The realm of Chinese Internal Medicine is centered on the flow of energy known as Qi.
Qi is the life force or vital energy that sustains all living things on earth according to Chinese Metaphysics. Both the schools of Chinese Geomancy (Feng Shui) and Astrology (Four Pillars of Destiny) have their roots in the existence of Qi. All methodologies used in the practices of these ancient arts and sciences concern with harnessing the Qi from the environment for health and prosperity. In the context of Chinese Internal Medicine, the way to healthy living is to harness internal Qi within our body. Internal Qi can be enhanced and generated based on the concept of the Five Elements. These elements have their individual metaphysical characteristics and are closely related to the type of energy that a person has. The essence of Chinese Internal Medicine is to maintain balance in these elements within our body for optimal health. Illnesses or diseases are caused by blockage, depletion or imbalance of qi in a human body. Healing can only begin when Qi is unblocked and energized or balance is restored to the affected part of the body through enhancing and energizing Qi to flow unhindered.
The Five Elements that form the core of internal Qi are known in their elemental energy of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Each of these elements is associated with the internal organs of the human body which mostly relates to the 5 viscera and 6 bowels. The viscera are heart, lungs, liver, spleen and kidneys which are credited with the capacity for storing and determining the functions of other parts of the body. The bowels are bladder, gall bladder, stomach, small intestines and large intestines.
Wood is associated with the liver. Any excess or deficiency can lead to liver ailments and gall bladder dysfunction.
Fire is associated with the heart. Any excess or deficiency can lead to hypertension, heartburn and heart problem.
Earth is associated with the spleen. Any excess or deficiency can lead to stomach and digestive problem.
Metal is associated with the lung. Any excess or deficiency can lead to lung related or colon related problem and dysfunction of the reproductive system.
Water is associated with the kidney. Any excess or deficiency can lead to kidney and bladder related problem.
The flow of internal Qi in a human body is based on the interaction of the Five Elements. There are basically two cycles of interaction between these elements. In the first cycle, known as the Productive Cycle, each element produces the succeeding element or nourishes it by a flow of energy. Wood produces Fire. Fire produces Earth by converting wood to ashes which are returned to earth. Earth produces Metal which is found as mineral deposit in the earth. Metal produces Water when there is condensation. Water in turn produces Wood just like plants needs water to grow. The cycle then repeats itself.
In the second cycle, known as the Destructive Cycle, each element destroys the succeeding element or controls it by a flow of energy. Wood penetrates Earth. Earth controls Water by forming a dam or reservoir. Water puts out Fire. Fire melts Metal. Metal cuts Wood and the cycle begin again.
These elements play an integral role in the proper functioning of our vital organs by the flow of energy within us and in the process, checking and balancing one another. If one element becomes too strong or too weak, it can attack or be injured. The importance of these elements in the cycles of production and destruction is that they form the basic foundation in the application of Chinese Internal Medicine.
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