These 6 healthy stretches help prevent common fall conditions like dry throat and skin
With the onset of autumn cold and the continued presence of COVID-19, do you have any friends who suffer from a persistent cough? Do you have a scratchy throat or dry skin?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), nourishment of the lungs is key to avoiding these common complaints of cool weather.
Dr. Yu Ya-Wen from the Shaanxi College of Traditional Chinese Medicine spoke to The Epoch Times about TCM’s lung nutrition approach. She introduced a six-move stretching exercise based on TCM’s Lung Feeding Theory.
Feed your lungs
TCM maintains that each season has health priorities. “In the spring, feed the liver; in summer, nourishes the heart; in autumn, nourish the lungs”, such is the seasonal philosophy of TCM.
In TCM, meridians are channels in the body through which qi, or the body’s life energy, flows. The respiratory, skin, capillary and gastrointestinal problems that occur in the fall are closely linked to the Lung meridian.
According to Dr. Yu, not nourishing the lungs leads to dry mouth, throat, skin, hair and intestines.
Diet is key
TCM methods nourish the lungs with food therapy, acupuncture and meridian massage. However, Dr. Yu pointed out that among these, diet is paramount.
Avoid the salads and raw fruits and vegetables that you enjoyed during the summer months. Eat more cooked, warming foods. Try cooking your food at lower temperatures for longer periods of time and opt for room temperature water or hot teas. Avoid fried or spicy foods. Eating in this way helps prevent excessive internal heat that promotes dryness.
White foods for fall
As part of a fall diet, eat more white-colored foods. Foods such as white yams, turnips, apples, pears, white beans, white mushrooms and even bird’s nest all have one thing in common: they are starchy and rich in trace minerals, which can protect epidermal mucus cells. They nourish yin, the restorative energy of the body.
Pulmonary meridian acupuncture points
Frequent massage of the lung meridian is also a good way to nourish the lungs. To locate your lung meridian, follow the line from your shoulder to the inside of your wrist, next to your thumb. Massaging the lung meridian is beneficial for the health of the meridians.
If your throat is uncomfortable or you have excessive phlegm, it may help to press the main acupuncture point of the lung meridian, LU-10.
Lung Meridian Stretching Exercises
Based on the TCM technique of stretching to improve the functioning of the lungs, Fu Tang, sports trainer, designed an easy-to-learn lung meridian stretching exercise. When exercising, one can clearly feel the extension of the arms and the expansion of the chest muscles.
Before doing the exercise, you can squeeze and release tight muscles around the pulmonary meridian first, including the flexor pollicis brevis muscle, extensor carpi radialis tendon, brachioradialis muscle, biceps brachii muscle, and large pectoral. Find the most tense point of each muscle and press for 20 seconds each time.
1) Shoulder Joint Forehand Rotation (20 seconds)
Muscles to work: rotator cuff muscles
How to do: Hold a stick in front of your body, palm facing down. Raise your hand up and slowly bring it behind you as far as you can, then slowly come back forward. Be careful not to accelerate by crossing your shoulder: maintain a constant speed.
Tips: To further challenge yourself, you can put your hands inward a bit when holding the stick.
2) Reverse scapular rotation (20 seconds)
Muscles to work: rotator cuff muscle group
How to do: Grab the backhand stick and place it behind the body. Raise your hand up and slowly bring it forward.
Do this with a little abdominal pressure. Don’t let the ribs and pelvis move too much.
3) Rotation and expansion of the thoracic vertebrae (20 seconds)
Muscles to work: thoracic vertebra
How to do: Hold the stick behind the ribs with both arms open. Turn right first and lean to the side. After returning to the initial position, turn left and lean sideways. Try not to rotate your pelvis with the rest of your body.
4) Windmill chest and back rotation (20 seconds)
Muscles to work: back muscles
How to do: Grasp the stick with both hands and place it in front of the body. Lean forward while keeping your legs straight and twist in a windmill-like rotation, first to the left, then to the right.
5) rotation and expansion from half-kneeling position (20 seconds)
Muscles to work: Back muscles
How to: Kneel on your right knee. Place the stick next to the left knee. Grab the stick with both hands, right hand up, left hand down. Hold the stick upright. Push the pole forward and bend it to the left, feeling the extension of your arm and right back muscles. Do the same in the opposite direction.
6) semi-kneeling forward position and bending backwards (20 seconds)
Muscles to exercise: Chest and back muscles
How to do it: Hold the stick behind your ribs with your arms open. Kneel on your right knee. Turn right first, then lean forward and back. After three reps, switch sides.