INTRODUCTION TO TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE
The Five Elements Phases In TCM, or these systems are related to five elements in nature: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. In TCM, the organs are inter-linked with the seasons of the year, temperatures, colors and tastes, all of which have relevance to our health and well-being. For Example, the Kidney is most susceptible to cold and damp, trouble with the Heart is seen in a “red” complexion and tastes most cleansing to the Liver are “sour”. The Five Element¹s Theory emphasizes our interconnectedness. By using the thousands of years of observation offered by TCM as a foundation, we can assume a more proactive role in our personal health and well-being.
corresponds to wood and spring, a time of activities and new beginnings. This important organ system can be referred to as the energy factory of the body, performing over 500 regulatory functions that give the body its flexibility and adaptability. In the Chinese model, the Liver not only neutralizes noxious chemicals, but also harmonizes excessive anger. The Liver stores Blood and is the seat of microcirculation, hence and key to strong nails and healthy eyes.
reflects the fire of summer, the season of abundance. In Chinese philosophy it is the home of Shen, the mental, psychological and spiritual factors in the body. A clear complexion and a joyful countenance are signs of a healthy heart.
is associated with the earth and the harvest of late summer. It is the primary organ of digestion. From food, it extracts Qi, mixes it with blood and transports it to the lungs and heart. A healthy Spleen will be seen in a good appetite and digestion, energy and good muscle tone. An impaired Spleen will engender fatigue, abdominal distension, poor digestion, diarrhea, edema, obesity and phlegm related disorders. The lips relate to the Spleen energy. If the taste is dull and the lips pale and dry, the Spleen energy is out of harmony.
are associated with metal and autumn. The importance of this organ system is evident in Taoist tradition of Qi Gong, which cultivates vitality and prevents disease through the practical discipline of breath.Lungs extract the Essence from the Air, combining it with Essence from Food sent by Spleen. The two are blended into Qi, pure energy, which is dispersed downward into the chest and abdomen and outward toward the muscles, skin and extremities. In TCM, the skin is referred to as the “third lung” and most skin disorders considered to be the result of weak lung Qi. The Lungs mobilize the Wei Qi, or first line of defense, which enables the body to adapt to its environment and resist adversity. The Lungs also disperse moisture to all parts of the body. Healthy Lungs insure healthy metabolism. The Kidneys, associated with water and winter, literally harbor the germ, the seed of continuous regeneration. In TCM, this is referred to as the Jing, all that inherited from our parents.
is the seat of bone marrow production and the key to strong bones, teeth and efficient brain function. The Kidneys regulate the fluid balance of the body, eliminating any waste water from the body. The Kidneys receive Qi from the Lungs and have the function of holding Qi down, thus facilitating the healthy breathing process.