Qi, Blood And Body Fluid
blood and body fluid are important substances and structures
in the body. They sustain the vital activities and they nourish
the body, thereby keeping the functions of the tissues, organs
and channels in good order. The production and circulation
of qi and blood also depends on the health of the tissues
and organs that are nourished by these substances.
is a complex concept; it relates to both substance and function.
Clean qi (oxygen), waste qi (carbon dioxide) and qi (nutrients)
are generally known as material qi, and the existence of material
qi is shown by the functional activity of various organs.
The function of an organ depends on the functional qi of that
organ; for instance, qi of xin-heart or qi of pi-spleen is
the vital energy and functional activity of the xin-heart
or pi-spleen. The function of an organ, or its functional
qi, cannot exist without material qi, and vice versa.
qi is found mainly in the chest. It nourishes the structures
and functions of the xin-heart and fei-lung.
qi circulates in the channels and collaterals, mainly in the
qi is in the muscles and skin. It circulates outside the channels,
in the subcutaneous tissues, and it defends the body against
invasion by pathogens.
original qi is nourished and maintained by qi derived after
birth. These combine to form genuine qi, i.e. the total sum
of qi in the healthy body. This contrasts with pathogenic
factors that are known as pathogenic qi.
nutrients from food are digested by the pi-spleen and stomach
and they are then transported to the xin-heart and fei-lung
and turned into red (oxygenated) blood by qi. The essence
of shen-kidney produces bone marrow, and bone marrow uses
the digested food to produce blood. Qi of shen-kidney promotes
digestion by pi-spleen, which in turn strengthens the xin-heart
and fei-lung. This interaction therefore promotes haemopoesis.
There is a close relationship between qi and blood. The formation
and circulation of blood depends on qi, whereas the formation
and distribution of qi, as well as the health of the various
organs of the body, is dependent on adequate nourishment from
the blood. If the flow of blood 'stagnates' the circulation
of qi is 'retarded' and, conversely, if the circulation of
qi is 'retarded' then the blood flow 'stagnates'.
fluid is formed from food and drink. It exists in the blood,
the tissues, and all the body openings and cavities.
The Pathogenesis of Disease
Factors are divided into three main groups, exogenous pathogens,
mental pathogens and various miscellaneous pathogens. 'Phlegm
and humour' and 'stagnant blood' are pathological products;
once they are formed new pathological changes will ensue so
they are considered to be secondary pathogens.
The Exogenous Pathogens
movability and changeability of symptoms characterize this
pathogen. The clinical manifestations are abnormal limb motion,
such as spasm or twitching, and a wandering symptomatic site
as in urticaria or arthralgia. The symptoms may vary in intensity
and they usually include a dislike of wind, fever, sweating,
headache and an itchy throat.
of cold will consume the yang causing a contraction of the
channels and the blood vessels, and therefore a poor circulation
of qi and blood. The symptoms are those of a slight fever,
a dislike of cold, hypohydrosis, headache, muscular pain and
spasm, and occasionally a dark blue and painful area in the
local muscles and skin; a frozen shoulder is a good example
of the pathogen cold.
only occurs in the summer; it damages the yin and may progress
to affect the level of consciousness. The symptoms are excessive
body heat, profuse sweating, thirst, a dry mouth, dry red
skin and, in severe cases, delirium (this is known as heat
exhaustion in Chinese medicine). Summer heat may combine with
wind and cause convulsions. Summer heat often combines with
damp to produce dizziness, nausea, a stuffy sensation in the
chest and general malaise.
caused by damp are sticky, muddy, greasy and stagnant. Damp
causes a generalized heavy feeling associated with distension,
dizziness and a heavy head, general malaise and a stuffy sensation
in the chest. The patient may also complain of abdominal swelling
and an exudative and prolonged skin disease.
consumes yin fluid. There may be a dry sore feeling in the
nose, mouth and throat, a coarseness of the skin, or a cough
with scanty sputum and possibly haemoptysis. Tuberculosis
is an example of the pathogen dryness.
Heat (fire, warmth)
these represent the same pathogen, but at different intensities.
Fire is the most severe and warmth the mildest. As with summer
heat the yin may be damaged and this will affect the level
of consciousness. The main difference is that summer heat
only occurs in the summer and is generally less severe than
fire. Diseases that are caused by heat are generally of abrupt
onset and rapid change. They are nearly always acute infections.
Initially the patient may complain of a high fever, chill,
thirst, restlessness, irritability and profuse sweating. In
severe cases the patient may be in coma with convulsions.
are overjoy, anger, anxiety, overthinking, grief, fear and
fright. Excessive fear and fright, or over-joy, injures the
xin-heart. This causes palpitations, insomnia, irritability,
anxiety and mental abnormality. Excessive anger causes dysfunction
of the gan-liver. This impairs the function of freeing, and
causes pain and distention in the costal and hypochondriac
region, abnormal menstruation, depression and irritability.
If the function of storing blood is disturbed then menorrhagia
and hemorrhage can result. Excessive grief, anxiety and over-thinking
cause dysfunction of the pi-spleen and stomach. This causes
anorexia and a feeling of fullness or distension after meals.
Excessive grief, anxiety and anger cause poor circulation
of qi and blood. If there is retardation of qi and stagnation
of blood then this can cause a tumor.
or eating too much uncooked or cold food, impairs the function
of pi-spleen and stomach and causes nausea, vomiting, heartburn,
sour regurgitation and diarrhea, for example dyspepsia, gastritis
and enteritis. The intake of contaminated food may impair
the function of pi-spleen and stomach, and cause intestinal
infections and various parasitic diseases.
Too little or excessive physical labor
physical labor results in feebleness, emaciation, palpitations
and dizziness. Too little physical exercise causes a poor
circulation, limp muscles, soft bones and obesity. This lowers
the resistance of the body to disease.
are the same as in Western medicine.
blood can cause pain. The painful area is fixed and has a
stabbing, boring or colicky nature. Stagnant blood causes
hemorrhage, ecchymosis or petechia. tagnant blood can cause
a mass. This can be any sort of mass, tumor, splenomegaly
Phlegm and humour
and humour are formed when water metabolism is disordered;
an accumulation of excess water then turns into phlegm or
humour. Phlegm and humour in the lung causes cough, dyspnoca
and excessive sputum. Phlegm and humour in the stomach causes
abdominal distension and a succussion sound. Phlegm covering
the heart orifice causes coma and a rattling sound from the
sputum in the throat, such as in a stroke. Phlegm accumulating
subcutaneously occurs when there is a subcutaneous lymph node.