Covid-19 affects the lungs. So now is the time to use various strategies to keep our lungs healthy. Here are two easy steps you can add to your “helpful list of things to.” Try these out and see how you like them.
LUNGS & ACUPUNCTURE THEORY: Being able to take in a deep breath refreshes our mind and brings life-giving oxygen to all body functions. The word “inspire” means to breathe in and also to receive or discover something wonderful, an idea or solution, a profound idea. When we’re stressed, we often neglect deep breathing and resort to shallow breathing, which makes it incrementally more challenging to cope and connect with our vitality. In the system of correspondences, the skin is also associated with the Lungs and its paired organ Large Intestine. So that’s why I’ve paired Lung and skin today. Both the skin and Large Intestines are organs of elimination.
Taking a deep breath is a universal way of stopping and restarting. So take a deep breath now , and let it out slowly…
QI GONG TO STRENGTHEN THE LUNGS: Peter Deadman is a well-respected authority on acupuncture and Qi Gong. He has prepared a short series of movements that will help strengthen and stimulate the Lungs. He starts with breathing, then adds several simple arm movements, and concludes with slapping and massaging the lung channel (on the arms) and the chest. I appreciate the profound simplicity of his offering. His voice is soothing. When I wake up, I sit on the edge of my bed and use one of the breathing and arm movements, and then slap my Lung channel. It’s quite energizing!
SKIN BRUSHING: The skin is the largest organ in the body, and is one of the important pathways of detoxification and elimination. In fact, many detoxifying programs end with skin brushing and an Epsom Salt bath. Skin brushing is an easy way to increase lymphatic circulation. The resulting stimulation will increase your feeling of vitality and well-being.
HOW TO BRUSH YOUR SKIN: Start at your toes, and brush upwards in short vigorous strokes, continuing up the legs (brush the back of the legs and buttocks as well) towards your heart. Brush up from the bottom of your trunk up the belly (it tickles), brush the side of your ribs, and stop when you get to the approximate level of your heart. Then start again at your finger tips and brush up on all sides of the arm up to the armpit. Then gently brush from your neck down towards the heart, and “dust off” the shoulders, and brush down the upper chest towards the heart. You can do this before you shower or after; my preference is before.
If you already have a skin brush, terrific! It’s time to use it again! If not, they are readily available for purchase. If you’d rather use what’s on hand, experiment with a back brush, a rough wash cloth, a loofah, a complexion brush or even a new kitchen sponge. Your skin will be softer after having removed a dead layer of cells. If you moisturize, you may notice that it glides on easier and absorbs faster.
On a personal note: although I have a lot of self-care options at my disposal, I don’t use them all every day. Sometimes I forget. Or I save it for the evening… and then forget! Other times I just don’t want to do them, and prioritize other things. Some days are challenging emotionally. So I pick what is easy, or at hand, or what feels best. And that saying, “no day dawns twice over” really fits these days, because every day we (as a country, state, city, community and household) are experiencing a day that was different from yesterday, and tomorrow will be different again. Be compassionate with yourself, and if that’s not feeling softer, then take three deep breaths, let them go slowly, and give yourself a minute before continuing.
Remember I said earlier that Large Intestine was the paired organ to Lung? Its function is to eliminate waste from the body, and is also considered an organ of letting go. Many of us are being forced to let go of so much, from simple social pleasures to the more profound and extreme, like the death of a loved one or of a job or business. So by minding our breath, and taking care of our skin, we help honor these two dynamics that are front and center of our attention. Please be safe, we’re in this together.
I’d love to hear what you think about the Qi Gong and skin brushing! Drop me a line at Kathleen@PortWellnessAcupuncture.com.