Qi level- Heat in Chest and Diaphragm

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At this Qi Level, with Heat in Chest and Diaphragm, the external Heat pathogen has fought its way past the outer levels of your immune system (its Defensive qi or wei level) and is now meeting resistance from your Qi level.

This is a deeper and more serious level than the your wei level. Your body gathers its reserves and throws everything it can at the invader. Chiefly this is fever.

Symptoms of Heat in Chest and Diaphragm at Qi level

  • High Fever
  • Sensation of Heat
  • You like cold conditions and environment, also cold drinks and food
  • Thirst
  • Cough with little or just a thin yellow mucus or phlegm
  • Breathlessness
  • Perspiration
  • Tongue: red with a yellow coating
  • Pulse: fast and ‘slippery’


Pathology of Heat in Chest and Diaphragm at Qi level

With all the syndromes at the Qi level, the body attacks the invader with Heat and fever. Here it is mainly in the Lungs. (By the way, this is a more acute form of Lung Heat.) Heat dries out the fluids giving thirst and there is perspiration which can eventually reduce the fever if the fever does eliminate the invading pathogen.

However, while this is going on, the normal functions of the Lungs are impaired which means there is cough and breathlessness. The Heat produced by the body also thickens body fluids, especially mucus, often causing phlegm, yellow and thick.

Aims of Treatment

  • Clear Lung Heat
  • Resolve any phlegm
  • Re-establish normal Lung function, especially its descending function, hence clear the cough


Typical Acupuncture points for Clearing Heat in the Chest and Diaphragm

Acupuncture points split into those aimed mainly at clearing Heat (Lung 10, Large Intestine 11, Du 14) and those for regulating the Lung function (Lung 5, Bladder 13, Lung 1) although there is some crossover.

Of course, many other points can be used, and some of them might be more effective in general, or more effective for you.  That’s why you see a professional acupuncturist!

Herbal formulae for Heat in the Lungs and Diaphragm

The following are just examples of possible formulae, which might be adapted to the patient’s particular circumstances.

  • Xie Bai San
  • Qing Qi Hua Tan Tang
  • Wu Hu tang

Help Yourself!

With this Heat, your body likes plenty of fluid, water being best.

Water for Heat in the chest and diaphragm
Drink Water!

There is so much heat being generated that your body can usually handle the fluid drunk cold, and you’ll probably prefer ice.

(Chinese medicine warns against ice, however, as it puts a strain on your Stomach’s yang energy. Preferably drink it luke-warm.)

Avoid foods listed as Hot: see our page on hot foods.

Choose foods from our page on cold foods. (Though again, for your Stomach’s health, eat them warm, ie cooked and warm, where possible.)

Your Environment

What conditions might suit you if you have qi level heat in chest and diaphragm?

By all means open the windows, but avoid strong drafts or icy air-conditioning.

Most young bodies, able to produce the symptoms of  Heat in the chest and diaphragm, can manage a certain amount of cool air – which feels very pleasant!

But as you grow older, your wei defensive enrergy weakens and you become more sensitive to cold drafts, and in danger from them.

Theoretically you could have an invasion of Cold, supplanting the symptoms of invasion by Heat. This would be very confusing not just for you but for your acupuncturist or herbalist. Preferably don’t let it happen!

What happens if you try to Suppress your symptoms of Heat in chest and diaphragm?

Suppression means taking medication or doing something else that prevents your body from producing the fever and other symptoms mentioned above.

Though unpleasant, these are your body’s first and best choice of symptoms to evict the invader at this qi level.

What happens if you manage to suppress its best defence? You’ll get its second-best defence, unless you stop that too!

So, probably, your body will find itself unable to resist the invader at this qi level, allowing it to penetrate to the inner nutritive or Ying level – more serious even than at the Qi level.

So, antibiotics, for example, can often ‘kill’ an infection, but they generally have a secondary action which is to weaken your body – particularly your gut biome, where much of your defence (wei and qi levels included) reside.

In Chinese medicine many infections are classified as forms of Damp-Heat, for which formulae such as mentioned above are highly effective. The benefit of treatment, whether with herbs or acupuncture, is that you avoid the secondary effect of destroying your immune system.

The other result of suppression is that your body’s resistance will become weaker and last longer. So the ‘disease’ will be prolonged and, probably, your doctor will diagnose your ongoing condition as a form of asthma for which s/he thinks you may need steroids and inhalers.

At which point, you have a chronic condition.

Other responses at this Qi level of the Four Levels

Jonathan Brand colours

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