Interial Organs

The Internal Organs, Zangfu: introduction

In TEAM, the Internal Organs(Zangfu) are both: anatomical entity + energetic vortex.

Anatomically, the Internal Organsare formed by aggregation of Qi into the dense matter (organ or tissue), whereas the dispersal of Qi in more subtle states forms the Internal Organs’ energetic vortex, that is, their emotional, mental and spiritual aspects (see next section).

In Chinese healing tradition, the medical essence of the Internal Organsis reflected by means of their 12correspondences, namely by:

1) Vital Substances (Qi, Blood, Essence, Body Fluids)
2) Tissues (of the body)
3) Sense organs
4) Emotions
5) Spiritual aspects
6) Climates

7) External manifestations
8) Fluids
9) Odors
10) Colours
11) Tastes
12) Sounds

In disease, by analyzing the 12 correspondences, a Chinese medical practitioner maps the pathological pattern, thus, linking it to an Internal Organ, that is required curing.

Such diagnostic tool empowered Chinesemedicine to develop a unique diagnostic system which, together with the Eight Diagnostic Principles, observation of tongue and pulse reading, enabled ancient therapists through millennia to heal people without resorting to advanced technologies such as blood test, X rays,CT and MRI.

In Chinese medicine distinguishes the 12 Zangfu thatare the core of physiology of a human organism.

Among the 12Zangfu, Chinese medicine recognizes:
* Six Yin Organs (Zang),
* Six Yang organs (Fu).

Six Yin Organs (Zang) are:

Heart, Pericardium, Lung, Spleen, LiverandKidneys.
Zang organs are dense, theirfunction is toproduce, transform, regulate and store theVital Substances, that is:
* Qi,
* Blood (Xue),
* Essence (Jing)(e.g.bone marrow, brain, spinal cord),
* Body Fluids(JinYe) (e.g. saliva, synovial fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, mucus, sweat, tears, intracellular fluid, extracellular fluid, lymph, blood plasma).
Zangare thought of as being deeper inside the body, and are therefore Yin in relation to Yang organs that are more external.
Since Zang store the Vital Substances,theseorgans are of prior importancein Chinese medical theory and practice, hence, the medical essence is reflected in Zang organ’s functions(and not in Fu organs)(see below).

Six Yang organs (Fu) are:

Stomach, Gall Bladder, Small Intestine, Large Intestine, BladderandTriple Burner (connective tissue equivalent in biomedical terms medicine).
Fu organs are hollow,theirfunction is tois to receive, break down, absorb, transport and excrete.

The Yin andYang organs are paired via their channels (meridians (Jing)), thus, allowing communication within the channel system(Jing Luo),as well as between the Interior Organs themselves.

Yin - Yang organ pairing comprises interior-exterior connection(biao-li) within an organism, thus:
* Heart is paired with Small Intestine,
* Pericardiumwith Triple Burner (connective tissue),
* Lungswith Large Intestine,
* Liverwith Gall Bladder,
* Spleenwith Stomach,
* Kidneyswith Bladder.

Medical essence and the 12 aspects of Zangfu

In Chinese healing tradition, the medical essence of the Internal Organs is reflected by their 12 correspondences, namely:

1) Vital Substances, that is Qi, Blood, Essence andBody Fluids:

The 6 Yin Organs (Zang) ensure: production, maintenance, replenishment,transformation, movement of theVital Substances, namely:

* Heart governs/circulatesBlood.
* Pericardium acts as agent of propulsion for Qi + Blood of Heart + Lungs.
* Liver stores/circulatesBloodand controlsblood volume in vesselsvia circulation of Qi.
* Lungs govern Qi, influence Body Fluids, and control all channels and blood vessels.
* Spleen governs Nutritional Qi (Gu-Qi), holds Blood, influences Body Fluids.
* Kidneys store Essence, influence Body Fluids.

Each Zang influences particular type of Body Fluid:
* Heartinfluences sweat:
** in TCM heart houses all emotions, thus, for example due to emotional tension person can be prone to sweat excessively.
** is also related to Lungs, since Lung control the space between the muscles and skin (cou li space) its.
** influence on where sweat is.

* Liverinfluences tears:
** tears here are basal/reflex tears in Western medicine (i.e. the tears that lubricate the eye and those. that are provoked by a foreign body in the eye, as opposed to the emotional tears).
** liver -tears is the strongest connection , since liver opens into eyes.
*** e.g.liver-blood deficiency leads to (→) liver-yin (water) deficiency→ which can cause dry eyes.
*** e.g.liver-yang rising→ eyes water a lot.
*** e.g. liver damp-heat → sticky, thick tears.

* Spleen influences saliva (xian):
** Spleen controlssecretion of saliva - a thin, clear, fluid (in contrast to spittle of Kidneys, which is a 'turbid and thick' fluid) in the mouth that has the function of moistening the mouth and aiding digestion.

* Lungs influence snivel:
** represents a normal physiological mucosal secretion of nose lining(not the nasal discharge as seen in a cold, rhinitis, sinusitis).
** Lungs’ meridian opens into nose, where it exerts a function of moistening, warming and defending against the pathological factors.
*** e.g. in Lung * Heat patternsflaring of nostrils, or blocked, dry nose -due to excess consumption of hot foods + smoking (tobacco has a hot and drying nature), external wind that becomes internal and turns into heat or residual external wind * is a common symptom of a pathological pattern related to Lungs.
** lungs are also the “upper source of water” and are responsible for excretion of Body Fluids through sweat (via diffusing of fluids in space between skin/ muscles) or urine.

* Kidneys influences spittle (tuo)
** is a thick and more turbid fluid than saliva.
** its function is to lubricate the back of the mouth and throat.
** is thought to be an expression of Kidney-Essence.

2) Tissues (of the body):

Zang organsare in a functional relationship or influence particular tissues of the body, namely:

* Heart governs/circulatesBlood.
* Pericardium acts as agent of propulsion for Qi + Blood of Heart + Lungs.
* Liver stores/circulatesBloodand controlsblood volume in vesselsvia circulation of Qi.
* Lungs govern Qi, influence Body Fluids, and control all channels and blood vessels.
* Spleen governs Nutritional Qi (Gu-Qi), holds Blood, influences Body Fluids.
* Kidneys store Essence, influence Body Fluids.

3) Sense organs:

State of a sense organ of the body relies on the nourishment of its Zang organ, as:

* Liver controls eyes and eyesight (vision),
* Heart — tongue, its movement and sense of taste (gustation),
* Spleen — mouth, taste,
* Lungs — nose, sense of smell (olfaction),
* Kidneys — ears, hearing (audition).

4) emotions:

A very important feature of Chinesemedicine,is that the state of anInternal Organ affects emotions and/or mental state,conversely, emotions canaffect the state ofanInternal Organ, namely:

Liver is affected by anger

* Anger should be interpreted very broadly, to include positive anger that is a necessary attribute of the driving force for protection, activity and evolution, in general.
* Anger, however, also includeseveral allied emotional states such asresentment, unresolved physical and emotional stress, irritability, frustration, rage, hatred, indignation, animosity and bitterness together with any suppressed negative emotion.
* anger makes Qi stagnate and/or rise, thus, many of the signs and symptoms will manifest in the head, neck, and throat.
** These include:dizziness, tinnitus, neck stiffness, red blotches on the front part of the neck and a red face, sensation of blockage a/or constriction of the throatand obviously headache, which, depending on the severity of the emotional state, can grow into unbearable migraine.
* On the other hand, an unhealthy state of the Liver, caused bybad eating habits e.g. excessive consumption ofsour foods(since sour is the taste of the Liver),hot-energy foods: red meat, spices, alcohol, greasy foods: dairy and fried foods,can become an underlying cause of the negative emotions listed above.

Heartis affected byjoy.

* Joy should also be interpreted broadly.
* Joy, obviously, is an expression of healthy contentment.
* As a cause of disease joyis an excessive excitement and craving.
* This occurs when people live in a state of a continuous excessive excitement or mental and emotional stimulation (however pleasurable).
* ingratiating joyorinordinate cravingleads to anexcessive stimulation of the Heartand, in time, can lead to Heart-Fire or Heart Empty-Heatconditions which make the Heart larger, which, in turn, may lead to Heart-related symptoms and signs, these may deviate somewhat from the classical Heart patterns.
* main manifesta¬tions would includechest cramps, palpitations, over excitability, insomnia, restlessness, talking a lot, (since Heart controls the tongue)and a red tip of the tongue (which reflects Heart area).

Lung sare affected by sadness/worry.

* sadness includes the emotions of grief, regretand the emotion of letting goas when someone regrets a certain action or decision in the past and the Mind (Shen, which is governed by Heart) is constantly turned towards that time.
* This way sadness affects the Heart.
** Heart accumulates and dissolves Qiin general,in turn,NutritiveQiand Defensive Qi cannot circulate freely, leading to depletion of Qi overall.
* The Lungs govern all types of Qi.
** Sadness leads to deficiency of Lung-Qi and may manifest in a variety of symptoms, such as breathlessness, tiredness, a feeling of discomfort in the chest,sometimes a dry cough, weak voice, sighing, a pale complexion, depression or crying.
** In women, deficiency of Lung-Qi may lead to Blood deficiencyand amenorrhoea.
** Pulse will be weak of both Front positions (Heart and Lungs). In particular, the pulse has no 'wave' and does not flow smoothly towards the thumb.
* Worry knots Qi, which means that it causes stagna¬tion of Qi, and it affects both Lungs and Spleen.
** the Lungs are affected because when one is worried the breathing is shallow, and the Spleensince this. organ is responsible for thinking and ideas.
** Worry is the emotional counterpart of the Spleen's mental energy, which is responsible for concentration and memorization. When the Spleen is healthy we can concentrate and focus on the object of our study or work. The same type of mental energy, when disturbed by worry, leads to constantly thinking, brooding and worrying about certain events of life.

Spleen is affected by thinking, pensiveness.

* Pensiveness is very similar to worry in its character and effect.
* Pensiveness consists of brooding, constantly thinking about certain events or people (even though not worrying), nostalgic hankering after the past and generally thinking intensely about life rather than living. it. In extreme cases, pensiveness leads to obsessive thoughts.
* in a different sense, pensiveness also includes excessive mental work in the process of one's work or study.
* Pensiveness affects the Spleen and, like worry, it knots Qi.
* Pensiveness will therefore cause similar symptoms as outlined above for worry.
** In addition, pensivenesswill cause a slight epigastric discomfort and the other difference will be that the pulse on the right side will not only feel slightly tight, but will have no 'wave'.

Kidneys is affected by fear.

* Fear includes both a chronic state of fear and anxiety,and a sudden fright.
* Fear depletes Kidney-Qi and makes Qi descend.
* Examples of Qi descending are nocturnal enuresis in children and incontinence of urine or diarrhoea in adults following a sudden fright.
** In TCM, nocturnal enuresis is a common problem in children that is often caused by fear of a feeling of insecure due to some family situation.
* Situation of chronic anxiety and fear will have different effect on Qi depending on the state of the Heart.
* If the Heart is strong, it will cause Qi to descend; if the Heart is weak, it will cause Qi to rise in the form of Empty-Heat and cause palpitations, insomnia, restlessness, anxiety, dream-disturbed sleep, fidgetiness.
* In adults, however, fear and chronic anxiety often cause deficiency of Kidney-Yin and rising of Empty-Heat within the Heart, with a feeling of heat in the face, night sweating, palpitations and a dry mouth and throat. malar flush and a rapid pulse.

5) Externalmanifestations::

An Internal Organinfluences a its corresponding body part, conversely, a related body part reflectsthe state its correspondingInternal Organ, thus:

* Heart manifests in thecomplexion,
* Liver - in nails,
* Lungs -in body hair,
* Spleen -on lips,
* Kidneys - in hair,
* correspondence between five Yin organs / and 5 body parts is closer for some organs than for others:
** strict correspondence have: Lungs with body hair; Spleenwith lips, Liverwith nails,
*** by way of example,nails will always and only indicate the state of Liver, e.g. brittle nails is a symptom Liver-Blood deficiency,
** flexible correspondence have: Kidneys with hair, Heart with the complexion,
*** by way of example. the appearance of the complexion may indicate the state of any organ and not just of the Heart.

6) Tastes:

Tasteshave important implications in Chinese etiology and pathology.

A particular taste influences an Internal Organ, namely:
* Liver is influenced by sour taste
* Heart by bitter
* Spleen by sweet
* Lungs by pungent
* Kidneys by salty

The 1st aspect of Taste ― Internal Organ correspondence can be reflected in that a particular tastecan experienced by a person who has pathology of the relevant organ.
* E.g. an excessive consumption of a particular taste mayinjure:
** 1) Its correspondent organ.
*** E.g. sweetish taste in the mouth or craving for sweets may indicate Spleen/Pancreas pathology.
** 2) Its organ that is acted upon (in Five Element Theory).
*** E.g Livernourishes the Heart and controls Spleen, that is why all three organs can be affected by excess consumption of sour taste.

The 2nd aspect of Taste ― Internal Organ correspondence can be reflected in that each herb in Chinese medicineis classified as having a particular taste that makes that herb 'enter' (treat) arelevant channel
* E.g. sour herbs enter the liverchannelvia which they therapeutically affect a relevant Internal Organ, that is Liver
** On the other hand, excessive consumption of herbs with a sour taste may injure Liver, Spleenand consequentlymuscles (since muscles are the correspondent tissue of the Spleen)
* A particular taste canalso be beneficial to the organ that “over-acts”(from the Five Elements prospective) on the organ related to that particular taste
* E.g. sweet taste (related to Spleen) can be beneficial to Liver(Spleen -Liver relation in “overacting cycle”see sectionFive Elements)

The 3rd aspect of Taste ― Internal Organ correspondence can be reflected in that each type offood, in TCM is classified as having a particular taste that makes that food 'enter' a relevant channel and treat relevant organ, thus:

* bitter flavor:
** moves Qi down in the body,
** dries and drains excess fluids and symptoms related of Dampness patterns,
** corresponds to the fireelement and influence the Heart, Small Intestine, Triple Burner, Pericardium.

* sweet flavor:
** moves to core of the body, create strength and stability keeping muscles and tissues firm,
** is the most abundant flavor in foods and runs the spectrum from empty to full,
** pure sugar (refined carbs)is an example of empty sweet that offer little nutrition and spike blood sugar
** full sweets (complex carbs), as root vegetables and whole grains, provide deep nourishment and do not increase blood glucose levels,
** corresponds to earthelement and influencesSpleen/Pancreasand Stomach.

* pungent flavor:
** like onions, cinnamon and spices range from hot to cold,
** disperses and move Qi breaking up stagnation,
** corresponds to the metalelement and influencesLungsand Large Intestine.

* salty flavor:
** soften masses (lumps and cysts) and descend Qi in the body,
** help create strength and regulate water and moisture in the body,
** corresponds to the waterelement and influences Kidneyand Urinary Bladder.

* sour flavor:
** stabilizes and astringes(tends to shrink or constrict body tissues).
** tightens up loose and sagging conditions,
** corresponds to the woodelement and influences Liverand Gall Bladder.

7) colours:

An Internal Organ manifestsas particular body colour, on the facial complexion,primarily:

Liver ― green,
* E.g. in pathology greenish complexion can indicate (←) Liver-Qi stasis,

Heart ― red,
* E.g. reddish complexion ← Heart-Fire and/or Heat in other organs,

Spleen ― yellow,
* E.g. yellow complexion ← Spleen deficiency and/or Spleen obstruction by Dampness,

Lungs ― white, pale,
* E.g. white complexion ← Lung-Qi or Blood deficiency of other organs,

Kidneys ― black, dark,
* E.g. dark complexion ← Kidney-Yin deficiency.

8) Odour (body odour):

In pathology, anInternal Organ function manifests as a particular body odour:

Liverpathology reveals as a rancid odour:
* Is akin the smell of rancid meat (this is quite common in Liver pathology pattern),
Heart - scorched (burnt),
* Is like that of burnt toast ( this is not common in practice),
Spleen - fragrant, sweetish,
* Spleen’s pathology odouris fragrant like that of sweetish perfumebut with a faint, sickly overtone,
* This could indicateSpleen function deficiency or pattern of Dampness obstructing the Spleen,
Lungs - rotten, rank,
* Is like that of rotten eggs,
Kidneys – putrid,
* As of putrid, stagnant water (a common smell in elderly),
* E.g. can be smelled as patient undresses or sometimes even through the treatment session.

9) Climates:

Differing climatic conditions influence their correspondent Internal Organ, thus:

Heat influences Heart
Wind - Liver
Dryness - Lung
Dampness - Spleen
Cold - Kidneys
* E.g. excess of a particular climatic conditions can have adverse effect on a related organ.
* In case of the Internal Organ deficiency person is prone to attack by organ-corresponding climate.
** E.g. in Spleen deficiency person is prone to invasions of Dampness, which can manifest as heavy feeling in the various part of the body, dull muscle ache excessive vaginal discharge, loose stools, oedema, slow thinking, tiredness, cloudy urine, etc.

10) Sounds:

The state of an Internal Organis reflected in the sound or pitch of voice, by way of example:

Liver patterns are reflected in shouting
* E.g. very loud, almost shouting voice ← Liver pathology

Heart - laughing
* E.g. punctuate speech with inappropriate short bursts of laughter← Heart pattern

Spleen - singing
* E.g. melodious, singing tone← Spleen pathology

Lungs - crying
* E.g. tone that is almost as if they were about to burst into tears←Lung pathology

Kidneys – groaning
* E.g. throatygroaning voice← Kidneydeficiency

11) Spiritual Aspects:

In Chinese medical tradition,in the body,the FiveYin Internal Organs (Zang) control the function of mental-spiritual entities, that include:

1. Shen:

Shen is the Root of Lifeand resides in the Heart, the Emperor of all the Internal Organs.

Shen,in a narrow sense, pertains to Mind (mental abilities) and regulates fivemajor Heart-Mindfunctions:
* Consciousness,psychological activity(perception/cognition/emotions),memory, thinking,and sleep.
** consciousnessalso embraces the function ofwilland defines human beings as individuals.
* The physical basis of Mindis formed by nourishment from Blood, which in TCM is theRoot of Mind.
** Blood deficiency patterns (blood loss(as in childbirth), malnourishment) Mind gets deprived of its root and an individual would suffer from mental-emotional problems ex. depression,postpartum depression, poor memory, dull thinking, insomnia/somnolence and sometimes unconsciousness in extreme cases.

Shen,in a broad sense, meansSpirit:
* Spiritwhich is also calledFive Shen, embraces all five Spiritual Aspectsof the Internal Organs, including Shen (or Mind) itself, as well asHun, Yi, Po, Zhisee below.

2. Ethereal Soul, Hun:

Broadly, corresponds to our Western concept of'Soul'.
Has spiritual, non-material nature and is opposed to the Corporeal Soul (Po) (see below), which is more physical in nature is made up by radical: Gui=spirit/ghost andYun = clouds.
Resides in the Liver, particularly in its Bloodand Yin.
* e.g. in liver-blood deficiency patterns, Hun cannot be anchored in the Liver,as a result, Hun 'wanders' at night and causes the person to dream a lot.
Complements Shen (Mind)and Qi is close to Shen in its nature, but it “comes and goes” which alsomanifests as the “coming and going” of Shen is responsible for sleep, plans, projects, life aims, 'coming and going of Shen'.
Is Yang in nature and enters body 3 days after birth.
Is imparted to the baby by the father.
Survives the body after death, returns to a world of spirit to Heaven.
At death leaves the body,carrying with it an appearance of physical form.
* e.g. this corresponds closely to the ancient Greek views on 'Spirit' (which means 'breath') or 'Soul' (which means 'wind or vital breath').

3. Corporeal Soul, Po:

Is a somatic (bodily)expression of Soul.
Is described as 'entering / exiting of Essence (Jing).
Plays a role in all physiological processes and gives us the capacity ofphysical sensations (hearing, sight), feelings and all somatic expressionsin general.
Moves and accomplishes things and [when it is active] pain and itching can be felt →
Formed at conception(unlike Hun, which enters the body after birth) and resides in the Lungs.
Is Yin in nature (compared with the Ethereal Soul, Hun.
Dies with the body and returns to Earth.

4. Yi

Is anintellect.
Corresponds to our capacity for applied/logical thinking, concentration and focus, studying, memorizing(Heart also affects thinking and memory).
Its pathology manifests inpensiveness, overthinking, obsessive thinking, fantasizing, brooding
Resides in the Spleen.

5. Zhi

Is a will-power.
Resides in the Kidneys.
Represents mental drive that gives will-power, constancy determination single-mindedness in the pursuit of our goals.