Updated: Jul 8, 2020
It might be very obvious that the lungs have an essential role in the process of breathing based on our western medicine knowledge. However, according to the Chinese medicine concept, the kidneys are the other vital organs for the breathing process. The lungs receive the air and send the pure air down towards the kidneys in a form of energy(Qi). Remember that everything is
Qi(energy), based on the Chinese medicine concept. Sometimes the Qi has an immaterial format like our spirit or mind. Sometimes it's more condensed like our blood or body fluid and sometimes the Qi becomes way more condensed and turns into a material form like the organs that we know in our bodies or the nodules, tumors or masses inside the body.
The kidneys receive the Qi from the lungs. In return our kidneys send the energy back to the lungs to keep them moist. The lungs love the moist. They become ill when they are dry. In the process of breathing, kidneys control inhalation and Lungs control exhalation. This concept actually helps the diagnosis when the patient coughs. If the cough happens on inhalation, there is a bigger chance that the kidneys cause the problem and if the cough is more pronounced during breathing out, the TCM professional might diagnose that the root of the problem are the lungs. As a note, similar to any other conditions, the diagnosis would be a more detailed process. More questions to be asked and more tests to be done. As another note, the definitions of the organs in Chinese medicine are different to the western medicine ones and include not only the physical organs but their functions, meridians (channels of energies) and their relationships with many emotions, tastes, colors, seasons, etc.
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