In alternative medicine, fall is the season of the lungs. Lungs are large organs, taking up the majority of the chest cavity, and are the site of exchange between the inner and outer world. In Chinese medicine, the lungs are said to be the place where the Qi (pronounced chi, and loosely meaning life force and source of movement) outside the body meets the Qi inside the body.
In Chinese medicine, the health of your skin and your immunity largely depend on the health of your lungs. Lung tissue is very delicate and prone to irritation, especially as the weather cools. Here are some tips to keep your lungs in great shape!
1. Reduce exposure to chlorine.
Chlorine exposure doesn’t just come from our drinking water — we can absorb and inhale it, too. Did you know that a five-minute shower will expose you to more chlorine than a day’s worth of drinking tap water? Invest in a shower filter (they're available at many hardware stores at an affordable price).
2. Practice deep breathing through your nose.
The passageways of your nasal cavity help to warm, humidify and purify incoming air. By breathing through your nose, the air that eventually reaches your lungs will have fewer irritants (such as bacteria and foreign debris), and will be warm and damp. Try this: take a big inhalation through your nose, and feel your rib cage expanding in both your front and back body. Exhale and repeat.
3. Avoid mucous forming foods.
More mucus in your lungs means less lung capacity. It's important to eat a clean diet and avoid the following mucus-forming foods: sugar, anything white or processed, dairy, anything you're sensitive or allergic to (e.g. wheat, dairy, soy), chemicals in food.
4. Avoid cold foods and drinks.
Lung tissue is especially sensitive and cold food and drink will constrict the delicate lung tissue. Embrace warming, cooked foods during the colder weather, such as warm tea, soup and roasted vegetables.
5. Look at the emotional connection.
According to Louise Hay, author of Heal Your Body, the lungs are related to the emotions depression, fear and grief. You can nurture them by repeating the following affirmation:
I have the capacity to take in the fullness of life. I lovingly live life to the fullest.