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5Aug/09Off

Internal Causes of illness: Perverse Emotions

Other than the cause-and-effect relationship between perverse climatic conditions and disease we talked about in the last article, another important Chinese medicine concept is that emotions (namely, anger, fear, grief, joy and anxiety) also influence health. Chinese medicine holds that when certain emotions are experienced in excess, they'll affect particular organs. Specifically, anger is associated with the liver, fear with the kidneys, grief with the lungs, joy with the heart, and anxiety with the spleen. While the explicit connection between emotions and the vital organs is not always obvious, examples such as the effect of grief  and weeping on the lungs or how anxiety can affect the spleen or stomach (by causing digestive problems in general or a nervous or upset stomach in particular) are more apparent.

Not just emotions an important sources of diagnosis, Chinese medicine assigns even greater importance to them by stating that the combined effects of external climatic elements and internal emotional factors are major precipitating factors in all forms of disease. So excessive emotion for a long period of time can cause cancer - that's why we got the line, "Don't worry. Be happy." Worries, fears, sadness can really kill somebody.

In fact, the close investigation afforded by traditional Chinese medicine to psychological and climatological factors is rivaled only by the attention given to what are considered the two primary substances in human physiology: the blood and the Chi (Qi)

(sources:  Chinese Herbal Medicine made easy by Thomas Richard Joiner.)

4Aug/09Off

External Causes of illness: Perverse Energies

Last article we talked about the fundamental root of all disease, according to traditional Chinese medicine, is an imbalance of Yin and Yang. I read a Chinese article about where cancer came from, the author said when there is too much Yin elements in the body while there's an obvious deficit of Yang elements, that's when cancer starts. That article also said sometimes western medication tends to use vitamins as supplements in imbalance of nutrition. Vitamins belong to Yin. On the other hand, a lot of controlling medicines like painkillers or antibiotics cause the deficit of Yang. If a person take excess vitamins and painkillers/antibiotics together for too long, cancer may just start because of the excess of Yin plus the deficit of Yang. That means even taking  harmless medicine incorrectly may actually have negative effects on your body. Of course, this is just one example of imbalance of Yin Yang, other than medications, nutrition, emotions and what they call "perverse energies" can also cause imbalance of Yin Yang - hence cause cancer or other diseases.

External Causes of Illness: Perverse Energies

Traditional Chinese medicine teaches that perverse atmospheric conditions -- perverse energies -- are often the primary cause of, or at least contributing factors in, a long list of common illnesses. Perverse energies include the followings, which somehow I mentioned in the last article:

Wind, the primary transport system for hundreds of air borne viruses associated with a great number of respiratory diseases;

Cold, which causes the body's fluids to congeal, impeding the circulation of fluid to the joins and blood through the body, causing poor digestion, diarrhea;

Heat, which causes pronounced sweating and dehydration, skin infections;

Dampness (Wet), associated with inflammatory muscle and joint disease such as rheumatism and arthritis;

Dryness, which attacks the body fluids and is associated with, among other things, increased thirst, dry skin, coughing and constipation.

Chinese believe that perverse energies occur most often when normal environmental conditions are excessive. Examples are extreme cold spells in winter and unseasonable conditions such as a warm spell in winter or a period of transition from one season to another - that's why during a dramatic weather change, people are more easily to get sick.

There's no way to avoid exposure to environmental changes. So Chinese medicine prefers a preventive rather than a curative approach by offering strategies for protecting the body from perverse energies. Usually, there are two ways to carry out preventive strategies:  via the diet, and through the use of Chinese herbs (which consists of botanical, mineral, and zoological substances). Combination of these two became a powerful tool for body natural defense. Used on regular basis, herbs become and extension of nutrition that helps the protection against pernicious external influences. This practice has proven to be effective for general health maintenance as well as for promoting life extension.

(sources: Chinese Traditional Medical Association (hantang.com), Streetwise Guide: Chinese Herbal Medicine by Wong Kang Ying and Martha Dahle, Chinese Herbal Medicine made easy by Thomas Richard Joiner.)