In my last note, called “Press Acupuncture Points to Help Decrease High Blood Pressure”, I mentioned how a calm mind can help decrease high blood pressure. If you care to search, you can find many Western medical studies that agree with this. I.e. Hypertension in older adults and the role of positive emotions” U of Texas.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we believe that the human body is a small universe. Body and mind exist in very close cooperation. This means physiological functions and emotions influence each other.
There is an ancient medical text, called Hungdi Neijing (The Inner Canon of Hungdi or Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon), that has been the fundamental doctrinal source for TCM for more than two millennium and is still used today. Within this text is the following table:
The Five Viscera and Six Bowels – Five Elements Table
Five Viscera(Yin) Six Bowels (Yang) Element
Heart, (Joy ) Small intestine Fire
Liver, (Anger ) Gall bladder Wood
Spleen, (Pensiveness ) Stomach Earth
Lungs, (Anxiety ) Large intestine Metal
Kidneys,, Urinary bladder, (Fear ) Pericardium with its blood Water
vessels – Triple Energiser
From this table we can see certain organs are related to emotional activities. The heart is related to joy, the liver to anger, the spleen to pensiveness, the lungs to anxiety and the kidneys to fear.
This is because the five yin-organs also produce five kinds of essential Chi(Qi) or “vital energy.” The reverse is true as well… emotions influence the functions of organ Chi(Qi). Additionally the heart controls all activity and function of viscera. It circulates blood and Chi in the body.
Emotions are considered a major internal causes of disease in TCM. Consider these Chinese sayings:
“Yan Shun Bi Si-en Yan Sing” or “To form your way of life you must first form your heart/mind”
“Sing Pin Chi(Qi) He” or “Achieve peace of heart/mind then Chi(Qi) will be in harmony”.
But how can we have a peace of heart/mind?
In TCM we believe that body(Yang) and mind/spirit (Yin) can not be separated. So the Chinese saying goes:
“Yan Shen Zai Dong, Yan Sing Zai Jing” or “The way to recuperate the body is in motion(Yang), the way to recuperate the heart/mind is in calm(Yin)”
If the body doesn’t move for a long time, it will be stiff. This will cause Chi(Qi) to be sluggish. If mind can not be calm then spirit will be scattered and can not focus. With their thousand (or more) years of development and practice, Yoga, T’ai Chi and Chi Kung(Qi Gong) are potent ways of helping Chi flow. Practicing meditation or even simply closing your eyes to listen to soothing music can help recuperate spirit. When Yin and Yang (Motion and Calm), are balanced then you will gain in health.