Friday, November 22, 2019

Woo Woo Learning #3: The Lungs and Large Intestine...Symptoms of Imbalance and How to Get Back on Track!

So, have you been following along?  

I'm learning about the meridians in Andrea Beaman's New Healer's Master Coaching program ( and it's so interesting that I just need to share!  Again, I'm NOT an expert in this stuff (I'm just learning and devouring content right now!), but if you're reading my blogs and noticing that the signs of imbalance ring true with you, I hope you'll take the time to reach out to an Acupuncturist, Herbalist, or a Doctor of Oriental Medicine/Doctor of East Asian Medicine for a more in-depth diagnosis and course of action.  

OK, so with THAT goes!

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How do you know if the Lung/Large Intestines are out of balance?

You might remember from my last blog that L/LI imbalances can show up both physically and emotionally.  Here are some of the most common signs of imbalance that might pop up:

Physical Symptoms:
  • Allergies (food, mold, household chemicals, beauty products, trees/grasses, etc.)
  • Sinus infections and sinus headaches
  • Nasal congestion
  • Cold/flu that lingers
  • Respiratory Issues like asthma, persistent cough, shortness of breath, panting
  • Sore Throat
  • Toothaches
  • Distension of, or a full sensation in the chest
  • Belching/Burping
  • Dry skin, lips, and nasal passages
  • Nosebleeds
  • Dry/Brittle hair and nails
  • Itchy skin, rashes, eczema, psoriasis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Loose bowels and/or constipation (known to some as IBS)
  • Pain or stiffness in the shoulders, arms or index fingers/frozen shoulder
Emotional Symptoms:
  • Inability to let go
  • Possessive of people or things
  • Difficulty adapting to change--rigid thinking/stubborn
  • Overly critical/judgemental/pessimistic outlook on life
  • Obsessed with cleanliness OR conversely, being someone who accumulates junk and clutter (hoarding)
  • Wallowing/Depression

Now don't panic!  

Our organ systems fall in and out of balance all the time and there ARE ways to get back on track if you feel like you're out of balance. And getting back on track doesn't require removing organs or taking medications or heading off to an exorcist...sometimes it's just a matter of changing your diet and lifestyle!  So let's keep it simple...

Here are some easy diet and lifestyle suggestions that might help bring balance back to the Lung/Large Intestine system:

Foods to Avoid:
  • Dairy (cheese, yogurt, butter, kefir, milk, cream, etc.)--dairy causes congestion and mucus
  • If you've got allergies/rashes/skin problems, ditch the common allergens--dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, citrus, peanuts, yeast
  • Sugar (leads to poor intestinal health)
  • Limit cold or raw foods (salads, frozen smoothies, iced drinks, fruit) if you tend to have internal coldness or cold hands, feet, or belly
  • Alcohol--very dehydrating!

Foods to Include:
  • Steamed, baked, sauteed, broiled and blanched veggies (Dark leafy winter greens especially--kale, chard, mustard greens, etc.)
  • Light proteins (chicken/fish) in small quantities
  • Seasonal sweet veggies like baked squash, beets, parsnips, and pumpkin can satisfy your sweet tooth!
  • Warm broth/veggie based soups, porridge, and stews
  • Gluten-free whole grains, beans, and lentils (soaked or sprouted for easier digestion)
  • Garlic, onions, ginger, olives, horseradish, scallions, daikon radish, red radish
  • Apples/pears in moderation
  • Lemons/Limes
  • Black pepper, chili, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric nutmeg, ginger
  • Herbal Teas
  • 8-10 glasses of water each day (room temp or warm)

Lifestyle Practices to Include:
  • Dry brushing the skin
  • Exercise daily (Even walking counts!  Extra points if you do it outside in nature!)
  • Meditation 
  • Breathwork/Deep Breathing
  • Acupressure
  • QiGong
  • Wear layers to avoid getting too hot or too cold
  • Wear a scarf to protect the throat and lungs from wind
  • Daily Journaling--write down all the things that bother you (let them go!) and then write down all the things that inspire you, make you feel grateful, or give you happiness
  • Purge!  Let go of the "old stuff" in your environment--clear out your cluttered closets and drawers, tidy up your workspace...and then donate unwanted items!
  • Resolve past drama/trauma--address and release old pains or hurt feelings
  • Forgive others and yourself
  • Get plenty of sleep (try to get to bed before 11PM)
  • NOTE:  If you notice stagnation or a prolonged period of grief, sadness or depression, it may be necessary to consult with your physician and/or a mental health professional.  

So what do you think?  Are the suggestions doable?  

Hope you find your balance this Autumn! 

Sending hugs!


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Woo Woo Learning #2: Autumn is the Season of the Lungs and Large Intestine

OK, raise your hand if you already knew that Autumn is associated with the Lungs and Large Intestine.  

Hmmm.  I don't see a lot of hands up.

Well, except for that one acupuncturist back there and the Doctor of Oriental Medicine sitting in the middle row.  Yeah, you guys knew...

But for the rest of us, the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM for short) is kind of a mystery.  

Now for those of you who have been following my blog, you know I'm starting to learn a little bit about this stuff.  I'm not becoming a Doctor of Oriental Medicine (DOM) or an acupuncturist, or anything like that, I'm just learning the basics so that when I coach clients, I can help them recognize when their energy is stagnant and I can help direct them to foods, movement, or self-care activities that will help them get "unstuck".  Again, NOT and expert, but just someone with some basic background knowledge in energy flow.  

So...with that in mind....

I recently learned that Autumn is the Season of the Lungs and Large Intestine.  

That sounds kinda weird.  What does that mean?

Well, think about the seasons for a sec.  

We just finished up with Summer--warm carefree days, planting and growing, staying out late, playing in the sunshine...there's lots of outward flowing energy.  

Now comes Autumn. We get more into routines and structure, we harvest what we planted during the summer, the leaves start to "let go" of their branches and fall, nights get colder and darker, and we start to bring our energy inward.  

Right now, in Autumn, nature wants us to let go of any junk (physical, mental or spiritual) we have built up during our carefree summer days, so that we can be free to just hunker down and draw inward as we approach winter.  Like animals who get ready to hibernate for winter, in Autumn we start to let go of the old, and prepare for what's ahead.  

Autumn is the Season of the Lung and Large Intestines

So, remember in my last blog we talked about the meridians (energy channels) and that each meridian had a corresponding yin and yang organ system attached to it?  Well, each Meridian/Organ System is also attached to a season.  And Autumn is the Season of the Lung and Large Intestine. 

Now here's where it gets interesting...the Lung/Large Intestines can send us signals to tell us about possible imbalances. And these signals can be particularly clear in Autumn.   

The Lung system (yin) controls respiration and regulates the flow of breath, chi and water in our body.  It is responsible for taking in the new and becoming revitalized.  The Large Intestine system (yang) balances this by releasing waste and "letting go".  And though this can be a physical process, it can also be an emotional process as well.  Weird, right?  A lot of people with chronic digestive issues (ex. chronic constipation) have trouble "letting go" emotionally.  If you have digestive issues, think about this:

  • Is there something holding you back that you could "let go" of?  
  • Are you feeling sad because you're holding onto grief that you haven't allowed yourself to process?
  • Are there things in your physical environment that you could organize or let go of in order to feel more relaxed in your physical space? (Yeah, like that pile of papers sitting on the kitchen counter, or that cluttered closet you've been meaning to sort out...)
Autumn is the perfect time to clear out the old and bring in the new--physically AND emotionally.  

Want some more interesting stuff?  

How's your skin doing these days?  The "Tissue" associated with the Lungs/Large Intestine is the skin.  Getting some dryness in the hair, skin, nails and lips?  Are you having acne flare-ups?  Weird rashes?  Itching, eczema and/or psoriasis? It might be related to an imbalance in the Lung/Large Intestines. Makes sense though--if you're holding on to toxins in your gut and not eliminating properly, this can show up on your skin.  OR if you're holding on to grief and feeling overwhelmed or stressed, this can show up on your skin too.  Skin problems can be a signal that there is an imbalance in the Lungs/Large Intestine and that you need to "let go" of something.    

What other interesting signals might you see?

In TCM, the sense organ associated with the Lung and Large Intestine is the nose.  And like everything else, the nose follows nature.  It's Autumn...your sinuses want to "let go".  So now is when you'll find lots of people getting seasonal colds.  It's the body's way of trying to get rid of excess mucus in the system.  And if your meridians are nice and balanced, the body will let go of this excess mucus and be done with it.  BUT, if your meridians are out of balance, you could be subject to more serious congestion down the road that might manifest as bad flus, achy joints, and chest colds. You might even notice an increase in allergies, sinus infections, consistent coughs, and other respiratory stuff. 

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Whew!  That's a lot of info!  

Did any of the signals of imbalance ring true with you?  If so, I'm going to give you a few days to process and then I'm going to send out another blog with some ideas about how to get your Lung/Large Intestine back into balance.  Get ready!  

(Spoiler alert...It might be easier than you think!)   

In the meantime, have a great day!

Talk to you soon!