The ribcage protects the two lungs in our chest. The lungs are responsible for three main things: they deliver oxygen to the body’s cells, remove waste gases, including carbon dioxide, from the body upon exhalation, and protect the airways from irritants and harmful substances. Known as ‘the delicate organ’ in Chinese medicine, the lungs can regenerate lost or damaged cells and can do so relatively quickly after injury and some lung diseases. Our lungs are vital organs. We breathe in and out about 22,000 times daily, and many factors affect their function.
Nerve innervation to the lungs comes from both branches of the autonomic system- sympathetic and parasympathetic, and from the phrenic nerve, a bilateral mixed nerve carrying both motor and sensory fibers. Sympathetic nerve supply from the interior to T2 to T6 segments increases breathing rate, whereas parasympathetic fibers traveling with the vagus nerve (cranial nerve 10) slow breath rate. The phrenic nerve arises in the cervical spine. It descends the thorax to innervate the diaphragm, a dome-shaped muscular partition between the thorax and abdomen that contracts to increase thorax volume to inflate the lungs; the diaphragm relaxes upon exhalation.
Other factors influencing our breath include shoulder, back, and neck motion. Whereas a pinched nerve will not directly affect the lungs, the movement of the lungs and chest cavity as one inhales and exhales can increase nerve compression and pain. Body posture influences the ribcage’s ability to expand on inhalation and the movement of the diaphragm and even the collarbone to bring air into the lungs.
At Acupractic Natural Healing Center, the acupuncture and chiropractic offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay in Chapel Hill, she understands the crucial role the lungs play in overall health. She recognizes the importance of various body parts that influence lung function. Through careful history, examination of the spine and extremities, review of posture, and palpation of connected areas, Dr. Oskardmay strives to help patients whose breath and breathing patterns affect their lives. Using gentle mobilization procedures to affected areas of the spine and extremities, she helps restore alignment and pain-free movement.
In Chinese medicine, the fall season relates to the lungs as the metal yin organ. The metal yin organ corresponds with letting go of unneeded things, detoxification, and the natural decline of the autumn season as we prepare for winter. For some, this decline and letting go brings grief, and for others, clarity.
Breathing intentionally and slowly is a way to release troublesome thoughts. The next time you experience stress, take a moment to inhale and appreciate how your lungs help you.
Call us at (919) 929-1400, email or visit our website today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how natural healing can help to improve your health and well-being. Trusted by the Triangle since 1995, the acupuncture and chiropractic offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay in Chapel Hill are here for you.