TCM and Organ Pairing (Zang-Fu)
Health is achieved through the combination of many efforts such as eating wholesome food, exercising, drinking plenty of water, and reducing stress. At Ridgecrest Herbals, we formulate products using what we call Eclectic Medicine, the combining of different philosophies of health from Western Herbalism, Ayurvedic Medicine, Nutraceuticals, and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
We can learn so much about the body through the lens of TCM. One of the oldest recorded practices of alternative medicine, TCM includes herbalism, acupuncture, qigong and tai chi exercises, reiki, and more, and is the largest long-term case study on the planet. In TCM, Qi (pronounced Chi) is considered a vital force or energy responsible for controlling the workings of the human mind and body. Qi flows through the body via pathways, called meridians. There is a total of 20 meridians: Twelve primary meridians, which correspond to specific organs, organ systems or functions, and eight secondary meridians. Imbalances in the flow of Qi through these meridians cause illness; correction of this flow restores the body to balance.
Four Key TCM Principles:
- Your body is an integrated whole. Along with your mind, emotions, and spirit, your physical body structures form a miraculously complex, interrelated system that is powered by Qi.
- You are completely connected to nature. Changes in nature are always reflected in your body. TCM factors in the season,
geographical location, time of day, as well as your age, genetics, and the condition of your body when looking at your health issues.
- You were born with a natural self-healing ability. Your body is a microcosm that reflects the macrocosm. Think about it: nature has a regenerative capacity, and so do you. Sometimes, this ability may appear to be lost or difficult to access, but in most cases, it is never completely gone.
- Prevention is the best cure. Do you know your body is continually revealing signs about the state of your health? It’s common to ignore these signs or symptoms until something more complicated arises. TCM teaches you how to interpret what your body is telling you and take proactive measures.
Along with strengthening and balancing the meridians, TCM practitioners also use a theory called Zang-Fu, the art of pairing organs.
Zang (Yin organs) include the liver, heart, spleen, lungs, and kidneys. The pericardium is sometimes considered a sixth yin organ. The function of the Yin organs is to produce, transform, regulate and store fundamental substances such as Qi, blood, and body fluids. In general, yin organs do not have empty cavities.
Fu (Yang organs) which are made up of the gall bladder, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, bladder and triple burner. The triple burner does not have a physical structure and is considered a functional unit, which is translated to essentially regulating Qi, the synovial fluids, and fluid that surrounds the organs, muscles, nerves, and vessels. The yang organs are mainly responsible for digesting food and transmitting nutrients to the body. Usually, yang organs are organs with empty cavities.
These organs perform tasks with Qi in order to bring homeostasis to the individual. Certain organs work closely together, and sometimes the physical manifestation of illness are rooted in a different organ than the one that is showing the signs of disease. Therefore, you can sometimes address the health issues of one organ by cleansing a related organ. This is called Organ Pairing. For example, if you get constant bronchitis or lung issues, it would be wise to do a colon cleanse to not only serve the large intestine but help the lungs as well, whose health is dependent on the balance of the large intestine. 70% of the immune system is in in the gut, so if you eat a lot of refined sugar, carbohydrates, and mucus-forming foods, this causes your immunity to drop. Lowered immunity can result in more sickness and lung impairment. The harmonious relationship between the two organs needs to be restored.