Foundation Terms

Defining the foundation terms of Chinese medicine helps a newcomer penetrate how Chinese medicine understands and explains the body. Just as nature contains air, sea, and land, the human body is comprised of Shen, Qi (pronounced chee), Moisture, Blood, and Essence. Qi is the animating force that gives us the capacity to move, think, feel, and work. Qi is the dynamic principle that expresses itself through all living processes. Moisture is the liquid medium that protects, nurtures, and lubricates tissue. Blood is the material foundation out of which we create tissue. Whereas Shen (Mind) represents the immaterial expression of our selves, Essence (Jing) represents the body’s reproductive and regenerative substance. There are also body climates: Wind, Dampness, Dryness, Heat, and Cold that affect how we function and feel.