Reoccurring Colds, Chronic Bronchitis
and How Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Can Help, Part 1
There are many reasons that the lungs become susceptible to sickness. The lungs often become weak due to damage caused by a serious illness, especially if the illness was never completely resolved. Many people report that they were rarely sick, until they got one bad cold or flu, and now they are sick often. This is because the integrity of the lung tissue was compromised through the illness causing a person to be prone to reoccurring sickness. A Chinese medicine view is that the “Qi” of the lungs and the “Wei Qi” defense was damaged, causing the lungs to be vulnerable to external pathogens. There can also be lung weakness in individuals who have or have had asthma, had a serious illness when young, were exposed to toxic environmental pollutants or molds that damaged the lungs, or have a constitutional lung weakness through their family line. If a person has a tendency to get frequent colds/flu and they also have poor diet and lifestyle habits, it will further increase the possibility of ongoing, or prolonged illnesses (esp. during the cold season).
Another reason for lung weakness that is often overlooked stems from grief that is unexpressed or over-expressed. In Asian medicine the lungs and grief are seen as interconnected. The lungs are weakened by excessive grief that is unexpressed and held in the body, as well as by grief that is prolonged and over-expressed. It is important that emotions such as grief are expressed to an appropriate extent, so that this emotion does not become stuck in the body, or become an overdeveloped pathway. On the flip side, as recognized and worked with in Five Elements acupuncture, an individual with a constitutional lung weakness can have a propensity towards excessive or deficient grief, hopelessness, and/ or weeping. Often times the individual with lung weakness will demonstrate a concave chest, to varying degrees. Opening the chest through breath work, walking up steep hills, doing regular chest opening exercises, as well as finding supportive avenues to work with grief, can be helpful in reestablishing the health of the lungs.
…To be continued in Part 2:
Yasmin Spencer LAc, DAOM, Dipl. OM
1460 G Street, Arcata, CA 95521
- Five Branches University masters degree (MTCM) and doctorate degree (DAOM) course work