooms, parsnips, pears, potatoes, rice and white meat. Choose organic, if you can, and add some sprouted grains and seeds for an extra boost. Drink plenty of warm drinks, and avoid very cold foods. Take time to eat slowly, and enjoy the simple ritual of nourishing your body.
Dry brush your skin - brush from chest to shoulder and down the inside of your arm, then from your hand up the outside of the arm to the shoulder (on both sides), then down back and outside of the legs and up the inside of the legs to your abdomen. Brush in a clockwise direction around the abdomen.
Pay attention to your emotions - ignoring our emotions and bottling things up without release can be harmful. Acknowledging and letting go of grief and sadness is especially important for the lungs. In fact, all aspects of letting go can help – a good reason to de-clutter!
Stop, and breathe - find ways (no matter how small) to stop, breathe, and take a moment to re-centre. Singing is great for supporting the lungs, as are all voice and breath exercises, including Qigong.
For those of you who are interested, here is a really excellent 20 minute Qigong video produced by a colleague (Peter Deadman) which you could follow at home which addresses caring for your lungs. If you give it a go, let me know how you find it!!
It’s been lovely to hear what some of you are getting up to at the moment, including…
Gardening – great idea and a great source of Vit D that is so good for the immune system
More home cooking and fewer processed foods!
Having a clear out, and taking care of old paperwork and admin
I am taking care of my mum but doing some online exercise classes with the gym I am a member of, trying to do some painting and needle work, and online learning to fill my brain for when I get back to treating you all!
As always, if you’ve any questions or concerns then do get in touch – and I’ll happily share some more suggestions in my next post.