Elements, Emotions, Organs, and Meridians
Emotions count in Chinese medicine!
Chinese medicine approaches a human being from a truly holistic perspective. Emotions, thoughts, moods, and mindsets all impact the energetic system. Energy, called Qi (“chee”), is the focus of Classical Chinese medicine. The physical body is perceived as a manifestation of Qi.
Since Qi is the basis of our physical body, the condition of our physical body changes in response to the quality, quantity, and flow of Qi. Many things affect the state of our Qi – what we eat, how we eat, how much we work, how much we rest, our emotions, our thoughts, and our ability to be aware of these aspects of ourselves.
To understand health and healing from the Chinese medical perspective, it helps to understand a few a key concepts:
Chinese medicine recognizes Five Elements. These Elements are aspects of Nature that are continuously shifting. The Elements are often described as stages of transformation. They are not fixed “things.”
The 5 Elements of Chinese medicine are:
You may have noticed that your emotions change or transform. The shifting of emotions is similar to the shifting of the Elements. Emotions express themselves in energetic patterns. For instance, angry energy is felt as a strong upward and outward sensation. In contrast, sadness is experienced as heaviness and a downward pull.
Emotions are associated with Elements:
- Fire – Passion, love, rage
- Earth – Worry, satisfaction, safety
- Metal – Grief, letting go, courage
- Water – Fear, peace, creativity
- Wood – Anger, assertiveness, kindness
“Organs” include the physical organ, and an associated Element and emotion. Since the Organs are assumed to have these energetic relationships, when emotions are out of balance, it can harm the Organs. This is how we witness the “mind-body” connection from the Chinese medical perspective.
Organs and their associated Elements:
- Heart and Small Intestine, Pericardium and Triple Heater – Fire Element
- Spleen and Stomach – Earth Element
- Lung and Large Intestine – Metal Element
- Kidney and Bladder – Water Element
- Liver and Gallbladder – Wood Element
Every Organ has an associated meridian.
Meridians are the pathways where the Qi flows to and from the Organs, and out to all areas of the body. The nature of each meridian can be traced back through understanding the nature of the Organ, the Element associated with the Organ, and the related emotions. There are 12 Meridians, and each are associated with one of the Organs listed above.
Chinese medicine offers anyone who is curious a profound system of holistic healing. By tracing the energetic patterns of emotions, we experience another perspective and possibility for healing.