Circadian Clock

Our bodies have a number of processes that happen at regular intervals throughout the day. We respond to light and dark, hot and cold, and other natural polarities - in effect "yin and yang". Through spending less time in natural environments, working long hours, eating at odd hours and all of the other less natural behaviors we conduct we may disrupt these processes. Western medicine uses the term "circadian rhythms" to describe these processes and the changes that happen internally in response to our environment. While researchers do not yet understand all of the rhythms and their effects, we are beginning to explore the relationship between disruptions in these rhythms and the development of illness. More obvious issues that arise such as jet lag are well known, but psychological issues, digestive problems, insomnia and fatigue among others may be related as well. Chinese Medicine uses the theory of the Chinese clock to describe a similar set of activities that happen on a daily basis and also effect our health. This article is going to explore both of these systems looking for similarities as well as tools we can use to help us live more in sync with our natural environment.

 

Chinese medicine contains a full pool of information based on observations of interactions with our environment over thousands of years. Much as each meridian system has a corresponding season, color, emotion and other related connections, so does each 24 hour period. As with the circadian rhythms of the west, the meridians follow natural periods of heightened activity and of relative rest. Observing and respecting this rhythm allows our body to function more efficiently and to defend against illness.

Circadian rhythms describe regular events that happen to all humans, plants and animals on a daily basis. We are far from understanding all of them and their effects on our health but we know that there are processes that happen in all of us on a roughly 24 hour cycle influenced by various cues from our environment. The influence of these rhythms can change sleep and wake cycles, release various hormones, influence body temperature and regulate other important bodily functions. While we all have circadian rhythms there are some differences in the length of the cycles which helps to explain why some of us are "night owls" and others are "morning people". There also appears to be a genetic component to our rhythms which explains why some lifestyle habits such as staying up late appear to run in families.

Besides obvious disruptions such as flying across the international date line, the majority of the disruptions to our internal clock are related to a less natural environment and various lifestyle habits. Many of us know the joys of going camping - the fresh air, the cool streams, etc. What is interesting about camping, particularly after a few days, is how you begin going to sleep a few hours after sundown and wake up right around sunrise. At home we have lights, tv's, computers, stores that are open 24 hours and more to keep us stimulated and busy much later than we would in a natural setting. It should come as no surprise that this would have an impact on us.

The circadian rhythms are controlled by our body's master clock or what is known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Using sleep as an example, our master clock receives information from the optic nerves about how much light is outside. As the SCN receives information that there is less light the brain is triggered to produce more melatonin so you can sleep. This is one of many reasons why people with trouble sleeping should not watch TV or use the computer before trying to go to sleep as they are too bright and too stimulating.



source: www.yinyanghouse.com

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Five Elements

The first recorded references to the five element theory appear within Chinese texts from the warring states period which dates from 476-221 BC. While those are the first recorded descriptions, in reality the five element theory is largely based on common sense observance and aspects of the theory would have been understood by people naturally. Wood burns and creates fire, water nourishes trees and plants (wood), the summer is hot (fire), the winter is cool (water), etc. The formalization of the theory happens over time as it was used more in a medical context as well as in political, religious, and social contexts.



The five elements are Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. Each of the elements has correspondences with the seasons, foods, emotional states, diseases, senses, etc.



Essentially, five element theory is used to help explain the cause of particular diseases, and to associate signs or symptoms to particular organs and afflictions. In the context of “phases,” five element theory helps to explain the processes that are occurring the body throughout various stages of disease and healing. This is particularly useful in explaining the processes that take place during the generating and controlling cycles mentioned in five element theory.



Within five element theory are four main cycles, or ways in which the elements (and their associated emotions, colors, sounds, odors, etc.) interact. The first of these is the 'sheng', or generating cycle. In this cycle, each element serves as a “mother,” which promotes the growth and development of the following, or “child,” element.

Each element provides a generating force or foundation for the element that immediately follows it, i.e., the Fire element provides a foundation for the Earth element, the Earth element provides a nurturing foundation for the Metal element, and so on.

The second main cycle is called the 'ke', or controlling cycle. According to ke cycle theory, each element is involved in a checks-and-balances relationship that helps keep things in order; each element both controls and is controlled by another element (Water, for example, controls Fire, but is itself controlled by Earth).

The third and fourth cycles in Five Element theory are cycles of imbalance. In the 'cheng' cycle, or overactive cycle, an element overacts, or exerts too much control, over its subordinate element, damaging the element and causing imbalances in the body. For example, the Water element may completely put out the Fire element, or the Earth element may soak up the Water element completely. In the 'wu' or insulting cycle, forces are actually reversed; the subordinate element returns the controlling force generated by the controlling element, again causing an imbalance in the body. Instead of Water suppressing Fire, in the wu cycle, Fire would actually burn up Water.



source: www.yinyanghouse.com

 

                                      Wood                             Fire                                Earth                               Metal                             Water

.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
Seasons                                  Spring                                Summer            Late Summer or Intercalary Period             Autumn                                    Winter
​.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Directions                              East                                      South                                          Centre                                      West                                      North
​.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Colours                              Green/ Blue                               Red                                            Yellow                                     White                                  Black/Blue
......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Tastes                                       Sour                                     Bitter                                          Sweet                                       Pungent                                 Salty
......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Climates                                 Wind                                      Heat                                      Dampness                                   Dryness                                  Cold
......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Animals                                   Fish                                       Birds                                          Human                                    Mammals                          Shell-covered
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Grains                                    Wheat                              Millet, Beans                                Rye, Rice                                  Hemp, Rice                       Soy Bean, Millet

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Meat                                     Chicken                                 Mutton                                         Beef                                            Horse                                     Pork

......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Vegetable                       Short Green                             Round                                      Leafy Green                                 Tall Green                               Bushy
......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Fruit                                         Plum                                   Apricot                                          Date                                            Peach                                Chestnut
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Cooking                                 Steam                                     Raw                                             Stew                                             Bake                                  Sauteed
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Yin Organs                             Liver                                     Heart                                         Spleen                                          Lungs                                   Kidneys
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Yang Organs                   Gallbladder                        Sm. Intestine                                Stomach                                      L. Intestine                              Bladder
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Sense Organs                        Eyes                                    Tongue                                     Mouth                                            Nose                                        Ears
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Emotions                      Anger, Jealousy                              Joy                        Worry, Pensiveness, Anxiety                  Sorrow,Grief                                Fear

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Sounds                                Shouting                      Laughing, Talking                             Singing                                  Crying, Weeping              Groaning, Complaining

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Sound  in Illness               Talking                                 Belching                                  Swallowing                                    Coughing                               Yawning

......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Odor                                    Rancid                                  Scorched                                   Fragrant                                         Rotten                                    Putrid

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Tissue                Ligaments, Tendons, Tissues   Blood Vessels, Blood                    Fat, Muscles                  Skin, Mucous Membranes        Bones, Marrow, Teeths

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Strained by                         Reading                                Walking                                      Sitting                                            Lying                                   Standing

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Instinct                                Emotion                                   Spirit                                    Conscience                                     Health                                       Will

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Though                                 Relaxed                             Enlightened                                  Careful                                      Energetic                                   Quiet

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Tendency                                 Up                                     Periphery                                   Balance                                         Down                                     Center

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Secretion                               Tears                                      Sweat                                         Saliva                                           Snivel                                    Sputum

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Spirit                                        Hun                                        Shen                                              Yi                                                Po                                            Zhi
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Stage                                         Birth                                     Growth                              Transformation                    Absorption, Harvest                        Storage
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Numbers                              8 and 3                                   7 and 2                                      5 and 10                                      9 and 4                                    6 and 1
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Creatures                               Scaly                                  Feathered                               Naked, Human                                Furred                                    Shelled
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Mythical                               Dragon                                  Red Bird                                     Phoenix                                         Tiger                         Black Tortoise, Snake

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5 Sources                     Original Nature                      Original Spirit                             Original Vitality                      Original Affectivity                Original Essence

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5 Virtues                          Compassion                            Propriety                                    Integrity                                  Selflessness                               Wisdom
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5 Qualities                 Sense of Direction             Understanding Sacred            Trust and Reliability                    Radiance of Sound             Soft and Harmonious

                                         and Strategy                           Connections                                                                                       and Light
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5 Powers                           Containment                           Respect                                 Commitment                               Discernment                           Awareness
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5 Emotional Poisons           Anger                                     Hate                                           Blame                                       Judgement                               Disdain 
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5 Taboos                                      Kill                Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour                  Lie                                               Steal                                       Drink
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5 Family Roles                  Oldest Child                             Father                                     Ancestors                               Younger Children                         Mother
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5 Social Roles                        Workers                               Leaders                                     Farmers                                       Scholars                             Businessmen
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5 Religions                          Christianity                        Confucianism                               Daoism                                           Islam                                   Buddhism
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5 Facial Features                  Long                                     Pointed                                     Square                                          Round                                      Plump 
......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

5 Speech Instruments       Teeth                                    Tongue                                       Nose                                               Lips                                        Throat
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5 Vocal Expressions           Abrupt                                     High                                          Level                                         Drawn Out                                   Low

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  • WATER

When the Kidney Qi is weak, there can be problems with water metabolism, urination, fertility, or sexuality. This person could be anxious, fearful, and withdrawn, and in more severe cases, phobic.
Water symbolically represents fluidity, or the ability to 'go with the flow'. Hence, if somebody is a person who is like water he will be yielding, flexible, and easy-going. May also be timid, fearful and 'wishy-washy' at some times.
'Water people' are clever, articulate, and evasive, introspective and their thoughts run deep. They have a calm energy that calms everyone around. Their mind is lucid and they take in knowledge as they observe life, making them wiser than their years would suggest. They are resilient and constant, have great integrity and are usually not ones to compromise their principles.
If their water element is out of balance, or is blocked, they may lack their qualities, or have lost them over time as the imbalance has grown more severe. Cleverness turns to absentmindedness, evasiveness to isolation, introspection to phobic fears, calmness to detachment, resilience turns to exhaustion and integrity could turn to rigid belief patterns.



  • characteristics:

-willpower
-self motivation and drive
-humility
-integrity and authenticity
-reverence
-trust
-reassurance
-stillness and calmness
-listening
-self contained
-ability to feel fear and act appropriately
-acceptance
-wisdom
-well grounded
-ability to reassure ourselves and others
-assessing risks
-ability to protect ourselves appropriately







  • WOOD

People who have strong energy of the wood element have a clear vision and goals, and know how to bring them into being. They excel at planning and decision making. They can be forceful in disagreements and can strongly argue their opinions. Their piercing, penetrating eyes may attract.
They are usually highly confident and motivated, have the power to envision the future and dispose of some kind of insight. They take their vision and make strategic plans - are also courageous and resourceful in implementing change. They love a challenge and welcome deadlines - also like ambitions and competitions.
Wood is symbolic of life and the process of renewing life. In Chinese philosophy, it is associated with assertiveness, aggressiveness, strong drives and anger. When the wood element is weak, that drive is diminished, making a person feel discouraged or depressed.
People who are deficient in wood energy experience weakness in the liver and gallbladder organs. This results in an inability to move forward in a constructive manner and possible feeling mentioned above. Motivation could then turn to confrontation, planning to reckless impulsiveness, courage to aggression, ambition to arrogance, confidence to tyranny, competitiveness to pretension.



  • characteristics:

-clear boundaries
-assertive
-planning
-decision making
-clarity
-vision/far-sightedness
-well organised
-determined
-strong sense of justice
-benevolent and humane
-balance of firmness and flexibility
-commitment to growth and development
-recognition of inner goals







  • FIRE

Fire is the element of enthusiasm, drive, desire, and passion. If somebody  is 'full of fire' it means lively, dynamic, outgoing and enthusiastic. When that fire is deficient, one could feel "burned out."
'Fire people' are fun, have a great sense of humour and laugh easily and frequently. They are public speakers, optimistic and generous and love conversations. They make friends easily and have a special magnetism and charisma.
,Fire element often swing between the two extremes of being joyful and sad. Many of them, however, only show the happier side of their personality to the world. Their sadness is often kept more private. Other people might describe them as having sunny dispositions, a cheerful nature or being a friendly person or a 'nice guy'.'  (Hicks & Hicks & Mole, 2004 p.99).
When the fire Qi is weak, a person may be lack-luster or bland, may suffer from anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. One may also stutter, talk too much and too rapidly, or laugh nervously. May be too excitable, easily stimulated to excesses, or may be emotionally cold and unfeeling.
If the fire is in imbalance fun could turn to giddiness, conversation becomes incoherent babble and generosity selfishness, friendliness could turn to flirtation, charisma becomes seduction and enthusiasm grandiosity.



  • characteristics:

-love and compassion
-communication and sociability
-joy, excitement and pleasure
-ability to trust
-intimacy in relationships
-sense of humour
-openness
-dynamism
-expressiveness
-passion
-sexuality
-charisma
-enthusiasm
-ability to shine







  • EARTH

Someone with properly developed Earth energy is a well grounded, nurturing, compassionate person. Earth people like to bring others together and make good mediators or peacemakers and reliable friends. They often enjoy preparing food and eating. Some may be attracted by their generous mouth and full, sensuous lips.
Earth people tend to try to do too much for others and as a result they wind up with worry, stress and the frequent digestive upset that accompanies it.
"Typically the facial expression of a person giving or receiving sympathy is a soft caring look on the face. The expression in the eyes has been compared to that of a 'puppy dog' and the cheeks and mouth may be open, soft and relaxed. There is also a distinctive tilt to the head when someone is being understanding and caring and the forehead may have a few small lines of concern on it."  (Hicks & Hicks & Mole, 2004 p. 208).
They are nurturing and empathetic to other people's plights - have an amiable disposition and this makes them very popular. They are a patient listeners, even strangers feel comfortable with them.
If the earth element is out of balance friendliness changes to meddling, empathy to induration, resolution  to ambivalence, listening to ignorance, connections to overbearing attachments and facilitating to complications.



  • characteristics:

-stability
-grounded
-assimilation
-nourishment
-caring
-supportive
-importance of the home
-centred
-reaping rewards of efforts
-softness
-empathy and understanding







  • METAL

People with well balanced metal energy are well organized, self disciplined, and conscientious. They are also guarded, aloof, socially-correct and like structure in their life. They are most comfortable in situations when they know the rules and can succeed by following them.
'Metal people' may have a lot of unacknowledged grief and sadness inside, so they may have shielded themselves to avoid experiencing more emotional pain.
For many people the need to numb the pain of grief and sadness is an emotional necessity. To deny that anything is amiss can become compulsive. If something has gone wrong apologies are seldom offered as that would involve admitting to themselves and others that they failed to behave appropriately to the needs of the situation. The tendency to be somewhat inert and lacking of passion is a key characteristic."   (Hicks & Hicks & Mole, 2004 p. 134).
People with healthy metal element dispose of a great integrity, remain aloof in relationships, but everyone knows where they stand with them. Usually are correct and fair with everyone. They have no place for disorder and conflict in their lives, preferring structure and control. A metal balanced person is typically an expert in his field and seeks perfection - is able to think logically and acts with methodical efficiency.
If the this element is out of balance or blocked, integrity could turn to hypocrity, structure to rigidity, fair relationships slip to authoritative punishments, perfection seeking leads to disappointment and logic may turn to self doubt.



  • characteristics:

-self worth, self respect
-sense of quality, richness and value in life
-commitment
-inspiration
-connection, meaningfulness
-purity, cleanliness
-pride and dignity
-recognition and acknowledgement
-precision and attention to detail; skilful, expertise
-ability to grieve and move on
-ability to let go appropriately
-relation to the father
-sense of justice



references: Hicks A.; Hicks J.; Mole P.; /2004/. Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture. London: Churchill Livingstone.

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Liver



The liver's main physiological functions and indicators are:



  • storing blood

  • creating unrestrained conditions for qi

  • controlling the tendons and the luster reflected in the nais

  • opening into the eye

 

The liver is called the 'General' or 'Chief of Staff' and is responsible for filtering, detoxifying, nourishing, replenishing, and storing blood. The liver stores large amounts of sugar in the form of glycogen, which it releases into the blood stream as glucose whenever the body requires extra infusions of metabolic energy. The liver receives all amino acids extracted from food by the small intestine and recombines them to synthesize the various forms of protein required for growth and repair of bodily tissues.
The liver controls the peripheral nervous system, which regulates muscular activity and tension. The inability to relax is often caused by liver dysfunction or imbalance in Wood energy. Liver energy also controls ligaments and tendons, which together with muscles regulate motor activity and determine physical coordination. Liver function is reflected externally in the condition of finger- and toenails and by the eyes and vision. Blurry vision is often a result of liver malfunction rather than an eye problem, and even Western medicine recognizes the symptomatic yellow eyes of liver jaundice.

  • Liver: psycho-emotional aspects:  

Through its association with Wood energy, the liver governs growth and development, drive and desires, ambitions and creativity. Obstruction of liver energy can cause intense feelings of frustration, rage, and anger, and these emotions in turn further disrupt liver energy and suppress liver function, in a vicious self-destructive cycle.



The liver is responsible for planning and creativity, as well as instantaneous solutions or sudden insights; it is therefore considered The General in Charge of Strategy. Its positive psycho-emotional attributes are kindness, benevolence, compassion, and generosity; its negative attributes are anger, irritability, frustration, resentment, jealousy, rage, and depression. The liver is also called the "root of resistance to fatigue." Whenever the liver is not functioning properly (stagnate or excessively hot due to suppressed emotions) the patient can experience fatigue as well as physical weakness.



 

  • Storing blood:

The liver stores blood and regulates the volume of blood circulation according to the needs of various tissues and organs. During rest the amount of blood required by the body decreases and the surplus is stored in the liver. During vigorous activity blood is released from the liver to increase the volume of circulating blood. As Wang Bin's Annotations on the Suwen notes, "The liver stores blood, the heart circulates blood. When the body moves blood circulates in the channels, when at rest it flows back to the liver." If the liver's blood storage function is abnormal, there will be an affect on normal body activities causing hemorrhagic diseases. For example, if liver blood is deficient the following problems may appear: the symptoms of vertigo, contracture of spasm of muscles and tendons, impairment of flexion and extension of limbs or scanty menstruation and amenorrhea.

  • Promotion of unrestrained conditions for qi:

Liver qi possesses the function of regulation. It is responsible for the ascending, descending, and harmony of bodily qi. If the body's qi activity is harmonious and its ascending and descending are normal then the internal organs will continue their normal physiological activities. This function of the liver involves the following aspects:
The liver harmonizes the emotions. Traditional Chinese medicine considers that the normal or abnormal function of an unrestrained and free flowing qi is directly related to emotional activities, and that the mental state is not only dominated by the heart but also the liver. When qi activities are normal, the body has a harmonious circulation of qi and blood, an easy mind and happy emotions. If there is a dysfunction of qi's free flow, it will directly affect the individual's emotional state. For example, liver qi stagnation will give rise to stuffiness and fullness of the chest, unhappy feelings, hypochondriasis, or even mental depression, crying, irregular menstruation, etc. If there is hyperactivity of the liver qi, there may be irritability, anger, insomnia, dream disturbed sleep, dizziness, vertigo, a ringing in the ear (tinnitus), or deafness. Any sudden change in the normal pattern of the emotions, especially great anger or mental depression, can affect and free flowing and spreading function of liver qi resulting in the pathological changes of liver qi stagnation.

Liver qi regulation can assist the ascending function of the spleen and the descending function of the stomach. This also involves bile secretion. Bile is necessary for the digestion of food and drink. If liver qi loses its harmonious flowing activities, it will affect the digestive function of the spleen and stomach and the excretion of bile, leading to the pathological symptoms of jaundice and bitter taste. It is very common that patients with stagnation of liver qi may not only have symptoms such as distension, pain in the chest and hypochondriac regions, anxiety, and anger, but also belching and heartburn due to the failure of the stomach qi to descend and diarrhea caused by the dysfunctional ascending of spleen qi. The former is known as "liver qi affecting the stomach," and the latter as "disharmonious conditions between the liver and the spleen."





  • Controlling the tendons and the luster reflected in the nails:

The tendons, fascia, and ligaments of the body all rely on the nourishment of liver blood. The movements of limbs and joints are not only the result of tendon flexing but are also related to the strength or weakness of liver blood. Only if liver blood is ample, can it nourish and supplement the tendons to continue the normal movements of the limbs. If the liver blood is insufficient and fails to nourish the tendons, the patient might experience symptoms such as tremors of the hands or feet, numbness of the limbs, or even difficulty in flexing and extending the limbs. If pathogenic heat exhausts the body fluid leading to the consumption of blood, then this will cause convulsion,, opisthotonos and lockjaw (trismus). As the Suwen notes, "various kinds of wind diseases causing the eyes to state upwards, twitching, dizziness, and vertigo, belong to the liver."
It is said that, "Nails are the remains of the tendons," The dryness or moisture of the nails can reflect the sufficiency or insufficiency of liver blood. When liver blood is plentiful the tendons are supple and the nails appear hard and moist. If liver blood is insufficient and incapable of nourishing the tendons, then the nails may be thin, soft, brittle, and pale. The Suwen records, "The liver communicates with the tendons. The health of the liver is reflected in the luster of the nails."

  • Opening into the eye:

The essential qi of the five zang and six fu organs flows upwards to nourish the eye. Thus those organs, especially the liver, have a close relationship with the eye. The liver's function of storing blood nourished the eye as its channel travels upwards connecting to the eye system. In the Suwen it says, "Liver qi is in communication with the eyes, so the eyes will be able to distinguish the five colors." Thus an abnormality of liver function can affect the eyes. If the liver blood is insufficient, there will be a dryness of the eyes, blurred vision, or night blindness. If pathogenic wind-heat attacks the liver channel, redness, swelling and pain in the eyes will be the symptoms. If the liver fire flares up, conjunctivitis may occur. If liver yang is in preponderance, dizziness and vertigo occur. Liver wind stirring up produces convulsions with the eyes staring upwards.



  • Liver - the planner:

-plan has to come first; comparable to what is contained within a seed (DNA); information needed in order for it to sprout, grow and change
-'general of the army' - has to have vision, clarity and far sightedness
-structure - necessary part of the plan
-capacity to be appropriately assertive
-good strong boundaries to enable growth and development
-ability to have good, clear judgement and discrimination
-seeker of justice and righteousness
-sense of direction and purpose
-benevolence; kind nature
-giving love
-liver 'stores the blood', plays part in the movement of blood and qi in the body
-opens into the eyes, connected into the sight



  • Gallbladder - the decision maker:

-'coordinator of the army'
-carries out the plan - more near sighted and 'on the ground'
-clear thinking and interpretation in order to make the plan work
-determination - to get there no matter what
-good flexibility, in order to overcome obstacles along the way
-ability to move smoothly
-control, conscience and responsibility

sources: www.tcmbasics.com; manumissio.wikispaces.com

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Spleen

 

  • Spleen: psycho-emotional aspects

The spleen houses the body's thoughts and intentions (Yi), and is responsible for analytical thinking, memory, cognition, intelligence, and ideas. The spleen is responsible for directing memories to the Kidneys for short-term memory storage. The kidneys will later transfer these memories to the heart for long-term memory storage. The spleen's positive psycho-emotional attributes are trust, honesty, openness, acceptance, equanimity, balance, and impartiality. Its negative attributes are worry, excessive thinking, pensiveness, obsessiveness,remorse, regret, obsessions, and self-doubt.

In Chinese medicine, the function of the spleen organ-energy system includes the pancreas. Called the 'Minister of the Granary', the spleen and pancreas control extraction and assimilation of nutrients from food and fluids by providing the digestive enzymes and energy required by the stomach and small intestine. They regulate the quantity and quality of blood in circulation and coordinate with the kidneys to control fluid balance throughout the system. Spleen energy commands extraction of energy from stomach to lungs, where it is blended with energy from air to form True Human Energy. The spleen directly influences and is reflected by the tone and condition of muscle tissue. Weak limbs and muscular atrophy are indications of deficient spleen energy.


Spleen and pancreas condition is reflected externally by the colour and tone of the lips: reddish moist lips indicate strong spleen function; pale dry lips are a sign of weak spleen function. The mouth is the spleen's external aperture, and temperamental moodiness is its associated emotion. The Chinese term for 'bad temper' is 'bad spleen energy', a psychophysiological association also reflected in the English term 'splenetic'.

Western medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have long been viewed as two distinct and divergent medicines. Their approaches to physiology and healing appear quite different in perspective. While Western medicine separates the various systems and organs of the body and delves deeper and deeper into the particles that comprise matter, Chinese medicine views the body and further, the whole person, as a unified organic whole. Spiritual, mental, emotional and physical aspects are all seen as interrelated and interdependent.
 

Western medicine treats illness by isolating the diseased area and giving drug medications to alter and counteract the individual problem. Chinese medicine treats illness by identifying which parts of the whole are out of balance and the resulting energy patterns they form. These are then treated with energetic therapies and herbal medications to correct the imbalance and bring the whole to stasis. While Western medicine derived its theory and treatments from dissection, microscopic analysis and chemical derivations, Chinese medicine developed mainly through thousands of years of observation, not only of the human body, but its relationship to nature and the universe.
Despite the fact that both medicines had a unique historical development and approach healing from a distinctly different perspective, it is fascination to discover actual correspondences between the two, which can allow their differences to assume more complementary roles. Ironically, it is Western medicine, which is helping to bridge this gap, as its well developed technology is now able to corroborate what 5000 years of TCM has known all along. From this we may create a common understanding of the two medicines and learn not only alternative natural therapies to Western drugs, but also how the Chinese treat Western "incurable" diseases and energy imbalances which respond poorly to Western medications.
 

The TCM spleen as the source of energy derived from food and fluid is one of the most important organ systems and makes a good study to appreciate the similarities and differences between the two systems. At first glance it appears there are no correspondences at all, but upon deeper examination we learn that it is only terminology and perspective which mask their underlying similarities. To compare them, however, it is necessary to look beyond the spleen itself in Western medicine to other physiological processes in the body. Because in Chinese medicine the body is seen as an interrelated whole, functions of an organ actually occur on a cellular level throughout the entire body. To compare this with the Western definition of an organ it is thus necessary to look at several processes and cellular constituents as well as the spleen itself.
To inspect these similarities we will first review the Western understanding of the spleen and then a comparison with the Chinese view. 





  • Western view of the spleen

THE SPLEEN ITSELF
In Western medicine the spleen is considered to be part of the lymphatic system in the body. This system is comprised of lymph and lymph vessels, nodes and organs - the tonsils, thymus gland and spleen. The primary function of the lymphatic system is to drain from the tissue spaces protein-containing fluid which escapes from blood capillaries, transport fats from the digestive tract to the blood to produce lymphocytes and develop immunities, and for the lymph organs to filter lymph and add white blood cells and antibodies.
The spleen has several functions in Western medicine:


I. DEFENSE
-phagocytosis of bacteria and worn-out red blood cells and platelets, salvaging iron and globulin content and returning them to the blood
-production of lymphocytes, monocytes and plasma cells, which in turn produce antibodies
-store blood and release it through contraction of the spleen or in case of hemorrhage
-production of red blood cells in the fetus but not adults.


II. THE DIGESTIVE PROCESS
Because the TCM definition of the spleen functions includes the digestive processes and functions, which occur on a cellular level throughout the body, we need to look at both these aspects in Western medicine also. In terms of the western view of digestion, food is digested in the stomach and passed on to the small intestines where the nutrients in the food are absorbed and distributed to all tissues and cells of the body through the blood circulation. Energy is then produced through biological oxidation of foods primarily in the mitochondria of the cells.



III. CELLULAR FUNCTIONS
We now look within the cells themselves in Western medicine to obtain an overall body view. Scattered throughout the plasma in cells are organelles called mitochondria. These are called "the powerhouses of the cells" because they produce most of the form of chemical energy used by the cells. The mitochondria are important in the Krebs cycle in the body, a series of energy-yielding steps in the catabolism of carbohydrates. The enzymes for this pathway are in the mitochondria matrix, and they catalyze oxidation reactions that form ATP, an energy carrying molecule, in the Krebs Cycle.
This cycle occurs as follows: the catabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins transfers energy to the ATP bio-molecule through enzymes and an oxidation process. It does this in two places, in the cytoplasm and in the mitochondria. The latter is the most important place as it accounts for 95% of ATP molecules from glucose breakdown and 100% from fatty acid breakdown. Thus, food is catabolized and energy from it is captured and put into the ATP bio-molecule. The rest of the energy is released as heat that keeps our bodies warm. Then when ATP breaks down, it releases energy for cellular work. Overall, the Krebs cycle provides energy and heat for the body's many processes, and the mitochondria are key to this process.

SPLEEN DISEASES IN WESTERN MEDICINE:

There are several diseases recognized by Western medicine that involve the Spleen. These include mononucleosis, leukemia, splenomegaly, Hodgkin's disease, AIDS and all the various types of anemias. In general these include an elevation of white bloods cells and/or insufficient production of red blood cells, lymph disorders and depressed or impaired immunity.

  • Chinese view of the spleen:

The spleen is seen as a paired complex in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) of the Earth element, the spleen being the yin component and the stomach being the yang. They work together and imply the other's functions. Because the spleen is the deeper yin organ where the energy of food and fluid is transformed, it is the more vital of the pair and so the one most often referred to. In TCM the spleen has the following functions:
Rules the transformation and transportation of food and fluids in the body. The spleen transforms food to extract the energy from it and then transports the resulting food "energy" to various organs and parts of the body where the body's energy and blood are produced. Thus, the spleen is seen as the basis for the production of energy and blood in the entire body. The spleen also controls transformation, separation and movement of fluids. It separates the usable and the unusable from the fluids ingested and these are then transported to their appropriate places. Thus it plays a central role in nourishing the body and promoting development.



I. Governs the blood. The spleen keeps he blood circulating in the vessels. It also provides the extracted energy from food and sends it to the heart to be mixed with Kidney energy to form blood.

II. Rules the muscles, flesh and the four limbs. It does this by transporting the body's energy and blood to the muscles, flesh, arms and legs. Consequently, overall muscle tone, strength and appearance, especially that of the arms and legs, reflects the health of the spleen.
 

III. Opens into the mouth and it's brilliance is manifested in the lips. Chewing prepares food for its digestion. If the spleen is healthy there is a good sense of taste and all five tastes can be distinguished. Further, the lips are moist and rosy.
 

IV. Raises the qi. The spleen qi produces a lifting effect along the midline of the body and keeps the internal organs in place so they do not sag or prolapse.

V. Rules thought. The spleen influences our capacity for thinking, studying, focusing, concentration and memorizing. 



 

  • Comparison of Western and TCM understanding of the spleen:

The Spleen rules transformation and transportation of food and fluids in the body.
A combined Western medicine/TCM study done in China yielded surprising results in the connection between the spleen in both medicines. In the study samples of the gastric mucosa were taken from a variety of people who were identified with the various TCM patterns of spleen dysfunction. These were then compared with gastric mucosa samples of people with no TCM symptoms of spleen dysfunction. Those with spleen symptoms all showed similar results.
The conclusion found that the spleen in TCM is closely related to the mitochondria. To see this graphically, the digestive process between Western medicine and TCM is as follows:

I. TCM View of the Spleen
Food --- stomach (decomposing) --- small intestine (digesting and distinguishing the refined substance from the dross) --- upward transport of the essence --- spleen (transporting and transforming) --- vital energy (qi)

II. Modern Medicine View of the Spleen
Food --- stomach (mechanical digestion mainly) --- small intestine (chemical digestion mainly and absorption of nutrients) --- blood (transportation) --- mitochondria (biological oxidation) --- energy



 

  • Examples of how TCM equals modern medicine:

Spleen (transporting and transforming) = mitochondria (biological oxidation)
 

Spleen Qi:
From this it is clear the function of the TCM spleen is quite similar to that of the mitochondria. In the study, deficient spleen qi patients experiencing abdominal flatulence, abnormal stools and undigested food in the stool after the intake of a high protein diet had obvious quantitative and qualitative changes of mitochondria and displayed a decreased number of the enzyme secreting cells (zymogen granules) necessary for normal digestion. A deficiency of spleen qi was thus found to correspond to an insufficiency of digestive enzymes and a reduction of enzyme activity, interfering with digestion of proteins. This digestion on the cellular level corresponds to the digestive process ruled by the spleen, that of transforming (essentially absorbing) and transporting (taking the nutrients to where they are needed).

Spleen Yang:
A decrease in the number and quality of mitochondria also leads to less heat being created as a product of the ATP formation process. In turn this provides less "metabolic fires", resulting in poor absorption and transportation of nutrients to the cells. This heat released by ATP corresponds to the yang function in the body. In the TCM spleen this heat gives appetite, energy, digestive capacity, warmth, proper circulation of fluids and stool formation.

Spleen Dampness:
When there is deficient spleen qi the fluid metabolism is interfered with and edema and swelling result. A function of the Western Spleen is to drain from tissue spaces protein-containing fluid which escapes from blood capillaries. In the cases of deficient spleen qi patients, the mitochondria of the stomach parietal cells were swollen. This may be a result of insufficient energy (poor mitochondria functioning) leading to an impediment of the sodium-potassium pump and resulting in an accumulation of fluid in the cells.

The spleen governs the blood:
In TCM the spleen is a source of vital energy and blood and a controller of blood circulation. When spleen qi is weak it's blood controlling function is disturbed and bleeding results. Further, the production of blood and qi are decreased. In the blood routine examinations of patients with diarrhoea attributive to the deficiency of spleen energy, there was revealed a decreased haemoglobin level. Other patients who had pale lips, sallow complexion and bleeding had fewer mitochondria in the parietal cells of the stomach and these had obviously damaged crystal membranes.

The spleen rules the muscles, flesh and four limbs (extremities):
When spleen energy is sufficient, blood and qi are well provided and muscles are brawny. Otherwise, they may be weak, thin, puffy or even emaciated. In the case study, deficient spleen qi patients had listlessness, tiredness, thin musculature and fewer mitochondria that had more evidence of damaged ridges. In those with muscular atrophy, the mitochondria were found to have broken ridges, defected membranes and faint stromas. Further, there was an impediment of energy metabolism in muscles with anti-mitochondria antibodies discovered in some cases.

The spleen opens into the mouth and it's brilliance is manifested in the lips:
The spleen produces a lifting effect along the midline of the body and keeps the internal organs in place so they do not sag or prolapse.
Mitochondria are found in almost all tissues and cells of body. In deficient spleen qi patients with sallow complexions, pale lips, a flat taste in mouth, abdominal flatulence, shortness of breath, debilitated defecation and visceroptosis, the mitochondria are found to be decreased in number and many are damaged and swollen.

The spleen rules thought:
The spleen influences our capacity for thinking, studying, focusing, concentration and memorizing. Poor digestion and assimilation results in a lack of nutrients nourishing the brain and can effect the blood sugar. Both can cause mental unrest, irritability, worry, dwelling on things or obsession, and a lack of focus and clarity.





Earth Zang Fu:



  • Spleen 'transformer and transporter':

-to transport the useable materials to the right places in the body
-has a role in converting or transforming food and fluids into new cells and new energy
-plays a part in the upward movement of qi
-'governs the muscles and the four limbs' - supplying and directing qi to these areas



  • Stomach 'rotter and ripener':

-to mix, food and fluid to the right consistency in order to make the substance useable
-on a mental level also; to be able to digest and assimilate information in order tomake good use of it
-plays a large part in the downward movement of qi
-contributes to feeling of stability and being centred

-how we make our qi is to a large extent dependent on the health of the stomach and spleen, together with the food that we eat, the air that we breathe and a good balance of work, rest and play
-nourishment on every level - what is ingested on a physical level as well a mental/emotional level
-a healthy stomach and spleen leads to good nourishment and stability, like a nutrient rich soil providing nourishment for growth - good grounding, being rooted - sense of a solid base under our feet



sources: www.manumissio.wikispaces.com/Spleen+Meridian, www.holistic-guide.com

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Kidneys



Known as the 'Minister of Power', the kidney is regarded as the body's most important reservoir of essential energy. The original prenatal energy (yuan qi) which forms the basis of life is stored in the kidney organ-energy system, which is why the kidneys are also known as the 'Root of Life'. In the Chinese view, the kidney organ system also includes the adrenal glands, which consist of the adrenal medulla and the adrenal cortex. These glands sit like hats on top of the kidneys and secrete a wide range of essential hormones that regulate metabolism, excretion, immunity, sexual potency and fertility. Destruction of the adrenal cortex is fatal. The kidney system also includes what the Chinese call the 'external kidneys': the testicles in men and the ovaries in women. Thus the kidneys control sexual and reproductive functions and provide the body's prime source of sexual vitality, which the Chinese regard as a major indicator of

health and immunity.
 

The kidneys themselves are responsible for filtering waste metabolites from the blood

and moving them onwards to the bladder for excretion in urine. Along with the large

intestine, the kidneys control the balance of fluids in the body. In addition, they regulate the body's acid-alkaline balance (pH) by selectively filtering out or retaining various minerals.


The kidneys, particularly the adrenal glands, are especially vulnerable to damage from excessive stress and sexual abuse. In the Chinese view, such damage is a major cause of immune deficiency, low vitality, and sexual impotence.
 

The kidneys control the growth and development of bones and nourish the marrow, which is the body's source of red and white blood cells. Weak kidney energy is therefore a prime cause of anemia and immune deficiency. The Chinese view the spinal cord and the brain as forms of marrow, and therefore poor memory, inability to think clearly, and backache are all regarded as indicators of impaired kidney function and deficient kidney energy.
 

Kidney vitality is reflected externally by the condition of head and body hair and is associated with the aperture of the ears. Tinnitus (ringing ears) is thus a sign of kidney dysfunction. The kidneys are the seat of courage and willpower, and therefore any impairment in kidney energy results in feelings of fear and paranoia. Intense fear can cause involuntary urination, a phenomenon also known to Western medicine.





  • Kidney: psycho-emotional Aspects

The marrow produced from the kidney Jing flows into the brain. The thinking ability is strengthened when qi and blood in the cerebral cortex are abundant. With the increase of thinking activity, a circle of light develops within the body's Taiji pole.

The individual's innate intelligence (Yuan Shen) is represented by the intensity of light. The degree of accumulated spiritual energy is reflected by the number of light circles developed within the Taiji pole. These circles of light can be best observed when first waking. By placing slight pressure of the external eye lids the inner light of the Taiji pole is projected onto the optic nerves, reflecting an image of the circle of light. If the circle of light is complete, it reflects a strong, healthy condition. If the circle of light is dark within its center (similar to a doughnut), this reflects a deficient condition. If the circle of light is broken or interrupted, it reflects an extreme deficiency.
 

The "memory zone," as well as the "thought center" are also located in the cerebral cortex and will not develop until the kidney channels travel through the spine, along with the liver channels, to reach the cortex. When the qi of these two channels is abundant, the memory function is keen.
 

The Kidneys house the body's will power (Zhi). They control short-term memory and store data. The kidneys provide the capacity and drive for strength, skill and hard work. A patient with strong kidneys can work hard and purposefully for long periods of time. Consequently, when the Kidneys are in a state of disharmony, the patient can sometimes be driven to a state of excessive-compulsive working habits (a workaholic). A patient with weak kidneys will lack strength and endurance.


The kidney's positive psycho-emotional attributes are wisdom, rationality, clear perception, gentleness, and self-understanding. The negative attributes are fear, loneliness, insecurity, and shock (which attacks the heart first then descends into the kidneys to become fear).





Water Zang Fu:



  • Kidney - controller of fluids:

-stores the essence /jing/ - constitution /what is inherited from parents/ - compared to DNA
-nourishes bone marrow, spinal cord and brain
-responsible for strong bones, teeth and good head hair
-general processes of aging /governs 7 year cycles/
-human body contains 83% of water - kidney governs most secretions in the body /saliva, sexual secretions, sperm production, reproduction, lymphatic system, endocrine system, excretion of unwanted by-products of digestion via bladder/
-fertility in both men and women
-libido
-governs ears and power of hearing - ability to listen
-adrenalin - ability to be alert, lucid and clear in a critical situation



  • Bladder - the reservoir:

-storage and excretion of urine; storing the right amount
-storage of fluid on a greater level, ability to have buoyancy, lightness and movement on physical/mental and spiritual levels
-storing emotions appropriately
-fluid movement and flexibility of the body
-bladder meridian is the largest in the body - covers the whole back
-governs the long term memory - 'minister of the archives'
-when things are wrong with the bladder there can be jealousy, suspicion, and the holding of grudges



sources: www.shen-nong.com, www.holistic-guide.com, www.yinyanghouse.com

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Lungs

Known as the 'Prime Minister', the lungs control breath and energy and assist the 'King' heart with the circulation of blood. The Internal Medicine Classic states: 'Energy is the commander of blood; when energy moves, blood follows. Blood is the mother of energy; where blood goes, energy follows.' This intimate relationship between breath andpulse, blood and energy, is the basis of Chinese breathing exercises.

 

Breathing controls cellular respiration, and shallow irregular breathing is therefore a major cause of low vitality and insufficient metabolism. The lungs also control the skin, which 'breathes' via the opening and closing of pores and is responsible for adjusting body temperature through perspiration and shivering. The skin is where the radiant energy of resistance emanates, forming the first line of defense against noxious environmental energies such as heat and cold. Flu and the common cold are caused by impairment of radiant skin energy's capacity to resist external invasion, and symptoms of these diseases usually settle in the lungs and bronchial tract. Pallid skin and poor complexion are common indications of weak lungs. The nose is the external aperture of the lungs and the gate of breath. A clogged or runny nose is another indicator of ailing lungs.

The lung qi is in charge of propelling the protective qi (wei qi), the fluids, and the food essence over the entire body. It thus warms the muscles and the surface, harmonizes the opening and closing action of the surface pores, and moistens the body hair and the skin. If lung qi is weak, the protective qi (wei qi) cannot nourish the body hair properly, causing it to become brittle. Similar to the pores on the surface of the lung, moreover, the pores on the surface of the skin are qi gates in charge of "body breathing." If the protective qi is too weak to properly close the pores, sweat pours out. If there is an excess of pernicious qi in the lung, on the other hand, the opening mechanism of the pores easily gets jammed; then the ventilating function of the pores gets disturbed, and there may be symptoms of inhibited sweating, such as no sweating during a fever.
 

Breathing directly controls the autonomous nervous system, and this relationship is the basis for almost every system of yoga and meditation. By regulating the autonomous nervous system and governing energy and pulse, breathing forms a direct bridge between body and mind and may be utilized to keep the two in balance.



Looking at the branches of a tree it can be seen that each larger branch splits in two. Each smaller branch then splits in two, and so and so on until the branches become leaves. Each leaf, then, begins with a single vein, then splits, by two, into smaller and smaller veins, until they reach the individual cells are exposed to the air. This is the same way the lungs are formed. Even more interesting is the relationship between trees and humans. Plants breathe in CO2 and breathe out O2, while humans and animals breathe in O2 and breathe out CO2. Thus trees can be considered, the lungs of the earth.



The lungs are associated with the phase element metal, the direction west, and the season of autumn. In autumn, the seasonal qi turns crisp and clear, and all living things rely on its force to become ripe and complete. Metal is the mother of water. Lung qi, therefore, generally moves downwards. When our bodies rest, it descends into the kidney palace and combines with water, a process the Neijing refers to as 'the mother concealing herself inside the newly conceived offspring.



Typically, the lungs are sensitive to dryness as well as to cold and heat. This means that the lung's function of lubricating the other organs with essence has a tendency to deviate from its mode of smooth operation by providing either not enough or too much lubrication. Or, if invaded by evil qi, it will be unable to assume its commanding role among the organ networks, and will instead produce diseases of a dry or a hot or a cold nature. This is the reason why the ancient books all refer to the lungs as 'the delicate organ.'

Lungs: psycho-emotional aspects

It is said that the Lungs are "the priest" or The Minister of Heaven and are responsible for establishing the foundation of Qi for the entire body. The Lungs house the body's Seven Corporeal Souls (Po) and are responsible for self-protection and self-preservation. The Lungs positive psycho-emotional attributes are righteousness, dignity, integrity, and high self-esteem; their negative attributes are disappointment, sadness, grief, despair, anxiety, shame, and sorrow.



Grief, sadness, and melancholy are associated with the lung. If one indulges in these emotional states, harm to the lung network will result and symptoms of emaciation, lack of energy, or dry skin may occur. The other way around, a low supply of lung qi can cause a gloomy state of mind. A particularly sad experience, moreover, may cause a person to adopt a pessimistic attitude toward life (which is really a state of dampened qi). "If a person is sad," it is said in the Neijing, "his qi will dissipate."





Metal Zang Fu:



  • Lung 'receiver of qi energy':

-ability to breathe in order to maintain good levels of energy - quality of air relevant to sufficient amount of oxygen in the blood
-on a higher level, the ability to take in new things, to be inspired
-connection to the heaven
-the lungs is also responsible for the 'defensive qi' - this provides protection against extreme climatic conditions - this defensive qi is said to lie under the skin, and to some extent the opening and closing of pores, also provides protection from colds, flu etc.
-strong association then with dispersing defensive qi throughout the body - on a mental/spiritual level helps ward off emotional or psychic assault
-maintains health of channels and blood vessels /circulation/
-controls skin and body hair
-opens into the nose, therefore is connected to sense of smell



 

  • Large intestine 'the great eliminator':

-'the drainer of the dregs - ability to efficiently remove all waste products from the body via a bowel action
-where the lung is responsible for breathing in pure energy, the large intestine is responsible for getting rid of impurities; this applies on every level ie. mental/spiritual level
-if there are too many unhealthy thoughts, for example, old resentments, it can be difficult to 'take in' new, healthy thoughts
-overall, the ability to let go and move on
-the lungs and large intestine play a large part in governing our vital energy - a healthy metal element will mean good ability to receive 'qi' from the atmosphere, giving warmth and vitality, and a strong immune system

 



sources: www.lieske.com; www.shen-nong.com

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Heart



The heart is called the 'King' of the organs. The Internal Medicine Classic states: 'The heart commands all of the organs and viscera, houses the spirit, and controls the emotions.' In Chinese, the word for 'heart' (hsin) is also used to denote 'mind'. When the heart is strong and steady, it controls the emotions; when it is weak and wavering, the emotions rebel and prey upon the heart-mind, which then loses its command over the body.

Physiologically, the heart controls the circulation and distribution of blood, and therefore all the other organs depend upon it for sustenance. Thoughts and emotions influence the function of various organs via pulse and blood pressure, which are controlled by the heart, where emotions arise. Internally, the heart is functionally associated with the thymus gland, which is located in the same cavity and forms a mainstay of the immune system. Extreme emotions such as grief and anger have an immediate opressive effect on the immune system by inhibiting thymus function, a phenomenon that has long been observed but little understood in Western medicine.

 

Externally, the heart is related to the tongue, to which it is connected by the heart muscle. The colour and texture of the tongue thus reflect the condition of the heart. Speech impediments such as stuttering and mutism are often caused by dysfunction or imbalance in heart energy. Facial complexion, which is a direct reflection of blood circulation, is also a major external indicator of heart function. Fire energy makes the heart the dominant organ of summer, during which season the heart must increase circulation to the surface in order to dissipate excess body heat.

  • Heart: psycho-emotional aspects

The Heart's associated organ is the Small Intestine; its element is Fire. Long-term memory, thinking, emotions, intimacy, cognition, intelligence, and ideas are all dominated by the function of the Heart. The Heart is sometimes called The Emperor, or "supreme controller of all Yin and Yang organs". The Heart houses the body's spirit (Shen). The Heart dominates sleep; if the Heart is strong the patient will fall asleep easily and sleep soundly. If the Heart is weak, the patient's mind will "float," resulting in an inability to fall asleep, disturbed sleep, or excessive dreaming. The Heart's positive psycho-emotional attributes are love, joy, peace, contentment, propriety, insight, wisdom, orderliness, forgiveness, and courtesy. Its negative attributes are hate, guilt, shock, nervousness, excitement, longing, and craving.


.. It is only recently that the intelligence system of the heart has been discovered. The heart is not just a pumping machine. It is an intelligence system. It is in fact the most intelligent system of all our brains, with its own receptors, its own electromagnetic force, from 45 to 70 times more powerful than the brains of the neocortex, and the only force capable of changing our own DNA.It can turn the mortal into immortal, glial cells into heart cells, mortal center into immortal walls in any cell. It is in fact he heart that turns each one of us from dead into living cells. No one of us is human until the heart beats. And viceversa, that first beat of the heart is what makes us human. In summary we can affirm the following:

a) The heart contains its own nervous system and nerve ganglia that process information and send it to the neocortex.

b) The heart is a hormonal gland producing its own neurotransmitters, dopamine, epinephrin, norepinephrin, the catechlomines, which affect the kidneys, the adrenal gland, the circulatory system and the neocortex.



c) The heart generates from 45 to 60 times more amplitude electrically than what we call the brain, plus all emotions alter the heart's electrical field.

d) Electricity emanating from the heart of person A can be detected and measured in the brain waves of persons near or touching person A.

e) Cellular memory resides in the heart cells, as can be seen from transplant cases.

f) DNA can be altered in the hands of a person practicing head/heart "entrainment," or what we know as yoga.



Fire Zang Fu:



  • Heart 'supreme controller':

-metaphorically, Chinese medicine describes the heart as the 'emperor' of the body through which is the connection with the heavens
-main task of the heart is to make sure all the other organs such the lung, kidney etc. are functioning harmoniously - rather like an emperor ruling over their subjects
-if the heart is well balanced then there is a peace and harmony, if the heart loses control, then there is chaos
-ability to be compassionate and caring
-to be strong, resolute and forthright

-the heart 'governs blood' - a healthy heart is necessary for a good supply of blood to all the body tissues
-the heart 'controls the blood vessels' - if the heart is strong the pulse will be full and regular
-the heart 'manifests in the complexion'
-the heart 'houses the mind'
-the heart 'opens into the tongue'

  • Pericardium 'heart protector':

-the pericardium is a fibrous sheath which surrounds the heart, provides protection on all levels
-acts as a 'buffer' from insults, hurts, rejection and also shock
-ability to relate to others in appropriate way /being open, but not too open/

 

 

  • Small intestine 'separator of pure from impure':

-metaphorically referred to as 'the secretary' in TCM - sorts out what needs to get through to the heart and what can be got rid of
-on a physical level, the small intestine is responsible for assimilation of nutrients taken in from food and drink and then passing on what is not needed to the large intestine
-the art of evaluating and processing information in everyday life
-making decisions on a daily basis, and acting on intuition



  • Triple burner 'the thermostat controller':

-responsible for keeping everything in the body/mind/spirit at a consistent temperature in order that all functions at its optimum
-ability to adjust to changes in temperature on a physical and emotional level
-ability to relate well in a group, rather than one-to-one; the latter being more of a pericardium function



sources: www.lieske.com; www.shen-nong.com, www.holistic-guide.com

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