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Samuel John

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Published on: 19 Jun 2017 by samuel

About Lung in Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine

The Chinese believe that the body is made of two opposing forces, which they call the yin and yang. Yin and yang have to be balanced for a person to be healthy. When these forces are in disharmony, a person gets ill.

 

The Chinese also believe that the body is made of a system of interdependent parts. When one of these parts does not function as it’s supposed to, it disrupts the balance of yin and yang. Chinese medical practitioners offer their diagnoses by identifying which parts of your body are causing that disharmony. This is called symptom differentiation. In this way, doctor in Chinese medicine clinic targets specific conditions to restore the balance.

 

In Western medicine, the lungs belong to the respiratory system, 'which is responsible for the exchange of air in the body. Air comes in through the nostrils or the mouth, moves down the windpipe (the trachea), to the air tubes in the chest (the bronchi and bronchioles), and finally to the lung tissue. When we breathe in, we take in oxygen. When we breathe out, we get rid of carbon dioxide.

 

In Chinese medicine, the Lung takes in pure Qi from the air and gets rid of impure Qi from our body. The Lung and Spleen/Pancreas (digestive system) have a close relationship: the pure Qi from the air combines with the Qi from food to form the nourishing Qi that circulates in our bodies. After forming Qi, the Lung then has the important function of governing or overseeing its movement through the body. The external orifice for the Lung is the nose.

 

An intimate relationship between the Lung and the Kidney also exists in Chinese medicine, in terms of the proper movement of Qi. Just as blood needs to flow in a certain direction, so does Qi in order for the systems of the body to be healthy. The Lung moves Qi in the downward direction, and the Kidney keeps it from moving upward abnormally. Wheezing and vomiting occur when Qi strays upward. In biochemical terms, wheezing can result in a respiratory acid-base imbalance, and vomiting can result in a metabolic acid-base imbalance.

 

While recognizing that the skin also "breathes," Western medicine considers the skin to be a separate organ from the lungs.

 

Chinese medicine incorporates the Skin as the external aspect of the Lung. The close relationship between the Lung and the Skin is evidenced by the frequent occurrence of both respiratory and skin symptoms during the same illness. We see the identical pattern among some Western-designated illnesses; for example, eczema often accompanies asthma.

 

Lung corresponds with the element Metal. Metal symbolically represents organization and manifests in the body as the rhythmic regularity of breathing and the specific molecular structure of molecules. The emotions associated with Metal are sadness and grief. When our Lung is in a healthy state of balance, we are organized and feel normal sadness if it's appropriate for a situation. When our Lung is not in balance, we have trouble getting organized and tend to feel sad and maybe even depressed. The taste corresponding with Metal/Lung is pungent or spicy, like the taste of fumes given off by burning metal.

 

The Lung is also of paramount importance in housing the Corporeal Soul, the Soul of our physical body that enters us at birth and dies with us. It is closely linked in Chinese medicine to an entity called Essence, which resides in the Kidneys and, among other things, transmits qualities and information from our ancestors. The Corporeal Soul gives us our physical sensations, both in health and in illness, which explains how the itchiness of eczema can be associated with Lung disorders. Our other Soul, the Ethereal Soul, resides in the Liver Yin. It also enters our body at birth, forms our connection with other Souls during our lifetime, and returns to the Soul World after our death. These two Souls define our Spirit, making us whole beings of Body, Mind, and Spirit. They have no religious connotation and therefore no parallel in Western thought.

 

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