Day 8 on ‘Emotions & Body: TCM (Part 1)’ on ‘Emotions’ Chapter
From the ‘Remembering’ Series
[Listen to the audio with guided alignment at the end]
TCM on Emotions and Organs
Emotions and organs are interconnected, especially the practice in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) 中医 where it believed that emotional imbalances is the symptoms and the cause of physical disease. Its approach on a person’s well-being is based on the balance of the yin forces (passive) 阴 and yang forces (active) 阳, as well as the 5 elements of fire, water, earth, wood, and metal （五行：火、水、土、木、金）.
A bit About TCM
In TCM, the yin organs (or ‘wu zang’ 五脏：心、肾、肝、肺、脾) are the heart, kidney, liver, lung and spleen. In Chinese medicine, the heart is the home of the mind.
The meridians in the body is a pathway connected to an organ, where each meridian is named after the organ which is closely linked.
PS: A meridian is an energetic highway in the human body, it allows the flow of energy, known as Qi (pronounced “chee”), to circulate throughout the body.
TCM approach is based on the balance of yin and yang forces, where each of the basic emotions are equally valuable and equally destructive if out of balance. Thus, the imbalance in any emotion can cause disturbance in the body.
The 5 basic emotions corresponding to organs and elements of the body
We will focus on the 5 organs with its associated emotions.
Emotion: Anger – Organ: Liver – Element: Wood
Emotion: Fear – Organ: Kidney – Element: Water
Emotion: Joy/hate/overexcitement – Organ: Heart – Element: Fire
Emotion: Sadness – Organ: Lung – Element: Metal
Emotion: Worry – Organ: Spleen – Element: Earth
Heart is related to joy, so excessive joy impairs the heart; liver to anger, so excessive anger impairs the liver; lung to worry, so excessive worry impairs the lung; spleen to thinking, so excessive thinking impairs the spleen; kidney to terror, so excessive terror impairs the kidney.
The below shows the function and the dysfunctions of the yin organs.
Note that the below information is excerpt from 2 sources: Vaughan, Rose Erin’s book “The Science of Self: Yoga, Pathways, Organs and Emotions.” and “Fundamentals of Traditional Chinese Medicine (World Century Compedium to TCM-Vol.1)” by Hong-zhou Wu, Zhao-qin Fang, Pan-ji Cheng.
Examples of the emotions and its effects
1. Anger: The liver is associated with anger, when on holds anger may cause the adverse flowing up of qi and blood as the liver is responsible for the flow of emotions and qi. Long term anger or resentment can build up in the liver and gall bladder meridians. On the other hand, intense anger cause excessive yang qi with inadequate yin blood and when the liver qi is weak, we may suffer from too much anger or unable to express anger at all.
2. Fear: The kidney is associated with terror which is similar to fright. meridian reacts to fear causing tightening in the pelvic floor and inner thighs. When fight-flight mode is activated, the adrenals produce stress hormones: adrenaline and cortisol. With overreaction of fear, the kidney qi moves downwards created urinary and fecal incontinence or slippery diarrhoea.
3. Joy: The heart is associated with joy. Joy is a positive reaction which beneficial to the heart. Joy helps the heart to control blood and vessel when it is not excess. With excess joy or lack of joy are both destructive to the heart. Excitement can shock and damage the heart and other internal organs. Weak qi in the heart can result in insomnia, poor sleep, and heart palpitations. The heart’s meridian passes by the tongue, thus, the tongue can shows the problems with the heart.
4. Sadness: The lung is associated with sorrow. It manifests the energy of grief, sadness, detachment, emptiness and ‘letting go’ in the body. The lung controls qi, thus, sorrow is destructive to the lung. On the other hand, when the pulmonary function declines, the lung can produce sorrow. Sadness that won’t go away may be a sign of weakness in the lungs. The quality of lung qi is often seen in our skin and our body hair.
5. Worry: The spleen is associated with contemplation in emotions which is also related to the heart. One with excessive thinking can affect the qi flow lead to qi stagnation. Disturbances in the spleen meridians or organs can lead to confusion, fogginess, worry, mania. A person who is constantly worry shows a weak qi in the spleen where such weakness can often be seen in the lips and mouth.
The Positive and Negative Emotions Creation Cycle
These are the brief go through from the perspectives of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there are many resources available about the emotions associated to our organs in TCM. Kindly read the books or consult the TCM practitioners for more details.
Last but not least..
Watch How Different Emotions Affect You:
May you explore more and discover the source of your pain in your body.
I, myself find this very amazing, as it provides me more clue on what and how different emotions affect my body or vice versa. The coming post, part 2, we will look a bit deeper on our relations with emotions and body. Thank you for being here.