Traditional Chinese Medicine: The causes of health problems and disease
13 Feb 2015

Extract from Dr Zhai’s book How to get pregnant

 

THE CONSTITUTION

 

According to traditional Chinese practice, there are both internal and external causes of health problems and disease. Broadly speaking, any kind of extreme stimulation or emotional suppression will interrupt qi (energy flow) and will have a resulting impact on the essential organs of the body.

 

The external causes are known as the Six Excesses: Wind, Cold, Heat, Damp, Dryness and Fire.

 

The internal causes are known as the Seven Emotions: Joy, Anger, Anxiety, Pensiveness, Sorrow, Fear and Fright.

 

This is the language of diagnosis in TCM. For example, the pages that follow explain, especially, the need to reduce Heat in the body. I will use words like Moist, Cold, Dry and so on to describe physical symptoms. The language may seem a little strange at first, but you will find you soon develop an instinctive understanding of the terminology because it relates to the natural world and therefore ‘makes sense’.

 

THE SIX EXCESSES

 

As we have seen, there are six climatic states in the natural world – Wind, Cold, Heat, Damp, Dryness and Fire. These are also known as environmental qi. Under normal circumstances, they do not cause disease. Only when the climate changes abruptly or when the body’s resistance is low, may these become excesses that disrupt the human body and cause problems or disease.

 

Wind     Attacks through the body Injures Blood and yin
Cold Attacks from the skin Injures Kidney yang
Heat      Clouds the mind and skin Injures the yin
Damp Impairs digestion Injures Spleen yang
Dryness Impairs the balance of fluids Injures Blood and yin
Fire Forces the body to change Depletes Blood and yin

 

THE SEVEN EMOTIONS

 

In TCM it is understood that extreme emotional changes can have an impact on the internal organs. Seven core emotions have been identified that describe basic human mental and emotional states. They are: feeling overjoyed, extreme anger, Anxiety, Pensiveness, Sorrow, Fear, Fright. Under normal circumstances, emotions ebb and flow; they are transitory and unlikely to cause any problems. However, if a persistent emotional state or sudden and intense mental trauma occurs, it may cause dysfunction within the body and have an impact on the yin, yang, qi, Blood and internal organs, which will in turn lead to disease. Some common symptoms caused by the emotions are: insomnia or disturbed sleep, palpitations, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, a sensation of obstruction in the throat and menstrual irregularities.

 

 

Joy Damages the Heart Reduces qi
Anger    Injures the Liver Stimulates qi
Anxiety Harms the Lungs Obstructs qi
Pensiveness Affects the Spleen Blocks qi
Sorrow Affects the Lungs Reduces qi
Fear Injures the Kidneys Suppresses qi
Fright Affects the Heart and may also affect the Kidneys Disrupts qi