Metal – Lung And Large Intestine in Cosmetic Acupuncture , The metal element consists of the Lung and Large Intestine organs. The Lungs govern both respiration and the skin; the Large Intestine is the great eliminator of the bowels and controls all elimination processes of the body.
Imbalances of the Lung can cause respiratory problems. This includes problems with the nose and sinuses.
For example, a blocked nose or excessive nasal discharge is because Lung dampness or yin is in excess, as would be the case with Lung oedema or cough with excessive mucus. In these cases, the skin is in a similar state of imbalance – and would be thick and oily or moist and sweaty. The same pattern of imbalance manifests in the large intestine also, resulting in semisolid or watery stools.
If the Lung yin is deficient, this is manifested as dryness of the respiratory system (with dry cough, dry nose, etc.), and dry skin. In addition, the stools will be dry and there will be a tendency to constipation.
Coupled organs have an interior–exterior energy fl ow. Therefore, they have the same picture of imbalance and similar symptoms. If there is a block between their interior or exterior energy fl ow, then they may have differing energy states.As their energy states are usually the same, the treatment is performed mostly on the yin organs to infl uence their yin, and on the yang organs to infl uence their yang.
As the metal element is the most important element for the skin and its wellbeing, let us take a closer look at the imbalances of the Lung and its coupled yang organ, the Large Intestine.
Lung yin deficiency
This means that the respiratory system and the skin are low in moisture. The skin will be dry and pale (white is the colour associated with metal, and any deficiency in the Lung tends to result in a pale facial complexion– a bright pale complexion in this case), with a tendency to crack and peel ( Figure 3.8 ). The dryness causes a tight ‘ mask-like ’ effect, especially on the face. The body hair is nourished by the Lung, and there will now be less hair and it will be dry and rough without shine, turning a shade lighter.
As the Lung governs the respiratory system, dryness in the Lung will also result in a dry nose and throat and perhaps a dry cough. When the Lungs are dry, the Large Intestine, their coupled organ, does not receive sufficient yin from its yin partner – and also suffers from lack of moisture. This could manifest in constipation with dry stools, and anal fissure or haemorrhoids.
Of the organs of the five elements, the Lung and Large Intestine of the metal element are the most vulnerable to climatic dryness. A dry climate has less moisture. When we expose our body to climatic dryness (such as by using central heating in the winter months), it takes moisture away from the body. The parts of the body first affected by the dryness are the skin and the respiratory system. The stools may also become dry as the coupled organ is affected in the same way as the Lung.
Dryness causes a hard and rough skin that is often exacerbated or caused by Kidney yin deficiency, as Kidneys irrigate the entire body. Over a longer period, dryness causes hardness or leatheriness of the skin. It refuses to absorb water. In the same way that water runs off a lotus leaf, dry skin also tends to lose water.
It has to be mentioned that dryness – as described here – refers to the skin surface. The skin can differ in thickness depending on its state of nutrition (i.e. Lung Blood which nourishes the skin and Spleen Blood which nourishes the Lung) and both thick and thin skin can be dry on the surface.
If thin skin is dry, this indicates a lack of fluid or water; thick skin has some fluid below skin surface, so the dryness here is due to its inability to open the pores and let the fluid ascend to the skin surface.
Thin skin is often caused by a lack of nutrition and, just as a malnourished mother cannot breastfeed a baby well, poor skin nutrition is often due to poor nourishment ( Figure 3.9 ). A good general state of nutrition results in a well-nourished skin. Foods that are particularly nourishing to the skin are those that nourish the Spleen as well: proteins, milk products, grains, root vegetables and slow-cooked stews to name but a few.
Points to tonify Lung yin
■ Lu 1 – Mu-front point of Lung.
■ Lu 8 – own-element point of Lung.
■ Ren 17 – influential point of respiratory organs and skin, given in the direction of Ren meridian flow.
■ K 10 – own-element point of Kidney, improves yin in entire body. It tonifies Kidney yin while also sedating Large Intestine yang.
Advice for patients
■ Drink water throughout the day and take some salt in diet to help retain water.
■ Humidify rooms and inhale water vapour.
■ Use an aqueous cream after washing to hydrate the skin.
■ Eat white rice at least twice a week.
Lung yin deficiency through Liver Blood deficiency Liver Blood deficiency also can be a very important cause of dry skin. As Blood also nourishes and irrigates the skin, Liver Blood deficiency may manifest as dry skin and other symptoms such as paleness or marbling of skin, poor healing, hands and legs going to sleep easily, dizziness, scanty menstrual bleeding and blurred vision. Dry skin due to Liver Blood deficiency could be thin or thick. As Blood is more of a nutritional factor than
Dry skin could also be due to Liver Blood defi ciency, and it is necessary to rule this out or treat this as well. Symptoms of Liver Blood defi ciency include dry skin as well as brittle nails, extremities that go to sleep easily but improve with movement, dry eyes, tension and contraction in the tendons with tendency to be infl amed with overuse, paleness, weak muscles and long menstrual cycles with scanty bleeding. an irrigating factor, Liver Blood deficiency tends to produce rather a thin skin in more cases.
Points to tonify Liver Blood
■ Ren 14, UB 15 (Mu-front, Back-Shu points of Heart).
■ UB 17, Sp 10 (influential point of Blood/Sea of Blood).
■ P 6, GB 39 (influential point for bone marrow).
■ Liv 8 (tonification point).
It should be noted that the Heart Back-Shu and Mu-front points are used here to tonify Heart yin and yang, as Heart synthesizes Blood and Liver only stores and releases Blood.
Advice for patients
■ A herbal iron substitute will be very useful in this case.
Thick skin is due to excessive dampness or stagnation of dampness. This normally goes together with Spleen dampness. Excessive dampness results from the consumption of damp-producing foods such as fats and fatty milk products, refined sugars and carbohydrates and late-evening meals; stagnation of dampness occurs for the same reasons but also because of insufficient physical exercise to produce Qi (to move the dampness). As dampness is thick fluid, the more thick fluid we have in our body and skin, the thicker it will become. And if the thin fluid dries out, the thick fluids will become even thicker in consistency, thus making it difficult to flow and circulate – hence causing stagnation. The thick fluid reduces the function of ascending and eliminating thin fluids to the skin surface, thus making the skin dry.
Lung yin deficiency causing Large Intestine yin deficiency
Dry skin shows a yin deficiency of the Lung, and often there is a yin deficiency of Large Intestine at the same time ( Figure 3.10 ). Dry skin manifests in rough, peeling or cracking skin which is very painful (more so because there is a raised sensitivity as the yin is less and the yang is relatively higher), and the Large Intestine suffers with dry, hard stools, where the straining could provoke haemorrhoids or anal fissure.
A yin deficiency is a chronic deficient state from which there could be recurrent episodes of rising yang excess. Both Lung and Large Intestine yang could rise from time to time, producing inflammation of skin or Large Intestine. Symptoms such as acute recurrent chest infections or colitis could occur. The mucous membranes, skin and the intestinal flora are hypersensitive to pain, heat, strongly flavoured food and even emotional changes. These would be the causative factors for the aggravation of the recurrent episodes.
Advice for patients
■ Drink water throughout the day.
■ Take some salt in the diet to retain water.
■ Eat white rice at least twice a week.
Lung yin deficiency causing intermittent heat excess or wind–heat excess
As yin naturally controls yang, a deficiency of the yin means that the yang can be undercontrolled, and can rise from time to time. This would bring about heat or wind–heat symptoms of the skin, such as inflammation, itching or burning. A heat rash could appear, manifested mainly by flat areas of red skin or pimples, only a few of which contain pus. There is little thick sweat or no sweat, but there may be more night sweating – as night-time and sleep can increase the yin of the Lung.
Yin tonification is the key in treating a chronic, recurrent heat condition on dry skin. The heat can be eliminated at the time it manifests, but if the yin is not tonified, the condition will reoccur.
■ If there are specific areas which are dry, yin tonification points on these areas could be used, e.g. for dry palms use P 8 and for dryness in popliteal fold use UB 40.
Ways to eliminate heat or wind–heat
■ Wind–heat – this will be redness and itching areas appearing quite suddenly and of a wandering nature
– use wind-eliminating points for the affected area with wind elimination sedation technique (see p. 78)
– foods that cause wind–heat such as alcohol, pickled foods, citrus or sour-flavoured fruits and tomatoes should be avoided.
■ Heat without itching
– use any acupuncture point in the affected area, with heat-dispersing technique (see p. 77)
– use venous bleeding on a local or distal point (e.g. Lu 5)
– finger- or toe-tip bleeding on the affected meridian
– plum-blossom tapping to bleed locally
– avoid foods that cause heat such as red meats and shellfish. Coffee and bitter-flavoured teas and spicy food should be avoided.
Points to sedate heat of Large Intestine
■ Sedate point LI 2 (sedation point).
■ Sedate point St 37 (lower sea point of Large Intestine).
■ Heat-elimination needle technique on point UB 25 (Back-Shu point).
■ Sp 10, LI 11 and UB 17 can be used in cases of wind and heat and also in the interval period to cool and purify Blood.
Dampness in the Lung
Dampness in the Lung originates predominantly from the Spleen; the Spleen dampness is mostly (but not only) caused by damp-producing foods. Symptoms will be thick, oily skin which looks unclean with spots and pimples. These pimples may get infected easily and form pustules. When these pimples and pustules heal, they leave deep scars, making the skin look uneven.
This appearance of the skin seems to occur more in the regions of the face, neck and front and back of the thorax, and the lower part of the body is seldom affected. These are the areas associated with the upper warmer, which the Lung governs, and this may be why the skin on the lower part of the body is not affected so much. There are, however, two points to note when treating dampness anywhere in the body.
An excess state with an excess of dampness in the interior
There is excessive thick fluid – which means there is an excess state . This is often caused by a diet high in fatty and milky foods, foods cooked in oil and refined sugars as well as large quantities of rich foods. There is also a stagnation of this dampness which is not distributed through the entire body, but stays in the upper body and just under the skin. The Spleen Qi, which should be circulating this dampness evenly throughout the body, does not seem to be functioning well. In this situation, the Large Intestine would generally be affected in a similar fashion, with semisolid stools tending to be yellow-brown coloured. There can also be abdominal distension and pains.
Points to treat excessive dampness in Lung
■ Sp 9, St 40, UB 20 – eliminate and circulate Spleen dampness.
■ UB 13, LI 4 and LI 6 – eliminate dampness from skin.
■ UB 39 – will help in distributing dampness in the triple warmer.
■ Superficial local needling will help to circulate damp in the areas where there is stagnation
Advice for patients
■ Avoid damp-producing foods.
■ Turkish baths or saunas will help to open skin pores.
Category: Cosmetic Acupuncture
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