lungs_govern_qi_and_respiration

1. LUNGS GOVERN QI AND RESPIRATION

This is the most important Lung function since, from the air, the Lungs extract “clean Qi” for the body which then combines with Food-Qi coming from the Spleen. Let us look at the two aspects of this vital work:

a. When we say that the Lungs govern respiration we mean that they inhale (prana vayu) “pure Qi” (air) and exhale (udana vayu)“dirty Qi”. The constant exchange and renewal of Qi performed by the Lungs ensures the proper functioning of all the body's physiological processes which take Qi as their basis. The “Simple Questions” (Su Wen) in chapter 5 says: “Heavenly Qi goes to the Lung”. 2 “Heavenly Qi” here indicates air.

b. The second way in which Lungs govern Qi is in the actual process of formation of Qi. As we saw in the chapter on Qi (see p. 42), Food-Qi is extracted from food by the Spleen. This is directed to the Lungs where it combines with the inhaled air to form what is called Gathering Qi (Zong Qi).

Source: Giovanni Maciocia, Foundations of Chinese Medicine, 1989: p. 83

Because this process takes place in the chest, the chest is also called “Sea of Qi” or “Upper Sea of Qi” (as opposed to the Lower Sea of Qi below the navel). The Gathering Qi is sometimes also called “Big Qi of the chest”.

After its formation, the Lung spreads Qi all over the body to nourish all tissues (dhatus) and promote all physiological processes. The “Spiritual Axis” in chapter 56 says: “Big Qi gathers together without moving to accumulate in the chest; it is called the Sea of Qi which comes out of the Lungs, goes to the throat and facilitates inhalation (prana vayu) and exhalation (udana vayu)”. Gathering Qi (or Big Qi) resides in the chest and aids the Lung and Heart functions, promoting good circulation to the limbs and controlling the strength of voice. Weak Lung-Qi can therefore cause tiredness, weak voice and breathlessness.

Because of their role in extracting Qi from air, the Lungs are the most external of the Yin organs (Zang); they are the connection between the body and the outside world. For this reason, the Lungs are easily attacked by exterior pathogenic factors and are sometimes referred to as the “tender” organ, i.e. delicate and vulnerable to invasion by climatic factors.

Source: Giovanni Maciocia, Foundations of Chinese Medicine, 1989: p. 84

Domination Qi and controlling respiration When dominating Qi is concerned there are two aspects indicated: dominating the (Qi of) respiration and dominating the Qi of the whole body. Dominating the Qi of respiration means that the lung is a respiratory organ through which the clean Qi (the air) from the exterior and the Qi from the interior can be mingled. Via the lung, the human body inhales the clean Qi from the natural environment, the atmosphere on one hand and also exhales waste Qi from the interior of the body on the other. This is known as “getting rid of the stale and taking in the fresh.” Or it is also known that the Qi of the heaven is in communication with the lung.

Whereas dominating the Qi of the whole body means that the function of lung in respiration greatly influences the functional activities of the whole body and is closely related to the formation of pectoral Qi, which is formed from the combination of the refined essential substance of water and food, and the clean Qi inhaled by the lung. It accumulates in the chest, ascends to the throat to dominate respiration, and is distributed to the whole body in order to maintain the normal functions of the tissues (dhatus) and organs. When the function of the lung in dominating Qi is normal, the passage of Qi will not obstructed and the respiration will be normal and smooth. While the deficiency of lung Qi may lead to general lassitude, feeble speech, weak respiration and shortness of breath (dyspnea)

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lungs_govern_qi_and_respiration.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/26 18:12 (external edit)