COUGHING – TCM PERSPECTIVE

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Tips and tools for a healthier life…
health@thewestsider.com.au

By Dr William Ly

Coughing can be caused by a range of underlying health issues but the most commonly identified causes observed in clinical practice are the invasion of external pathogens, Qi (life-force energy) deficiency and the buildup of phlegm and dampness in the respiratory system. According to Chinese Medicine, coughing occurs when the Qi within the lungs becomes disturbed or obstructed.

Chinese Medicine Practitioners believe that the lungs within us are considered to be one of our most delicate organs since it is our first internal organ to have direct contact with the external environment. In TCM theory, the lungs are not only responsible for respiration but also play an important role in the way Qi is absorbed and distributed within the body. Under normal conditions, the lungs inhale Qi (Oxygen) from nature and receive nutrient Qi derived from the digestive system. When the Qi inhaled is combined with the nutrient-Qi it fuses together to form the pectoral Qi which is then redistributed throughout the body by the lungs.

If there is an invasion of external pathogens or the presence of problems within the digestive system this can cause interference and disruption to the Qi dynamics within the lungs. This will ultimately affects the respiratory function of the lungs and an individual may start to experience the onset of coughing. Furthermore, improper diet such as excessive consumption of dairy products, spicy foods, oily foods and sugary foods can all cause phlegm and dampness to build up within the respiratory system. This phlegm and dampness build-up will further exacerbate and disrupt the movement of Qi within the lungs. This will lead to further obstruction of the Qi and the worsening of your coughing condition.

In Chinese Medicine, it is important to identify the causes of the cough so that appropriate treatment can be given to provide effective relief. The treatment of cough in Chinese Medicine focuses on the reestablishment of the positive Qi movement within the lungs by clearing toxins, phlegm and dampness as well as the strengthening of the digestive system. By strengthening the internal digestive system it will help replenish the nutrient-Qi required by the body in order to support the respiratory functions within the individual.
Here are some suggested acupressure points you can use to help assist in your recovery if you have been diagnosed with lung issues associated with coughing:

Massage the below suggested points gently in a clockwise direction. For each point, complete this process for only 5-10mins on a daily basis. All of these points if massaged will assist in the clearing of pathogens, phlegm and dampness as well as strengthening the pectoral Qi within the body.

Pericardium 6: On the palmer aspect of the forearm, the acupressure point is located 3 finger breadths from the wrist.

Lung 7: Superior to the styloid process of the radius, 2 finger breadths above the transverse crease of the wrist. (Note: this point is not to be used during pregnancy)

Stomach 36: This acupressure point is located 4 finger breadths below your knee caps and located between the head of the fibula and tibia tuberosity (the two long bones of your lower leg).

Stomach 40: This acupressure point is located on the front of the lower leg, halfway between the highest point of the lateral ankle and knee joint. 2 finger breadths lateral to the anterior border of the tibia (the pointy front edge of the bone).

If you have any health concerns please always seek advice from your qualified health practitioners.

Dr. William Ly is an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist at Western Health Collective.

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