When considering the relationship between Qigong and bronchitis and how the practice of Qigong can help relieve bronchitis, we need to think about what bronchitis actually is from a Chinese medicine (TCM) perspective. This post will examine the relationship between the organs associated with the lungs, as well as the habitual emotional patterns around the lungs. A Qigong lung routine will be given at the end of the post in both written and video form.
What does bronchitis and the lungs relate to?
In traditional Chinese medicine, bronchitis relates to the emotions of sadness, grief and depression or an inability to feel inspired about life. If lung function or lung energy flow has been compromised in some way, it can relate to a variety of issues in the body such as asthma, increased frequency of cold and flus, low energy and even poor kidney function. In TCM there is a flow between what is considered the five major organs in the body which are lungs, kidneys, liver, heart and spleen/stomach in that specific order. All of these organs have a paired organ, so in the case of the lungs, the large intestine is the pair of the lungs. This is because they are both major excretion organs. Therefore improving lung function and energy flow can have a direct impact on the large intestine and improve conditions such as constipation or diarrhea or other large intestine problems.
What does kidney have to do with the lungs?
The five major organs in Chinese medicine are related to the way the energy flows in the body. The lungs are considered the master Qi gates (master energy gates) and are the first point in which energy is transferred to our body. Sometimes even if a person is not outwardly experiencing a lung problem, but has kidney problems it can link back to a stagnation of energy in the lungs therefore not being able to ‘feed’ energy into the kidneys. The aim of Qigong is to get the energy flowing to enhance every system of the body and bring them all into balance.
It’s all connected.
Western medicine looks at bronchitis from the perspective of lung inflammation and excess phlegm therefore restricting the airways. Medicine is prescribed to open up the airways and this can be life saving in the worst conditions. However, it does not address the root cause of which there could be many according to TCM. Chinese medicine follows the guidelines of five element theory of metal, water, wood, fire and earth. Each element relates to one of the five major organs mentioned above. The lungs relate to the metal element. Metal relates to the process of alchemy-not only in nature but in the body where an oxygen molecule binds to the iron in the haemoglobin molecule (hence the metal element) and transports oxygen around our body.
How does Qigong help bronchitis specifically?
The practice of Qigong enhances the transferal of oxygen within the body therefore improving over all immune function. It does this by increasing lung capacity, stretching the connecting muscles and tissues around the lungs such as the intercostal muscles as well as improving over all body posture. This results in easier breathing and an enhanced immune function which will result in less phlegm being produced in the lungs.
For more specfic lung exercises, try the following routine:
Pulling down the heavens:
- Stand with feet about hip distance apart feet parallel.
- Inhale and circle your arms out and up and exhale hards come down in front of your face with palms facing down to ground
- Repeat X 10.
Seperating the heavens with lateral bend:
- Draw arms up over head with palms facing up, then turn your palms up to face the ceiling when they’re at the top.
- Exhale left arm down and stretch your palms away from each other as you bend your spine to the left and inhale. Left palm faces to the ground while right palm faces to the ceiling. Feel the stretch in the right side of your rib cage.
- Switch your arms over so your left arm is up with palm facing up and right arm down, palm facing down. Spiral your pinky finger towards you as you bring the top hand down.
- Inhale as you stretch, exhale as your hands switch.
Activate the Qi
- Make a fist with each of your hands and begin to thump on your chest up and down you sternum and lung area as if you are Tarzan (no sound affects needed!) Breath deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Do this for about 30 seconds.
- Hold out your right arm and knock with your left fist just inder the right collar bone
- Slap down the inside of your arm down to the thumb, then come back up and repeat a few more times.
- Repeat the same on the other side.
- This activates the lung and heart points under the collar bone as well as the lung meridian line down the arm.
- Stop to notice the buzzing and tingling in your body here. You have just activated your energy or ‘qi’.
Hands glide accross the water.
- Stand with your knees slight bent, arms reach out in front of you just below shoulder height, palms face down to the ground.
- Glide your hips back so you are bending at the waist as you inhale and spread arms out to your sides palms still face down.
- Exhale turn your palms up to face the sky as you draw your hands together and bring your pinky fingers to touch.
- Repeat the movement.
- This movement opens up the lungs and heart
Scattering the Qi.
- Bring your arms up overhead and then let them flop down as you exhale where one arm swings in front of you and the other behind you.
- Inhale and bring your arms up overhead again, then exhale let your arms flop the other way-one arm in front the other to the back.
- Bend your knees as your arms come down
- Add in a twist as your arms come down. Twist to the direction of your back arm. Repeat the other side.
- Imagine the legs are like a little pump. Be natural with the breath.
- Stop to notice.