We breathe in oxygen and chi (energy) and expel carbon dioxide and moisture/mucus. There are 2 main ways of breathing. They are costal (shallow) and diaphragmatic (deep). Diaphragmatic breathing keeps us healthy on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level. All children breathe from their belly, or “hara.”
TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine) recognizes the connection between lungs and kidneys. Our inhalation is due to the power of the kidneys to grasp air. They’re like magnets pulling the chi of air in. Difficulty in inhaling can indicate weak kidney energy. When there is difficulty with exhalation, a sluggish liver could be the source. Often this sluggishness is due to too many fatty foods, sugars, and spicy food. Milk is considered to be one of the worst culprits, as it’s liquid, light, and exits through the lungs and sinuses. Managing your diet is one way to obtain proper lung function, which in turn gives us more endurance and strength.
Reflexology can help by moving the energy through the body via the circulatory, nervous, and lymphatic systems. Emphasizing the lung and kidney reflex areas on the feet and face can stimulate diaphragmatic breathing and increase chi energy into those areas.
You can stimulate the lungs by holding the dorsal aspect of the upper foot with the supporting hand, and sliding your thumb of the working hand horizontally along the plantar surface of the ball of the foot several times. Moving your working hand down the foot toward the ankle, and stimulating the kidney reflex areas toward the center of the plantar aspect of the foot with your working hand, in an upward movement will stimulate the kidneys. In a reflexology session, it’s always important to work the entire foot, as balance of the entire body is key to abundant health.