TCM Application

Applying the yin and yang theory and the 5-element theory to analyze health and sickness.


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Seasonal climate is the external factor that has the most impact on our health. Tastes of food, mind and emotions are the internal factors that have similar effects. They all affect our five vital organ system and have similar characteristics as the five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water.

 

The following table highlights their characteristics and relationships:


 

WOOD

FIRE

EARTH

METAL

WATER

YIN ORGAN

Liver

Heart

Spleen

Lung

Kidney

YANG ORGAN

Gall Bladder

Small Intestine

Stomach

Large Intestine

Bladder

SEASON

Spring

Summer

Late Summer

Autumn

Winter

CLIMATE

Wind

Heat

Dampness

Dryness

Cold

ORIFICE

Eye

Tongue

Mouth

Nose

Ear

TISSUE

Tendon

Blood vessels

Muscle

Skin

Bone

TASTE

Sour

Bitter

Sweet

Pungent

Salty

EMOTION

Anger

Joy

Worry

Grief

Fear


4_seasons

Seasonal climate

The extreme climate for each season can adversely affect our corresponding organ system. The strong wind in spring can affect our eyes and liver. The summer heat can cause heat stroke and heart attack. Heavy rain and humidity in late summer can cause damage to the digestive system. Dryness in fall can cause damage to the lung. Extreme cold in winter can affect kidney function. However, during this time of vulnerability, it is also the time for us to treat and strengthen that particular organ by taking good care of it and strengthen it by feeding it with the right nutrition. 

keyhole

Orifices and Tissues

Orifices are facial openings. Tissues are the related body parts. They are the keyholes or windows for Chinese doctors to look inside our body and vital organs. By carefully observing them, Chinese doctors can tell the conditions of the related organs. For example, our eyes show and tell health problems: disappearing eyebrows reflects thyroid problem; a small blind spot in our vision tells problem with migraine; yellowish eyes reflects jaundice; eyes that seem to bulge tells hyperthyroidism; sudden double vision are early signs of stroke; and blurred vision is sign of diabetes. 

The tongue is the opening to our heart. When people are frightened, they will protrude their tongue, a natural response to relieve tension. When people are having heart problem or stroke, they will lose the normal function of the tongue and cannot speak clearly. The mouth is the opening to our stomach. When people are having digestive problem, they will have bad breath or mouth sore, etc. People with weak lungs will have breathing problem and sniffy nose. For people with deteriorating kidneys such as seniors, they have hearing problem.  

5_tastes

The 5 Tastes

The five tastes have both harming and benefiting effects on the five organs. If used in the right amount, it is benefiting. If in excess, it is harming.  Sweet benefits the spleen therefore promotes digestion. That is why dessert is good after meals. But too much of the good thing can be bad. It can dampen the spleen system, making it very sluggish and not able to function properly, therefore causing obesity and diabetes. Salty foods provide the mind a sense of confidence and zest for life. Too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney stones. Sour foods provide the mind a sense of stimulation and clarity in discernment. However, eating too many sour foods can lead to ulcers and infections. Pungent foods can help one to be clear, outspoken, and bold with his or her thoughts. However, too many pungent foods can lead one to over-heat physically and mentally, and turn to anger and hatred. Bitter helps to purify/detoxify the blood and improve the tissues in the body. Too few bitter foods can cause an accumulation of toxins in the body, but too many bitter foods can cause constipation and tissue depletion. Therefore, meals with a good balance of the five tastes are essential for good health.   

emotions

Emotions

Extreme emotions can have damaging effects to our vital organs. Too much sadness can damage our lungs. Over joyfulness can cause heart attacks. Extreme anger hurts our liver. Too much worrying can cause indigestion. Extreme frightfulness can damage our kidneys and bladder. Therefore, maintaining steady peace of mind every day is an important element in total health management.


A good understanding of how the internal and external factors impacting our five vital organ system is important in managing our health. Read more details on these topics in the following pages....


 


The key factors in determining health