Our third Lung
"The skin is the outermost surface of the self, providing an elastic envelope that contains us, shielding against intrusion. The Lung transpires across the dermal layer: through perspiration, plus opening and closing the pores, it constantly adjusts the moisture and temperature of the body. Like a screen of variable porosity, the Lung tightens and thickens the skin to ward off undesirable influences and seal in valuable internal resources, or it loosens and thins the skin to release unwanted internal substances or feelings and permit penetration of desirable influences” ~ Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine. New York: Ballantine, 1992. Print. The above passage shows the amazing similarities between the role of the Lung and skin and why the skin is referred to as the third Lung in TICM. Skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and dry skin are very common. Rosacea is the term used to describe an uneven and often permanent blush across a person’s face, which is often accompanied by small bumps and visible Blood vessels. Eczema makes your skin red and itchy. It is most common in children but can occur at any age. Psoriasis is the result of excess skin production that forms red or whitish scaly patches that can be itchy and painful. Though these uncomfortable conditions can cause distress over their appearance, there are measures you can take to combat your symptoms. Organs have relationships with one another, that they have nurturing relationships or cooperative relationships. The nurturing relationship is like a mother-child, where the mother organ provides energy to fortify the growth and health of her child. In this case, the mother of the Lung is the Spleen. In addition to the health of the Spleen, your body is asking you to pay attention to your Large Intestine as that is the partner organ of the Lung. Making health conscious decisions with the Lung and Large Intestine in mind will heal your skin.
Tips for Lung health: let go of items and emotions that you no longer need. Donate and get rid of old clutter in your home including clothing, papers and items that are taking up unnecessary space. Bundle up in windy and cold weather, especially your chest and neck because part of the Lung’s job is to protect you from pathogens, you can save Lung energy by covering up your skin. The essence of the Lung and Large Intestine are metal, grief, spicy, crying, autumn and white to name a few. Here are some specific foods to help heal: cauliflower, almonds, daikon radish, potatoes, turnip, parsnip, rutabaga, apple, pear, rice, oats, sesame seeds, onion, garlic, and white peppercorns. Adding fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi aid in to optimise intestinal flora for immune health and digestion health. Acupuncture and herbs work well to combat skin issues because of their multi-faceted approach. The complexity of plant materials are far more balanced than medicine that is based on isolated active ingredients, and is far less likely to cause side effects.