The theories of Chinese medicine suggest that each season relates to a different organ system. The Fall is the season of the Lungs. It’s the time of year when people are easily affected by environmental influences. Great changes are taking place in the weather and plant life around us. Some people refer to it as the “flu season.”
The lungs are called the “delicate protective organ,” because they are the only organ that comes into direct contact with the external environment. This can make them vulnerable to the environmental influences which can lead to colds, the flu or allergies.
The lungs are also involved in the production of Wei Qi. Wei Qi is a similar concept to what Western medicine refers to as the immune system. Wei Qi provides the body with an “immune system-like” barrier that protects the body from harmful pathogenic factors that can enter into it, and which may eventually lead to illness and/or disease.
Healthy and strong lungs can enhance the proper functions of the entire body. Through an intricate process, the Lungs extract “pure essence” from the air we breathe and combine it with the food we ingest to produce the Wei Qi. This immunity-like system is then circulated throughout the entire body, providing it with a first line of defense.
When the lungs are functioning correctly, we remain healthy, and potentially free from illness, however, when our lungs become weakened or imbalanced, our body may not have the capacity to produce the correct amount of Wei Qi. When this occurs, the stage for “catching” a cold, the flu or allergies is set. Weak lungs and Wei Qi can also lead to asthma, eczema, dry skin and other problems.
The lungs are negatively affected by many factors: an improper diet, emotional stress, unexpressed or long-held grief or sadness, inherited constitution, smoking, bad air or pollution.
The ancient classic text, Zhen Jing, states, “If the lungs function well, it can activate the flow of Qi, and nourish the whole body with Wei Qi, as rain nourishes young crops.” Proper lung function is necessary to keep us healthy and to help ward off illness and disease.