TCM, above all, sees the human body as an organic whole, a complete system made up of physical structures, emotions, mind, and spirit. It does not separate your body into parts, nor does it just treat one part of your body. In the TCM view, everything in the body is seen as woven together into a seamless whole; all parts have a relationship with one another. And, TCM relies on an ancient framework, the Five Element Theory, to help guide its understanding.

The human body is made up of viscera, bowels, tissues, and other physical structures. Each has its own physiological function; all of them together comprise the web of life of an individual. TCM believes that emotional, mental, and spiritual capacities are as important as the body’s physical properties in terms of health. For example, the emotion connected with the Liver is anger. Anger is a normal human emotion. If you experience it and let it go, you can remain healthy. But, if you suffer from chronic anger or constantly hold anger deep within you in some way, you can eventually disrupt the normal healthy functioning of your Liver.

What does this mean?

One of the Liver’s main jobs is to promote the smooth flow of Qi and blood throughout the body. It is also responsible for the smooth flow of emotions. If it starts sputtering and performing its job poorly or unevenly, this condition can then cause menstrual cycle disorders such as PMS, cramps, and headaches. Chronic anger can also be the true source of breast tenderness, uterine fibroids, and stomach distention. You may not notice it, but when your life is going smoothly, your periods are regular and other female problems are less intense.

Excerpted from: A Woman’s Guide to Healing from Breast Cancer, by Nan Lu, O.M.D., L.Ac. with Ellen Schaplowsky.

Join us next Wednesday to gain more insight into the underlying principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Five Elements, TCM

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