Special series

- THE FIVE ORGAN NETWORKS OF CHINESE MEDICINE

 

One of the central features of traditional Chinese medicine is the analysis of diseases and their treatment in terms of the five zang (often translated as viscera, solid organs, or internal organs). The term "organ networks" is utilized here to indicate that Chinese physicians were not interested in the organs as physical objects, but as extended networks functioning throughout the body. In classical Chinese medicine, detailed knowledge of the dynamics and interrelationship of the five organ networks is considered the foundation for successful practice. This system of knowledge describes the body as a dynamic system of intertwined functional circuits that reflect and resonate with the macrocosm of the universe.

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- UNDERSTANDING THE TREATMENT OF SHEN DISORDERS WITH CHINESE MEDICINE

 

The earliest known discourse on shen in the medical context is found in the Huangdi Neijing Lingshu, in Scroll Two. The document that comes down to us today is believed to have originated during the Han Dynasty, perhaps around 100 B.C. In a translation by Wu Jingnuan (3), the relevant section on spirit is titled “The Roots of the Spirit.” The section, like others, begins with a question from Huang Di (the Yellow Emperor) which is answered by Qi Bo (the chief physician), who begins his explanation this way: “Heaven abides so that we have virtue. Earth abides so that we have qi. When virtue flows and qi is blended there is life.”

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