In Traditional Chinese Medicine, fall is the season associated with the lung and large intestine energetic meridians. These two meridians work in a symbiotic way to control the immune system from both the inside and outside of your body.
The large intestine channel runs up the arms, across the shoulders, up the neck, over the face and ends next to the nose. As many people now know, the health of our large intestine and gastrointestinal tract overall plays a big part in our immunity. Keeping the large intestine channel warm and preventing exposure from the elements will help to keep you healthy. Cold pathogens can enter the body through the pores or nasal cavity. By wrapping the neck and shoulders with a scarf during the fall months, you can help ward off the pathogens and prevent catching a cold or the flu.
The large intestine also has the function of transporting all waste products out of the body or to other areas for excretion. The large intestine absorbs liquid and releases anything that is no longer needed. This can be food, toxins or even emotions. This helps to cleanse the body and mind.
The lungs are the paired organ system to the large intestine in TCM. The lungs have a very special kind of energy, or qi, called the Wei Qi (pronounced “way chee”). Wei Qi is similar to what Western medicine calls the immune system. Wei Qi provides a barrier that protects the body from pathogens. When the Wei Qi is depleted or low, then the body is unable to fight off infections. Strong, healthy lungs enhance the functions of the whole body. Lung health can be weakened by poor food choices, pollution, poor genetics, emotional stress, and even unexpressed emotions such as grief or sadness.
The lungs are known as the Prime Minister in TCM. They control breath and energy, while assisting the heart with the circulation of blood throughout the body. The lungs also control the skin, which breathes through the opening and closing of the pores, helping to regulate body temperature. The pores regulate body temperature both through perspiration and shivering. This mechanism is another way the lungs help to protect the body – when we perspire, we usually release toxins from the body. Fewer toxins means less chance of getting sick.
As fall approaches, it is a good idea to start focusing on the health of your lungs and large intestine. One way to do this is by getting regular acupuncture treatments. Check in with us if you’d like to schedule extra appointments this fall to support your lungs and large intestine!