The Lung Tai Yin Channel
There is an internal pathway of the Lung channel that originates within the middle Jiao (膲) of the body (some say the yellow court region of the body) and then descends to meet with the Large Intestine (it’s paired elemental organ). Curving around the Large Intestine it ascends through the body via the diaphragm and divides to pass through the Lungs. After the pathways from the Lungs reconnect they travel upwards to the throat before dividing once more and exiting the body at the position of the first point on the external Lung channel (Lung 1 – Zhong Fu – 中府).
The external branches of the Lung channel are bilateral and travel along the length of both arms. From the position of Lung 1 – (Zhong Fu -中府) the pathways ascends 1 Cun (寸) before passing across the front of the shoulder and down the anterior of the aspect of the arm. The channel passes along the border of the biceps muscle until it reaches the outer edge of the biceps tendon in the crease of the elbow at Lung 5 (Chi Ze -尺澤). From here it continues to travel along the forearm to the radial side of the wrist. The final stretch of the external branch of the Lung channel travels from the wrist crease over the thumb muscle (an area known as the ‘fish belly’ in Daoism) before concluding at the radial corner of the thumbnail.
Key Functions of Lung Channel:
- To support the energetic functioning of the Lungs
- To protect against the pathogenic substance of Dampness as a part of the Tai Yin (太阴) meridian partnership along with the Spleen meridian
- To deliver Qi (氣) and Blood to the region of the body through which the Lung channel travels
- To assist in the processing of grief and associated emotions via transport of pathogenic Xie Qi (邪氣) out of the body
- To initiate the externalised manifestation of Qi (氣) circulation from the acquired Hou Tian Qi (后天氣) of the body
Main Pathology of Lung Channel:
Note that these symptoms indicate pathology of the Lung channel. Further diagnosis including questioning, palpation, tongue and pulse diagnosis are required in order to ascertain whether or not the imbalance is also present within the Zang Fu (臟腑) organ of the Lungs as well.
- Frequent yawning
- Dryness of the throat and mouth region
- An aversion to cold
- Tightness of the chest
- Wheezing and tightness of throat
- Pain in the clavicle or upper corner of the chest
- Pain along the length of the Lung channel and associated tissues
- A desire to fold the arms or subconsciously hug the body
- Heat in the palms (though be careful as many other reasons for this)
- An inability to acknowledge and process grief and loss
Individual Points of Lung Channel
Listed here are the names of the points along the Lung channel along with a brief explanation of the meaning behind their names.
Lung 1 – Zhong Fu – 中府- Central Storehouse
The Lung meridian sits at the start of the circulation of Qi (氣) throughout the meridian system. When we awake and take our first breath it is the Lung meridian that assists in the action of the Lungs. At this time we absorb Qi (氣) from the environment, a daily reflection of the first breath we took as we entered the world. Time-wise this is echoed in the hours of 3-5am when the activation of the Lung meridian is at its peak.
At the position of Zhong Fu (中府) the Qi (氣) is still in the dormant state of non-manifestation within the ‘central storehouse’ of our chest. The position of the centre reflects the element of Earth and the acquired Qi (氣) formulated within our digestive system. In particular the Qi (氣) of the Spleen is ready to merge with the Qi (氣) of the Lung at the position of Zhong Fu (中府) and give birth to the movement of the Hou Tian (后天) axis; this is the basis of the division of Tai Yin (太阴).
Lung 2 – Yun Men -雲門- Cloud Gate
The Qi (氣) of the upper chest is said to be like a cloud of ethereal vapour. This correlates the Qi (氣) of the chest to the action of our breathing and the quality of air. It is this ‘cloud-like’ Qi (氣) which governs the Lungs relationship to the dispersal of fluids throughout the rest of the body.
The metaphor of clouds is often used within Daoist alchemical literature to indicate a connection to consciousness and in this case the point has a relationship to the aspect of spirit known as Po (魄). Here a sense of loss and impermanence is processed within the spirit and it is through the action of the Lung meridian that we have an external connection to this psychological mechanism.
The ‘gate’ of the point shows that here is the point at which something manifests within the external world. Yun Men (雲門) is a point of change between the realms of potential and realisation. In this case it is the starting point of the Hou Tian Qi (后天氣) which merges at Zhong Fu (中府) before being circulated via the opening of Yun Men (雲門). This is the first point on the body in the cycle of Qi (氣) rotation which has actualised Qi (氣) flow.
Lung 3 – Tian Fu -天府- Mansion of Heaven
Tian Fu (天府) is an alternative name for Tian Shi Yuan (天市垣) or the ‘Heavenly market enclosure’ which is a major grouping of stars which is visible within the sky of the northern hemisphere at the beginning of Autumn; the season during which the Lungs are most vulnerable to pernicious influence. Interestingly a major component of the Tian Shi Yuan (天市垣) are two lines of 11 stars set out in the same pathway as the Lung meridians.
The name of the point indicates its connection to the Heavens which are microcosmically reflected within the body as the various components of the Shen (神). Here at this point, the Qi (氣) of the body begins its circulation throughout the meridian network and picks up with it the spirit of Shen (神).
Lung 4 – Xia Bai -俠白- Protecting the White
The character Xia (俠) has a double meaning of protecting but also the nature of a heroic guardian. It shows a person scooping up and holding two small children in their arms. White is the colour of death, loss and the Po (魄) spirit. The point takes its name from it’s association with guarding the spirit of the Lungs and its associated function of processing grief. It is a point which helps to initiate the recovery process once a difficult loss has been experienced; a point to help a person ‘pick themselves up’.
Lung 5 – Chi Ze -尺澤- Large Marsh
The character Chi (尺) is a measure of length roughly equivalent to a third of a meter. Since most points on the body are measured in Cun (寸), which is a considerably smaller measurement, the name of the point would imply an area of quite some size. This point is a large watery, marshland of Qi (氣) which sits at the joint of the elbow. It is slow moving in nature and has a tendency to develop stagnation if there are issues in the Lung meridian.
Lung 6 – Kong Zui -孔最Maximum Space
This point sits in a very large depression on the forearm. It is the largest space on the Lung meridian which is noted because of the other two large openings on the same channel: Chi Ze (尺澤) and Tai Yuan (太淵). The element of ‘space’ is emphasized upon the Lung channel as the expansion of space outwards is a direct therapeutic direction in comparison to the binding influence of metal elemental energy. It is here in the ‘maximum space’ that pernicious emotional debris becomes ‘stuck’ which then has a negative affect upon the Qi (氣) and Blood of the channel. Opening this point assists with releasing stuck emotional debris and returning the channel to flowing smoothly.
Lung 7 – Lie Que -列缺Imperfect Sequence
Lung 7 is a curious point as it actually sits slightly off of the rest of the Lung meridian creating a kind of ‘kink’ in the length of the channel. This displacement of the point enables it to fork into two branches; one continues onto the next point in the sequence of the Lung meridian whilst the other branch connects into the Large Intestine meridian at Large Intestine 4. This is the most likely reason for the name of ‘imperfect sequence’.
Another aspect of the name comes from Lie Que (列缺) being an ancient term for the forks in the oaths of chain lightning. This is a connection alluded to by Ma Dan Yang (馬丹陽) in his poetry on the 12 Heavenly star points of which Lung 7 is one. The reference to lightning shows the relative speed of Qi (氣) that flows through this point. After the Qi (氣) gathers at Lung 6 it builds pressure and then surges through the divide at Lung 7. This makes it a powerful point for clearing pathogens from the channel as well as various regions of the body.
Lung 8 – Jing Qu -經渠River Ditch
Jing Qu (經渠) is a fast moving point which, when healthy, should gather no stagnation. It receives the flooding Qi (氣) from Lung 7 and then passes it onwards to the end of the meridian. Imbalance occurs when the river becomes stagnant due to receiving an excess of pathogenic Qi (氣). When this happens it become something of a ‘ditch’ that needs clearing. In the majority of cases it is the final ‘letting go’ of emotional debris from the actions of the Po (魄) that can clog up the ‘river ditch’.
Lung 9 – Tai Yuan -太淵Great Abyss
The ‘great abyss’ of the Lung meridian has the character for Yuan (淵) which includes a simplified version of the character for water within it. So this implies that the point is not just a vast chasm but a chasm filled with water or, in this case, Qi (氣). It is also the Earth elemental point of the meridian as well as the Yuan (元) source point of the channel. All of this shows that the point has the vast potential for nourishing the Lung meridian as well as providing Qi (氣) to the rest of the meridian system; an aspect of the point indicated by its classification as a Hui (會) meeting point for the channels.
Lung 10 – Yu Ji -魚際Fish Border
The fleshy base of the thumb is known as the ‘fish belly’ to the Daoists and the ‘border’ of the point is the border of the red and white coloured flesh that mark the location of the point in the majority of people. It is also interesting to note that in Daoist legend fish swam through the waters with tails of fire behind them. This point is also important for removing heat from the Lung meridian and thus the fish of the name refers to the fire elemental properties of the point.
Lung 11 – Gui Xin -鬼信Ghosts Sincerity
Gui Xin (鬼信) is one of the oldest names for this point. It corresponds to its categorisation as a Gui (鬼) Ghost point. It was believed that one of the many reasons why a person could attract negative spirits into their life was due to incorrect speech, lying and being dishonest. The point name indicates that acting with sincerity in combination with the use of points such as this will help with spirit related ailments.