The Whole Concept
Chinese medicinal theory (CMT) takes our body, including interior and exterior organs and tissues, as a coherent, organic whole. Mother Nature’s four seasons, microclimates and surrounding environment physically and pathologically affect our body. CMT emphasizes not only the unity of human body interior but also the unity of human body with outside world.
Inside our body, the organs are mapped with the Five Elements relationship of the Mother/Child, Suppression/Counter-suppression (Please refer the Five Elements in Chinese Medicinal Theory). The Five Elements theory is a guideline to the balance and harmony of our body.
In CMT, human body is mainly constructed by Zang organs、Fu organs and meridians etc.
Zang (solid, yin) organs: liver、heart、spleen、lung and kidney
Fu (hallow, yang) organs similar to containers: stomach、small Intestine、large Intestine、bladder、urinary bladder and Sānjiaō (or the three truncal cavities)
Each Zang organ is paired with a Fu organ. Heart pairs with small intestine; liver pairs with gallbladder; spleen pairs with stomach; lung pairs with large intestine; kidney pairs with urinary bladder. Zang organ leads Fu organ’s function and each pair performs one characteristic of the Five Elements.
The two paired organs connect with each other by meridians, and all pairs are networked and unified by meridians as well. Meridians are chi pathways transporting chi to drive blood flow and support body systems’ physiological activities.
The relationship of Zang and Fu organs
The paired Zang and Fu organs not only physiologically are connected to each other, they but also pathologically affect each other. Zang organ’s pathological problem will affect Fu organ; Fu organ’s pathological problem will affect Zang organ; or both Zang and Fu organs have same pathological problem. Chinese therapeutic methods are often to treat Fu organ when Zang organ is ill, to treat Zang organ when Fu organ is ill, or to treat both organs at the same time.
- The relationship of heart and small intestine
Heart is Zang (yin) organ and small intestine is Fu (yang) organ. Heart attributes to fire in the Five Elements. Heart masters blood driving blood circulation; small intestine receives the chyme transported from stomach and digests and transforms chyme to food essence and food residue. Then, stomach chi distributes the food essence to spleen and spleen digests and transforms food essence into Postnatal Jing. Postnatal Jing later gets distributed by spleen to lung and heart and transformed into blood. Thus, heart blood is constantly supplied.
- The relationship of lung and large intestine
Lung is Zang (yin) organ and large intestine is Fu (yang) organ. Lung attributes to metal in the Five Elements. Lung masters chi and regulates waterways; large intestine masters fluid and recycles fluid; these two organs co-work to ensure feces is healthy discharged without water residue or drying out in large intestine.
- The relationship of spleen and stomach
Spleen is Zang (yin) organ and stomach is Fu (yang) organ. Spleen attributes to earth(soil) in the Five Elements. Spleen and stomach are separated by a membrane but are connected to each other by meridians. This pair is the main organs in food digestion, absorption, transportation and transformation.
- The relationship of liver and gallbladder
Liver is Zang (yin) organ and gallbladder is Fu (yang) organ. Liver attributes to wood in the Five Elements. This pair co-works in assisting digestion and controlling emotion. Liver secretes bile and gallbladder stores bile. Gallbladder, then, distributes bile to small intestine. This pair co-works in assisting digestion. Liver governs human emotion of anger and depression. Gallbladder governs courage.
- The relationship of kidney and bladder
Kidney is Zang (yin) organ and bladder is Fu (yin) organ. Kidney attributes to water in the Five Elements. Kidney masters water by distributing fluid in food essence to nourish and moisturizing body systems; recycles waste fluid and distributes the part of useful fluid to lung for nourishing and moisturizing body systems and the part of waste water to bladder for transforming as urine. Bladder relies on kidney chi’s driving to transform waste water into urine, and store and excrete urine.