Weight Loss Exercise Needs Good Lung Energy

Photo by Gustavo Espíndola on Unsplash

Most people don’t think of their lungs when planning their weight loss exercise. But you can live for several months without food and a week without water: how long without your lungs?

Of course we now know that the lungs exchange carbon dioxide from the old (blue) blood with oxygen from the air, to enable our newly enriched (red) blood to carry life round the body again.

The ancient Chinese didn’t know anything about oxygen, but they certainly understood the effect it had.

Your Lung Energy

The Lungs (capital L, meaning the Lung Energy in Chinese medicine) introduce huge potential: literally they provide Qi – energy. Old blue blood is made young and red again with Qi.

Qi provides inspiration too. Because your Lungs provide inspiration and hope (think of your state of mind when you climb a mountain and look at the view) you’ll feel inspired to take exercise! It’s one thing to eat the right things, but if you aren’t going to take action and exercise to improve your health, why bother?

If your Lungs aren’t working properly, not only will you feel tired, no matter how good the food you eat and how carefully you eat it, but in time you’ll probably find phlegm in your lungs. That means tired lungs.

Acupuncture to boost your Lungs for your weight loss exercise without first sorting out this phlegm in your lungs will make your weight loss exercise a waste of your time. (By the way, I’ve written a book about how to get rid of phlegm. Readable and much more useful than than all the websites on the matter.)

Why? Because with all the redundant matter, and poor lung function, you won’t be able to get up the puff to walk, run, swim, cycle or whatever fast enough to chase the oxygen round your body and burn up the fat.


Mountain air, great for weight loss exercise and lungs!
Photo by Renata Schaitza on Unsplash

One of the signs of under-functioning Lungs is tiredness. Another is shortness of breath. Another is, sometimes, Qi stagnation. Qi Stagnation is an important syndrome in Chinese medicine.

Getting your lungs working properly helps your Metal in the 5 Elements system. That’s a great underlying force for good health.

If you’re tired or short of breath you won’t want to do weight loss exercise, so your excess dietary calories will continue to turn to fat.



Modern posture does little for the Lung energy. We tend to sit slumped at our books and computers, or we lie in bed with our laptops on our stomachs. These positions constrict the lungs, preventing them from fully opening up.

If we don’t exercise we don’t expand our lungs fully. 

Even some modern sports make it difficult to expand the lung organs sufficiently.

For instance low-slung cycles handlebars keep you bent forwards, thwarting full movement of the diaphragm – unlike my bicycle which being enormously heavy, is just hard-puff-work (see picture.)


My bicycle - defintely provides weight loss exercise
My bicycle

Without full movement of the diaphragm downwards and expansion of  the rib-cage upwards and outwards we prevent our lungs completely exchanging old for new blood and we reduce the Qi (Inspiration and Energy) our Lungs can provide.


Why is this relevant to being overweight?

If our Lungs – and our lungs – don’t introduce Qi from the air properly we shan’t have the energy we need to move, none of our organs or tissues will have energy to function, fluids won’t be regulated, phlegm will build up, we’ll feel depressed and we won’t be able to see the big picture of our lives.

Of course we now know that the vital ingredient in air is oxygen.

Compared to the weight of food you eat, the mass of oxygen you absorb through your lungs, even when you’re taking huge lung-fulls of breath, is actually minute.

How much does air weigh? One-fifth of air is oxygen. Your lungs only actually use a maximum of 5% of that oxygen (5% is apparently the maximum absorbed by even very fit athletes) per breath. That means only about 1% of the air you inhale is used by your haemoglobin. So the actual weight of oxygen needed to oxygenate your blood, compared to the weight of the blood itself, is minute.

Rec Blood, needed for weight loss exercise
Photo by Cassi Josh on Unsplash

The energy provided by this small amount of oxygen (small in comparison with the weight of the food you need to make the blood containing the haemoglobin to pick up the oxygen) is huge.

As we said, you can survive without food for weeks (though I don’t recommend doing without food) and without water for days. Without air you die within minutes.

Qi from Air

This Qi from air is precious and vital. It makes it all the more important that you use acupuncture to ensure your Lungs function works well so you can do your weight loss exercise properly. What use is all that wonderful blood derived from the very best foods you’ve eaten and digested unless your Lungs can energise it?

If your lungs can’t provide your blood with enough oxygen, even with the best food your body won’t function. How then can you expect to  lose weight? All this slows you down and prevents you doing what you need to allow your bodies to burn up the fat.

Obviously if you’re using acupuncture for weight loss, your therapist must consider your Lungs.

How to get your Lung energy to work better

OK, so you’ve been to your acupuncturist, you’ve had your Lung energy treated and it’s working better, and now you’re feeling inspired to proceed to your weight loss exercise. What to do?

Simple. Start walking.

Even a little walking gets your lungs working. Walking daily for 20 minutes at a speed sufficient to get you nearly out of breath, or just able to have a conversation, is probably enough. (However, if you have never exercised, work up to this time gradually.)


man wearing red cap crossing street
Photo by Tyler Nix

Ideally you should do this in open, unpolluted air of course and the more green vegetation around you the better, because the leaves of plants in light create oxygen. The more weight loss exercise you take, like walking, later like running (see below for the best way to help your health, your circulation, your spirit and your weight) the more your lungs will work out and the more efficient they’ll become.

The main benefit of this goes not to your body but to your brain. That’s where you get the positive outlook – ‘spirit’ – to maintain progress. That’s when weight loss exercise becomes a pleasure. Why? Not just because it gets your weight down, but you enjoy life more!

It’s worth it and face it, air is free!

The Best Weight Loss Exercise?

I’ll come to that, but don’t overlook other ways. Preferably find or do what you enjoy, either alone if that’s your preference, or with others.

It could be running. Please don’t jog: run, preferably up hill and down dale, but all over your local park, varying the routes and your speed. Try running uphill fast and downhill slow.

Add muscle and burn calories through weight lifting, racket sports, ball games and so on.


I once had a patient who weighed 28 stone – that’s nearly 180 kilos.

She worked as a clerk in an office. She couldn’t walk up the stairs but fortunately they had a goods lift she could use.

She also couldn’t walk past a shop selling chocolates without buying some. High carbohydrate, refined and densely packed sugar in the chocolate rapidly increased her weight.

So she came for acupuncture to help her lose weight.

I found that her Lungs were full of phlegm and her Spleen energy very weak.

I treated both her Spleen and her Lungs with acupuncture once a week for three weeks.

She found her lungs clearing (she told me she pee’d a lot for days as her body cleared away the phlegm) and to her surprise her craving for chocolate disappeared.

I was then away for a week after which I treated her only twice more, a fortnight apart.

What I was treating wasn’t her weight, but Lung Cold Phlegm, Lung Qi deficiency, and Spleen Qi deficiency.

A Year Later!

A year passed, and one day I answered a ring at the door. There stood every young man’s dream girl: curvy, tanned, lithe and smiling. At first I didn’t recognise her and she laughed with delight!

She’d taken up swimming the fourth week after she came for treatment but initially couldn’t make it across the pool, though she’d been her school’s best swimmer in her teens.

3 months later she’d been able to swim the crawl for almost all her lunch break, shedding pounds.

Now she was engaged and had just returned from a fortnight’s holiday with her fiancé in the West Indies.

She just wanted to say thank-you and say that her weight was about 10.5 stone (65 kilos) which, for her height and build, was about right.

So, for her, swimming was just right.

Interval Training Weight Loss Exercise

But if you seriously want to lose weight, and don’t have much time, try interval training as your weight loss exercise.

It’s easy but you do need space, or a gym with running (ie treadmill), elliptical, cycling or rowing machines.

You should also check with your health practitioner, your doctor or acupuncturist, that you’re ready for it.

What do you do? Click here for Interval Training.


Ancient Systems of Weight Loss Exercise

Have you tried

  • Tai Chi or Qi Gong?
  • Or the Yoga Bellows breathing exercises
  • or the Yoga Asanas?
  • They’re hard work and they get you fit.
  • Funnily enough their effect, rightly done, isn’t so different to the interval training weight-loss exercise described above.
Tai Chi for Lung Phlegm fluids
Tai Qi – Photo by Mark Hang Fung So on Unsplash

What else can your acupuncturist do?

When you visit your acupuncturist, s/he will want not just to balance your Lung function to help you with your weight loss exercise regime.

Your Lung function must work in equal partnership with the Large Intestine function, and with its ‘mother’ function, that of your Spleen, and its ‘son’ function, your Kidney.

Responsible therapists using acupuncture with weight loss exercise regimes would look at this very carefully. Any weakness or imbalance in one Organ risks upsetting all the other Organs.

But even with a balanced Lung function, to keep it so you’d have to take exercise. Exercise is built into health. Your body was designed for exercise, not sitting or lying around all the time.

So the food-essence blood has acquired Qi from the Lungs. It now reaches the Heart. The Heart is where blood becomes Blood: you need to know about it! Click here.

Alternatively, return to our first page on Acupuncture for Weight Loss.

Jonathan Brand colours

Stay in Touch!

No spam, only notifications about new articles and updates.

The latest books
Book a Consultation
Book Consultation
Acupuncture consultation

Book a Video consultation if you want to know more about your symptoms

$MMT = window.$MMT || {}; $MMT.cmd = $MMT.cmd || [];$MMT.cmd.push(function(){ $MMT.display.slots.push(["d2755178-d048-4d00-aedf-899470b89852"]); })

Related Articles

photo of person showing silver-colored ring
Causes of disease

Knee Pain

Knee pain has five main causes. It’s certainly worth trying acupuncture before you resort to surgery!

Read More »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *