Manual Zang Fu. The Organ Systems of Traditional Chinese Medecine

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The organs and their pairings are listed below. Zang: Pericardium Though not always grouped with the five Zang organs, the Pericardium is considered the protector of the heart; it is also an acupuncture channel. I t is important not to conflate the TCM organ with the Western anatomical organ.


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Just as the Five Elements follow a generating and controlling sequence, the Zang-fu system can also be examined in this context. For an overview of the Five Elements and to view the generating and controlling sequences, check out our blog post on the subject. These controlling and generating sequences are used to visualize the source s of pathological conditions and can be used to approach a treatment. The Zang-fu system is an incredibly important and consequential method of TCM diagnosis: It influences the diagnostic decisions, treatment plans, herbal prescriptions, and overall understanding of acupuncturists and herbalists the world over.

The Zang-fu organs including the Pericardium also constitute the twelve primary acupuncture channels and are consequently used on a daily basis by most practicing acupuncturists. Take a moment to review the Zang-fu system and soon you will discover an entirely new way of viewing the human body.

Topics: Traditional Chinese Medicine , chinese medicine philosophy , acupuncture school , chinese medicine school , zang-fu. Subscribe below to receive instant, weekly, or monthly blog updates directly to your email inbox. AOMA Blog. Stay in touch Get our blog in your inbox! Subscribe to Email Updates. Recent Posts. In modern medicine, it is common to look at the internal organs as individual physical units, subject to inspection and surgical removal in part or in whole.

By contrast, the Chinese system was developed by considering the person as a whole and by relying on what is visible or palpable at the surface. The Chinese organ networks were described in nearly complete absence of surgery.


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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. Unfortunately, the traditional view of the organs is made difficult to understand by the fact that organs known to modern medicine have been directly linked, by naming, to those of traditional medicine, as follows:.

As a result of this linkage, the gan "rectifying system," traditionally defined by its function of regulating the upward and outward expansion of qi and blood, is now labeled with the same term, liver, as the anatomical organ that is known, almost exclusively, for its metabolism of biochemicals.

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In Chinese, both the traditional organ network and the anatomical organ are called " gan ," and in English, both are called "liver. The five organ network approach presented here owes much to the teachings and inspiration of Professors Deng Zhongjia and Zhou Xuexi of the Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Deng is the University's Dean of Fundamental Studies, and is a prominent voice calling for the restoration of a Chinese medicine education that is anchored in the classics.

Professor Zhou is one of the few remaining elders of the field. He is one of China's leading authorities on studying the connection between ancient Chinese philosophy and traditional Chinese medicine.

The TCM Organ Systems (Zang Fu)

The bulk of the presentation of the five organ networks-which is in outline form-features the definitions that appear in the root classics of Chinese medicine, especially the Huangdi Neijing The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine. These statements are accompanied by the remarks of traditional commentators who tried to illuminate the terse Neijing style. Each organ network web page consists of the following five parts:. Texts predating or contemporary with the Neijing and texts that contain quotes from that period Warring States, Qin Dynasty, Han Dynasty :.

Guanzi , prior to B.

Contemplations by the Huainan Masters Huainanzi , ca. Texts written prior to or during the Ming Dynasty which ended in A.

Five Major Organs | TCM World

Texts of the Qing Dynasty which ended in , during the time when Western medicine was first encountering Chinese medicine, but having little influence, though Chinese medicine was, overall, in a state of decline:. Shen Jin'ao, Dr. Cheng Wenyou, Quotes from Medicine Yishu , Texts written during the late 19th century and early 20th century period integrating Chinese and Western Medicine:. The following are examples of quotes from the various texts, one selected for each organ network:. Liver: The liver marks the beginning of cyclical action, the stirring of spring yang which all living things rely upon as a catalyst for their growth.

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By avoiding outbursts of anger and by fostering this particular type of yang energy, your prenatal qi will keep generating forever. The liver is also in charge of color; if its qi is in harmony, the body will exhibit a healthy luster.


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  • If its qi is injured, the body will appear dry and brittle.