How Chinese medicine works?
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 body’s 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.
Yin & Yang
The idea is that everything is based on pairs of opposing energies, with gradations 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: a thing is only Yin or Yang in comparison to something else.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, good health is believed to be achieved by a balance between Yin and Yang.
The Five Elements
The Five Elements – fire, earth, metal, wood and water – are simply another way 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 flavour, 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 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 metal which, being cold, causes condensation to appear as water.
The Twelve Organs
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.
* BLOOD AND THE THREE TREASURES
The blood represents all the moistening, nourishing, and cooling processes in the body, and works with Qi to maintain health and happiness. It nurtures 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)
* THE EIGHT CONDTIONS
Also known as the eight principles, The Eight conditions are specifically medical concepts that elaborate on the ideas behind YIN-YANG, allowing things to be defined more clearly. They are made up of four pairs of opposites: Yin-Yang, Hot-Cold, Full-Empty, and Interior-Exterior. Symptoms can be defined as Ful l(an excess of something), Empty(a lack of something), Interior(internal causes), Exterior(external causes), Hot(diseases with symptoms of heat) or Cold(diseases with symptoms of cold). A symptoms or disease can have several of these properties.
* DAMPNESS AND OTHER EVILS
Illnesses result from either external causes (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 or 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.
How Chinese herbs help you? What benefits can you get?
* Organ functions
Yang organs are functional hollow workhouses n(such as the Stomach, Intestines or Bladder), where crude Body Fluids are processed. The Yin organs (such as the Liver, Heart and Lungs), are solid organs where more precious fluids are stored.
Under Chinese medical treatment, it is important to remember that the Chinese view of anatomy is partially poetic. The organs are viewed on a functional rather than a literal basis, a system crafted from careful observation of the body, in health and disease, over thousands of years.
* Which organs are important:
You will find that some organs, which are seen s relatively unimportant in conventional Western medicine, have a critical role in Chinese Medicine. Likewise, organs that are frequently diagnosed as dysfunctional in conventional Chinese texts.
For instance, Western medicine regards the spleen as a largely superfluous organ, which can be removed without complication (although the view is now changing). In Chinese Medicine, however, the Spleen occupies a central role in all the transformative functions of the body, and is essential to health. However little mention is made of the appendix, thyroid or pancreas in Chinese texts, although they are clearly important organs. This is because the functions of these glands and organs are under the jurisdiction of one of the twelve organs. The pancreas is considered part of the Spleen system, the thyroid part of the kidney network and so on. Each system works consistently within its own boundaries.
* individual organ problems :
* EMOTIONAL ISSUES
Think about the stresses of our modern world. Most of us don’t have to worry too much about physical concerns such as keeping warm, or having a roof over our heads. Instead we are weighted down by relationship difficulties, financial concerns, and job insecurity. These types of stress partly explain the much higher incidence of mental and emotional problems found in industrialized countries, compared to traditional cultures.
MIND & BODY
Physical problems can affect mental state, and emotions can have a bearing on physical health. This can be seen when an organ is out of balance. For example, Spleen Qi Deficiency can lead to tiredness, diarrhoea, poor concentration and a tendency to worry. The Five Elements also illustrate this particularly clearly, as they are physical-emotional pictures of body types. Looking at the information for, say, the Wood type, you will discover that there may be anger and irritability as well as problems such as period pain, or body type, any physical, mental or emotional problems present can be alleviated together.
The Heart is the seat of individual consciousness, giving us the ability to be calm and therefore to sleep soundly. The Chinese concept of heart problems should not be confused with the idea of heart disease in conventional medicine: having a ‘heart’ disharmony does not mean that you are going to have a heart attack! The Heart is often involved in insomnia, which is likely to result from the presence of heat, producing hyperactivity, or a Deficiency. Other triggers are a lack of Blood, causing the Mind to wander, or a disharmonious Liver, leading to restlessness; Identifying the exact cause is important in order to select an appropriate remedy.
* DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
An efficient digestive system is absolutely central to good health; it transforms the food you can and the fluids you drink into Qi energy and Bloody nourishment. With a good digestion, you will have lots of energy, and keep your body in good working order. If you do get ill, you will be more likely to recover from illness quickly. If the system is not fully functional, then imbalances in the distribution of the beneficial Jing , or essence—distilled from food—can lead to problems.
* WATER METABOLISM
Your body is about 70% water, just like the surface of the Earth. Fluids are essential to all bodily functions as they provide moisture, nourishment and cooling. In Chinese Medicine, water metabolism in the body is governed by the three systems of the Triple Heater, or San Jiao. Each system- the Upper, Middle and Lower Jiao- deals with a different area of the body and ensures that food essences are properly separated and the fluids distributed to the correct tissues.
* HEART AND RESPIRATION
There are two main organs in the Upper Jiao: the Heart and Lungs; they work together to govern breathing and the circulation of Qi and Blood, and the Lungs on the Qi; they both have a separate and distinct rhythmic motion, Which is responsible for the propulsion of the Qi and Blood around the body, and particularly throughout the network of Meridians or Channels.
* SKIN, HAIR AND NAILS
As external aspects of the body, the condition of the skin, hair and nails is dependent on nourishment from the Blood. They are all said to be made from the ‘excess’ of the Blood, so you can also guess at your Blood’s richness from the state of these tissues. They are also linked to the Five Element model and can signify the underlying balance of their associated Zang organs. Skilled Chinese physicians can often make an accurate diagnosis simply by looking at these external tissues.
* PAIN AND STIFFNESS
Pain is probably the single most common complaint that people suffer from, in every country in the world. Although there are many reasons for pain. In Chinese Medicine all pain is said to result from a blockage of Qi and Blood in the Meridian Channels, causing obstruction which results in Stagnation. Therefore, pain can always be treated by regulating and encouraging the flow of Qi and Blood.
The rise in the numbers of people complaining of allergic conditions has multiplied by an astonishing amount over the last decade. Some of these are well documented, such as asthma and hay fever. Others are new phenomena which have divided medical opinion as to whether their cause is physical or psychosomatic (in the mind). This second group includes problems such extreme food allergies, candidiasis(yeast overgrowth) and chemical sensitivity.
* WOMEN’S HEALTH
The female anatomy and physiology is considerably more complex than the male. Menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. It is important to remind ourselves that none of these is a disease. All three are normal physiological processes, which most women will go through without problems. The common element in all three areas is the Chinese concept of the Blood, which is the basis of the saying ‘women’ lives are dominated by Blood.
* MEN’S HEALTH
In Traditional Chinese Medicine a man’s life is counted in stages of eight years, with puberty at sixteen. Largely problems associated with the male reproductive system and urinary disorders.
* BABES AND CHILDREN
When treating babies and young children, it is essential to use simple, safe formulas at low dosages. Children under the age of seven are considered to have undeveloped Qi and organ functions. Their condition can change rapidly and fluctuate accordingly. The pulse and tongue are particularly hard to gauge in young children. Chinese physicians usually inspect the index finger, looking at colour and the quality of the bloody vessels.