Lung & Large Intestine Imbalances
When I first began learning about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) through my acupressure courses, I was amazed at how it changed the way I looked at pretty much everything regarding health. I began to view issues as all being connected instead of just these random things that just seem to go wrong. For example, when I brought a new horse home several years ago who was coughing and he experienced impaction colic (requiring surgery) the next week, I saw the connection–the lung and large intestine are very closely related in TCM.
In hopes of educating others on how health is viewed in TCM, I’ve decided to do a 6-part series on imbalances in the horses, starting with this one.
TCM is quite complex and I won’t be able to explain all of the concepts behind it in just a few blog posts, but what I can do is go through the twelve major meridians (energetic pathways), explaining the function of each, imbalances which may occur within the meridian, and how those imbalances often manifest. I will also offer a few acupressure points that can help.
It’s been awhile since I’ve written about acupressure and TCM, but to refresh your memory (or just to get a description of the basics of it), I highly recommend reading this post.
So as I stated before, there are twelve major meridians (energetic pathways) in the horse, as well as in any animal. Each meridian is named after the organ with which it is associated. Each meridian is also paired with a sister meridian, as these two meridians share a close connection. The sister meridians are often worked together during the same acupressure session because they are considered a reflection of one another. For example, if one sister meridian has an ‘excess’ imbalance (excess of chi energy), the other will have a deficiency imbalance.
Something which I also found quite interesting about the overall flow of chi (life energy) is that it takes 24 hours to circulate throughout the entire meridian system. It will pass through each meridian during an approximate two-hour time period each day and this time period remains consistent. In Western terminology, it’s known the circadian rhythm (which I’ve even written about in an article for The Horse). Everything starts over at 3:00 a.m. For me personally, I’ve often found that when I have an imbalance, I’ll wake up right around 3:00 a.m. nearly every night.
So if we start at the beginning of this flow of chi, we have the Lung and Large Intestine meridians. It’s important to note that imbalances which occur in the different meridians may have to do with the function of the organ itself, or they have more to do with a blockage of chi in a certain location on the meridian.
The Lung Meridian
The Lung meridian begins internally and surfaces in the junction where the chest meets the inside of the foreleg. (Lung 1). The meridian then flows upward at an angle, down the foreleg, and down to the inside of the hoof, just above the coronary band.
The function of the Lung as seen in TCM is to regulate the skin. This includes body hair and the ability to sweat. The lungs also take Chi from the air and distribute it throughout the body. Because of this, the Lung meridian is said to rule Chi.
Symptoms of an Imbalance in the Lung Meridian
- respiratory conditions
- chest pain
- knee problems
- dry skin
- dull coat
Beneficial Acu-point for Lung Imbalances
The Large Intestine Meridian
The Large Intestine meridian begins near where the Lung meridian ends, at the front inside corner of the foreleg, just above the coronary band (Large Intestine 1). It flows up the inside middle of the foreleg to the ‘knee’, then crosses over the ‘knee’ and flows up on the outer part of the foreleg, up the shoulder, across the neck (just under the cervical vertebrae), crosses the jaw, and ends at the bottom of the nostril on that side.
The large intestine’s function is to receive food and water from the small intestine, absorbing some nutrients and excreting the rest. The Large Intestine meridian helps to rid the body of stagnant chi energy (through excretion) as well. It also helps to support the lung with respiration and immune system regulation.
Symptoms of Large Intestine Imbalance
- constipation or diarrhea
- respiratory issues
- tight muscles in neck
- skin problems
- weakened immune system
Beneficial Points for Large Intestine Imbalances
Stay tuned for the next part in this series which will cover Stomach and Spleen imbalances.