Chinese Medicine and the Mind

Chinese medicine does not make absolute distinctions between what we in the West classify as the mind, the activity of the central nervous system, and the physiology of the visceral organs. Within traditional Chinese medical thinking, a person represents a field of Qi, a continuum of dynamic structures, functions, processes, sensory perceptions, and cognitive faculties that range from the gross, substantial, and visible (fluids, blood, flesh, muscles, vessels, sense organs, nerves, and bone) to the subtle, insubstantial, and invisible (sensations, perceptions, feelings, emotions, thoughts, images, and dreams). Each of the five Organ Networks (Kidney, Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lung) govern all internal events and outward expressions. That is to say, how the Qi moves in each of the Organ Networks, and how those Networks interact from moment to moment, are what determine the character of our life experience. Simply stated, mental and physical health are viewed as one integrated function. This article includes many charts showing the Chinese medicine understanding of how the body is linked to the mind.