Understanding Chinese Medicine

Understanding Chinese Medicine

Chinese Medicine dates back almost 5000 years to such legendary figures as Shen Nong (The Divine Farmer), and Huang Di (The Yellow Emperor). It’s  basic concepts were established at a time when people lived closer to nature and the changing seasons – perhaps they were more in harmony with their surroundings than we are today. Energy flow, close association with basic elemental forces, and the influence of heat and cold, were all believed to have a great influence on well-being.


Yin-Yang is the way in which the ancient Chinese attempted to describe the forces they could see at work in the world around them. It can be applied to all things, including the workings of the human body.

The idea is that everything is based on pairs of opposing energies, with graduations between them. For example water can be boiling hot or icy cold, with a range of temperatures between the two extremes. It is important to understand that Yin-Yang are relative concepts: anything is only Yin or Yang in comparison to something else.


The Five Elements: Fire, Earth, Metal, Wood, and Water, are simply another way (besides Yin-Yang) of describing natural energies. They are used to categorize the environment and to describe the body, each controlling particular organs and body functions.

Each element is associated with a flavor, color, season, direction, and many other aspects, and can be matched to body type and personality.

The five elements are connected in a very formalized way, which reflects their origination.

For example, water causes new plants to grow in the spring to create wood which in turn is destroyed in the fire of summer to return to ashes and earth. Earth is the source of ores yielding medal, which being cold causes condensation to appear as water.


Also known as the Eight Principles, the eight conditions are specifically medical concepts that elaborate on the idea behind Yin-Yang, allowing things to be defined more clearly.

They’re made up of four pairs of opposites: Yin-Yang Hot-Cold Full-Empty Interior-Exterior. Symptoms can be defined as full (and excess of something), empty (a lack of something), interior (internal causes), exterior (external causes), hot (diseases with symptoms of the of heat), or cold (diseases with symptoms of cold). His symptoms or disease can have several of these properties.


Illnesses result from either external causes (the Six Evils: Wind, Cold, Fire, Summer Heat, Dryness, and Damp), or internal disharmony between the organs and their associated emotions, often related to imbalances in the organs’ energy.

The emotions are also seen as a significant cause of disease.

One of the main causes of disharmony is Dampness (just like water that has leaked into the wrong place and caused damage). It happens when Fluids cease to be dealt with properly by the body, becoming thick and Stagnant.  Dampness also tends to combine with any Heat that is lurking in the body, producing symptoms of inflammation.   The Chinese idea of Phlegm is a further worsening of a problem caused by Damp, and this will most often be found in the Lungs.


Each organ has a set of functions, areas of the body it controls, and a channel or meridian along which acupuncture points are located. These organs are not to be confused with the organs of modern anatomy and Western medicine, and are generally written with a capital letter to distinguish them.

The Zang or solid organs are the Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lungs, and Kidneys.

The Fu or hollow organs are the Gall Bladder, Small Intestine, Stomach, Large Intestine and Bladder.

The other two organs are the pericardium (the outer protective layer of the heart) and the triple heater or San Jiao, which controls the distribution of Heat and Water.


Qi means energy or vital force.

It is the potential energy within all living things from plants to humans. The strength of our Qi determines our vitality and is the catalyst for all the bodies processes.

Qi moves the blood and the blood nourishes the organs in order to produce Qi. We all have different types of Qi, preserving and nurturing it is the most important step you can take to protect your health.


The blood represents all the moistening, nourishing and cooling processes in the body, and works with Qi to maintain health and happiness.  It nourishes the organs, especially the brain, heart, and liver.

Jing or “essence” is closely associated with inherited Qi, reproductive energy, and the Kidneys.  As with Qi, the strength of the Jing –  the energy we are born with – helps to determine our basic constitution.

The body fluids (Jin Ye), like blood, moisten and nourish the body, circulating from the stomach through all the organs. Imbalance in Body Fluids is associated with Dampness and Phlegm.

The Shen (Mind or Spirit) resides in the Heart and upsets lead to insomnia, confusion, and anxiety. Jing, Qi, and Shen are the “Three Treasures”.


Call me to make an appointment for a FREE Consultation and let me help you set up a program for you to be proactive in maintaining your health the CHINESE MEDICINE WAY!


(818) 280-9133

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