Chinese Organ Physiology

As nature is organized by five primal powers (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water), so the body is divided into five functional systems known as Organ Networks. As an aggregate of organs, tissues, channels, and physiologic functions, each Organ Network is critical for the sustenance of life. Each embodies a distinctive intellectual, emotional, and behavioral style as well as physiological correspondences. As distinct from the Western identification of organs, each Organ Network in Chinese medicine refers to a complete set of functions – physiological and psychological – rather than to a specific and discrete physical structure fixed in an anatomical location. For this reason they are referred to as Organ Networks rather than simply as organs. Each has its own responsibilities (a job to do), a strategy (how to do the job), and a character (a way of being or personality) that reflect the power of each of the five phases. The Liver (Wood) stores the Blood and regulates the even movement of Qi. The Heart (Fire) propels the Blood and is the seat of consciousness. The Spleen (Earth) generates and distributes nourishment. The Lung (Metal) receives and disperses Qi. The Kidney (Water) stores the vital Essence.