The Four Vital Substances
Chinese medicine is very different than Western medicine.
These differences are highlighted when we consider the “ingredients” of a person. What is the concrete material of a human? How does the body function? What do we need in order to be healthy and alive?
The answers to these questions vary from culture to culture.
The Four Vital Substances of Chinese medicine are the necessary “building blocks” of a human. According to Chinese medicine, we need to have these substances in abundance, balance, and harmony in order to flourish in Mind-Body-Spirit.
Vital Substances of Chinese Medicine:
- Jing – Essence refers to our genetic inheritance. Essence provides the basis for the physical body.
- Xue – Blood refers to the blood in our vessels and all other fluids in the body.
- Qi – Energy refers to the energy of life that travels through the meridian system. There is no equivalent for “Qi” in western medicine.
- Shen – Spirit refers to our consciousness or psyche. Western medicine separates Spirit from the practice of medicine (except in psychiatry).
The Organ Systems all play a role in the maintenance and balance of these Four Vital Substances. Evaluating health and disease, is based on observations and assessments of these Vital Substances.