Wind-Water invades Lungs? This is a syndrome in Chinese medicine. That means it describes a set of symptoms that is understood and can be treated by this 3000+ year old system of medicine.
However, it has to be said that if you develop this syndrome you probably won’t be thinking of visiting your friendly neighbourhood acupuncturist. You’ll be heading for the nearest Accident and Emergency department. Your family will be worried, rightly.
I therefore think this page won’t be read much by patients, except perhaps after the event. If you are a patient reading it, and not a student or practitioner of Chinese medicine, I apologise if it therefore seems a bit heavy on terminology, yin, yang and such.
Symptoms of Wind-Water invades Lungs
These can develop fast.
Oedema – swelling – round your eyes and over your face
Makes you look as if you’ve been on high dose steroids ie moon-faced, but without the hair growth and acne
Face goes shiny and bright as the skin stretches
Oedema swelling spreads down over your whole body
You stop peeing: any urine is minimal, though pale
You become very sensitive to air movement, wind, drafts
Cough – more a kind of catching your breath, as if blocked by fluids (which is what is happening)
Short of breath. Can’t catch your breath. Breathless on exertion.
Pulse: described in Chinese medicine as floating and slippery/rolling. That is felt as being floating indicates this is an exterior syndrome ie the attack has come from outside your body and is not due to a chronic internal problem. Rolling or slippery pulses indicate Phlegm or Damp.
Tongue: either normal, in the very early stages, but usually develops a white coating that looks sticky. This supports the pulse diagnosis of Phlegm or Damp.
Cause of Wind-Water invades Lungs
From the perspective of Chinese medicine, Wind-Water invades Lungs occurs because of an invasion by Wind-Cold, with Dampness.
These are diagnosed as having invaded your Lungs, which is different from how Western medicine would diagnose it. Western medicine probably sees this as due to kidney insufficiency, and looks for a bug (virus or bacteria) to blame.
According to Chinese medicine, if there is any bug in the system, its importance is minimal, because Wind-Cold syndromes aren’t usually caused by bugs.
But if/when medics test your urine, they’ll find a bug, trust me! We’ve all got a few bugs down there, but if you’re healthy, the ‘bad’ bugs are held in check by good bugs.
Or perhaps the ‘bad’ bugs are holding the ‘good’ bugs in check! But according to Chinese medicine, bugs don’t constitute the main cause, although they could follow later as a secondary effect.
To make more sense of this, you need to read a bit about the Lungs in Chinese medicine, and what their functions are. An important part of what they do is to order the movement of fluids in your body, and to be in charge of the first line of defence against attack from outside, including your skin – like the walls of a castle.
When Wind-Cold with Dampness invades, it blocks the normal movements of the Lungs, and their control of the ‘water passages’. Consequently your skin accumulates water and you find it hard to breathe properly, causing breathlessness and a cough.
Why is your face affected?
You may wonder why your face is the first place to accumulate swelling: that’s because another of the Lungs’ functions is to send things downwards. (You use this property of your lungs when, if stressed, you use deep breathing to calm yourself down.) When that fails, your face blocks up. You see this in another way when your nose blocks up during a cold and you get sinusitis, though this comes more with an invasion of Wind-Heat.
You ask, why did I get it?
Had you been
perfectly fit, and
had kept yourself rested,
warm and dry,
not tired out,
the theory says you wouldn’t have got it.
So ask yourself, where did you go wrong?!
What treatments help
Wind-water invades Lungs is a syndrome in Chinese medicine, so Chinese medicine has ways to treat it. So does your Western medicine doctor, but I suggest you don’t try both paths at the same time. One might muddy the waters for the other.
However, do not delay in seeking whichever treatment you choose.
Why? – because if this syndrome Wind-Water Invades Lungs gets worse, it could start to adversely affect your kidneys, blocking them up too.
Containing water and Damp, Wind-Water invades Lungs is a very Yin pathogenic factor, and quickly exhausts your Yang resources, meaning your Kidney Yang and your Spleen Yang energies.
The ‘wind‘ part of the syndrome makes if fast-acting. Hence you need quick treatment.
Having your Lungs blocked up is one thing. Having your Kidneys blocked up too is bad news. The right treatment, early, prevents this.
Your acupuncturist will aim to …
release the Exterior part of your defence system which has unfortunately contained, or trapped, the invading external pathogenic force inside,
re-set your Lung energy to start descending again, and
open up the Water passages, which basically means getting you to urinate properly again, to pee away all the moisture which has created the oedema. A measure of his success will be how much you manage to pee!
In Chinese medicine, there are several powerful ways to do this:
Acupuncture uses points on acupuncture channels that mainly affect your Lung and Yang energies. None of them stimulate your kidneys or bladder as a priority because, as explained, 3000 years of experience has shown that’s not the best way to treat this.
ask someone to massage your upper back, as vigorously as you can stand it and for a few minutes, though not if it’s very painful or exhausts you. If this helps, get it done hourly. (This stimulates your Lung energy to descend.)
Apply warmth to your upper back and your lumbar area eg a warm bean-bag, heated in a microwave. Warmth on your lumbar back (the small of your back) helps nourish Kidney Yang which can assist Lung Yang.
Apply warmth to your feet, to make sure the blood circulates well down there (this helps to ‘descend’ yang)
What about hot baths? Here the theory goes in two ways. Water is yin, heat is yang. I’m inclined to suggest that you don’t have a hot bath (because it means lying down).
Instead, have a hot shower (ie standing or sitting upright). But even then, it’s a lot of water and moist air, from which your Lung Yang (already weak) may not benefit. Try it once perhaps, and decide for yourself.