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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)#YinYang#ZhangFu#Meridian

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) #YinYang# ZhangFu# Meridian.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an ancient medical philosophy that originated in China. TCM is based on the concept of qi ( "chi"), which means vital energy. Qi is the life force or vital energy that flows everywhere in the Universe, including your body. The vital energy flows throughout the body. 

Thousands of years ago, when there was nothing improved in medical and biological fields, the theory of TCM was established by some Chinese Scholars. From that time, Chinese philosophy, astronomy, and literature began to develop. 

To understand the philosophy properly, you need to be familiar with the fundamental concepts of TCM.

The Fundamental Concepts of TCM include the following:

  • The concepts of qi
  • The concept of yin and yang 
  • The Zhang fu
  • The concept of meridians.

Traditional Chinese medicine and therapeutic method 

In traditional Chinese medicine, clinical practices include acupuncture, moxibustion, herbal medicine, and some spiritual practices. This method focuses on keeping yin and Yang in a dynamic balance state.

Symptoms appear when there is a disbalance between yin and yang. Comparing the symptoms before and after the treatment, and evaluation of the results of the treatment is made.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the treatment mechanism concentrates on improving the resistance power of the human body, through the balancing of yin and yang.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the treatment mechanism emphasizes improving the resistance power of the human body through the balancing of yin and yang.

Traditional Chinese Medicine endeavors to develop a system of coordination between organs and the interconnections between the human body and the natural environment. It emphasizes activating and improving the system and boosting resistance to diseases (Immunity).

For the treatment, TCM attempt to recognize the error in the system. These methods are safe as they are natural. The probability of side effects is fewer than western medicines.

Also, Read Chinese Caterpillar, Dongchongxiacao.

Yin and Yang

Yin-Yang Principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Yin Yang of Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM). Image credit- Pixabay

According to Chinese cosmology, the universe creates itself from the initial jumble of material energy, adapts itself into the cycles of yin and yang, and made objects and lives. In TCM, the principle of Yin and Yang refers to the concepts of dualism.

This concept describes how two apparently opposite forces can be complementary, interrelated, and interdependent in the real world, and how they can interact with each other.

Yin and Yang are opposite but complementary to each other. Yin can't exist without Yang. Likewise, Yang can't exist without Yin. There is no existence of absolute Yin or absolute Yang. In Other Words, the seed of Yin exists within Yang and vice versa.

Despite Oppositeness, Yin and Yang are said to be interdependent with each other. There are connections between the physiology and pathology of the Zang fu organs. 


Yin is cold/dark/negative/passive/female principle in nature.


 Yang is hot/bright/positive/active/male principle in nature.

A dynamic balance between Yin and Yang is considered as an optimum condition, where no symptoms are likely to appear. When significant disbalance occurs between the two, the symptoms arise.

The five elements theory [Wu Xing]

According to the Five Elements Theory, Wood, Metal, Water, Fire, and Earth are considered as the basic elements of the physical world. The Five Element theory is based on the observation of the natural cycles, their functions, and interdependence.

It is associated with germination, extension, softness, and harmony.

It is associated with cleaning, strengthening, and firmness.

It is associated with heat.

It is associated with cold, moisture, and downward flowing.

It is associated with growing, nourishment, and changing.

The Five Element theory is based on the observation of the natural cycles. It describes the interrelationships of each element in the natural environment and within our body. These elements are flexible in nature, moving, and changing constantly.

Mother-son relationship

  • Wood is the mother of Fire as it creates Fire.
  • Fire is the mother of Earth as it creates Earth.
  • Earth is the mother of Metal as it creates Metal.
  • Metal is the mother of Water Metal as it creates Water.
  • Water is the mother of Wood as it creates Wood.

This is similar to the 5 elements theory of the Indian cosmology [Pancha Bhoota or Pancha Maha-Bhoota] although, both are not identical.
These 5 elements are:
  1. Prithvi (Earth)
  2. Varuna (Water)
  3. Agni (Fire)
  4. Vayu (Air)
  5. Akasha (Space)
The Universe is made of these 5 elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space. These elements maintain balance. Nature struggles constantly to maintain balance.

In Ayurveda and Indian philosophy, the human body is considered to be made of these five elements. Any imbalance in the five elements causes an imbalance in the Prana Shakti or vital force. These elements are:
  1. Earth -bones, and muscles
  2. Water -blood
  3. Air -breath
  4. Fire -heat
  5. Space -emptiness inside the body.
You may be interested in reading the concepts of elements in the Unani System.

The concept of the Zang-Fu 

In TCM, the concept of the Zang-Fu explains the physiological functions, pathological changes, and the interrelationships of organs of the body. According to the Zang and Fu concept, the organs of your body are divided into two categories Zhang organs and Fu organs.

The human body consists of five Zang organs and six Fu organs.

Zang organs [ known as Yin organs]

  • Heart & Pericardium
  • Liver
  • Spleen
  • Lung
  • Kidney.

Fu organs [Yang organs]

  • Stomach
  • Small Intestine
  • Large Intestine
  • Urinary Bladder
  • Gall Bladder
  • San Jiao
Each Zang organ is paired with a Fu organ. Every pair is associated with one of the five elements

The Zang-Fu are also connected to meridians; each Zang is attached to a Yin meridian and each Fu is attached to a Yang meridian.

You can read here the Human Skeleton System (206 bones).

The meridians

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, meridians (Jing lou ) are invisible pathways that flow energy and blood throughout the body. Meridians are usually known as channels consisting of various points.

The meridians act as a network, that can be mapped out throughout the entire body. The meridians are energy circulating pathways like the blood circulatory system but they are invisible. 

According to the TCM philosophy, there are the 12[6 pairs] most important meridians in the body. They connect to the Zang-fu organs.

The 12 meridians [6
 yin meridians, 6 yang meridians] are the primary channels through which energy or qi flows. They are located in each arm[ known as hand meridians] and leg [known as leg meridians]. These meridians are connected to a specific Zang-Fu organ. 

Hand meridians [3 yin meridians,3 yang meridians]

The 3 yin meridians 

  • Heart meridian
  • Lung meridian
  • Pericardium meridian 
The 3 yang meridians 
  • Small intestine meridian
  • Large intestine meridian
  • San jiao meridian

Leg meridians-3 yin,3 yang

The 3 yin meridians 

  • Liver meridian
  • Kidney meridian  
  • Spleen meridian

The 3 yang meridians 

  • Urinary bladder meridian
  • Gall bladder meridian
  • Stomach meridian

Further Reading:


Although TCM is called Eastern Medicine, it has gained considerable popularity in the Western world. 

To build an advanced and powerful medicine system, maybe in the future, Western Medicine will be combined with Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Related Articles on Chinese Herbs used in TCM:



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