Chinese Medicine considers the lung and large intestine energies to be related to the characteristics of the autumn. In autumn is a period of the year in which nature is involved in a process of letting go, of drying out and of reduction in size. For example the falling leaves from the trees. This process conforms to the physiological process in the large intestine. The energy of the lung is also related to the ability to let go, for example emotionally. The energy of the lungs is most active between 03:00 – 05:00 hours and the energy related to the large intestine between the hours of 05:00 – 07:00.
The lung energy works together with that connected to the heart, the spleen pancreas and the kidneys. The energies of the lung and large intestines control the general circulation of essential energy in the body, known as either Qi, Ki or in yoga as prana. A disturbance in this energy can lead to less Qi circulation, causing symptoms such as: tiredness, depression, sadness and asthmatic ailments. Alternately the amount of Qi circulating could be excessive, causing headache, anger and hyperactivity. Qi is the primitive energy that is present in from your birth. Prior to that during the period in the womb, your Qi is sustained by that of your mother. Qi is also gained from the quality of air we breathe and the energy level of the food that we eat. In this respect the energies related to the lung and the spleen pancreas resemble each other. The lung energy is strongly connected to the skin and the nose, the sense of smell. Remember how difficult it is to smell anything when you have a cold. Because the nostrils are directly connected to the brain they can be considered as entrances which influence the interaction between the body and the mind. We breathe through the skin as well as through the nose and the mouth. The skin serves as an important barrier to illnesses and micro-organisms coming from the outside environment and this is also true on the level of energy (Qi), as this energy dictates the function and the form of everything and everyone. The skin and the nose can be considered as important meeting places of interaction and exchange between the external and the internal environments, for instance our ability to experience differences in temperature. The lung energy also regulates fluids in the body. Children who have problems with asthma at a young age, also have problems with eczema when they grow older. This clearly illustrates the connection between the skin and the energies of the lung and large intestine. The lung energy and the physiological function of the breathing are related to expression, such as the "boys do not cry" attitude or the tendency to suppress anger. People who have problems with emotional expression very often also have problems with eczema, asthma, constipation or diarrhoea. The lung energy regulates the amount of body hair, but not the hair on the head. Also the tone and the strength of the voice, the lower the lung energy, the softer and weaker the voice will be or it will disappear altogether (losing one’s voice). The cries of the market traders, or those of children, are examples of strong lung energy.
The functions of the large intestine are principally: receiving, transit (forwarding), the transformation of liquids taken from the food remnants, the production of vitamin k and lastly elimination of faeces. Vitamin k stimulates the production of prothrombin in the liver, which is related to the process of blood clotting and with the synthesis van a large number of proteins. The large intestine function is considered to be more energetic than that of the lung, owing to its support of the lung function. The elimination process becomes disturbed when the energy of the large intestine in weak, causing diarrhoea or constipation, stiffness or weakness in the wrists, pain in the gums, or nasal obstruction. A swollen or cold abdomen and weakness in the knees or ankles can also stem from a disturbance in the large intestine energy.
According to Chinese Medicine the energy of the lung is related to the "animal soul", namely the instinctive reactions and the involuntary physiological functions in the body, such as the heat beating. It is said that the "animal soul" ceases to exist at the time of death. Yoga texts state that ‘if you can realise the true reality of the breathe, you can realise the soul ("atma") Here the word "breathe" referrers to one way of connecting with your body and the material world of form, which is called the "Jing".