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About Oriental Medicine Introduction, The Causes of Disease

About Oriental Medicine

The Causes of Disease

Introduction

Introduction

We are currently in a so-called “health boom”, and we are saturated with all sorts of information about staying healthy. It seems to me that this is because so many people are worried about their health and they feel they need to do something. At the same time, as everything becomes more convenient and faster, we are losing something,

 

which could be described as “pure nature (the true state of things).” When I say nature, I don’t just mean beautiful landscapes, I mean everything from the inner dimension of each person to the whole universe; in other words, the laws of Mother Nature. Oriental medicine, which has a history of more than 3000 years, was developed by observing and understanding natural phenomena, and as such, it is based on the very laws of Mother Nature. Our natural healing power (the natural power within us to repair our bodies) is one of these, and Oriental medicine facilitates this.

Introduction Oriental medicine contains the wisdom to understand why one’s body has lost its natural balance, to determine the cause of this, and to prevent this imbalance from leading to a more serious disease. I am certain that the quickest way to reduce the number of sick people is to encourage people to understand the signals from their bodies accurately. I hope the information in the sections About Oriental Medicine and the Director’s Blog (updated regularly) will help to expand your understanding of Oriental medicine.

We are currently in a so-called “health boom”, and we are saturated with all sorts of information about staying healthy. It seems to me that this is because so many people are worried about their health and they feel they need to do something. At the same time, as everything becomes more convenient and faster, we are losing something, which could be described as “pure nature (the true state of things).” When I say nature, I don’t just mean beautiful landscapes, I mean everything from the inner dimension of each person to the whole universe; in other words, the laws of Mother Nature. Oriental medicine, which has a history of more than 3000 years, was developed by observing and understanding natural phenomena, and as such, it is based on the very laws of Mother Nature. Our natural healing power (the natural power within us to repair our bodies) is one of these, and Oriental medicine facilitates this.

Introduction Oriental medicine contains the wisdom to understand why one’s body has lost its natural balance, to determine the cause of this, and to prevent this imbalance from leading to a more serious disease. I am certain that the quickest way to reduce the number of sick people is to encourage people to understand the signals from their bodies accurately. I hope the information in the sections About Oriental Medicine and the Director’s Blog (updated regularly) will help to expand your understanding of Oriental medicine.

The Causes of Disease

The Causes of Disease

In Oriental medicine, a person is considered ill when the overall harmony within the body has been lost and the “threshold” of the person’s natural healing power has been reached (i.e. the body cannot repair itself and the power is no longer working). Why does disharmony occur? It is considered there are three broad categories of causes.

1-External cause (exists mainly outside the human body) 2-Internal cause (exists within the human body) 3-Cause neither internal nor external

  • 1-External cause (exists mainly outside the human body)
  • 2-Internal cause (exists within the human body)
  • 3-Cause neither internal nor external

They are collectively called the “three causes.” The details of each cause are shown below.

External causes ? Six excesses and pestilential qi

External causes ? Six excesses and pestilential qi

Six excesses

Six excesses

There are six climatic factors that influence the human body: wind, dampness, dryness, fire, summer heat, and cold. When there is an excess or deficiency, or significant loss in resistance to these, they become the six excesses (pathogenic wind, pathogenic dampness, pathogenic dryness, pathogenic fire, pathogenic summer heat, and pathogenic cold). When this happens, these excesses can cause disease. Each person has his or her own constitution. Therefore the effects of the six excesses on each person are different.
For example, a person with a heat pattern (who is sensitive to heat) tends to be more susceptible to pathogenic summer heat and pathogenic fire in summer. If that person suffers a heat disease (such as atopy), these factors can easily make it worse. By contrast, a person with a cold pattern (who is sensitive to cold) tends to be more readily influenced by pathogenic cold in winter. So, it is essential to understand the current constitution of your body in order to protect it. (However, your body’s constitution changes during the course of your life.)


Pestilential qi

Pestilential qi

Pestilential qi (epidemic pathogen) is an external cause and is different from the six excesses. It is a pathogen that causes an epidemic infectious disease, and it enters the human body through the mouth and nose. Cholera, malaria, diphtheria, etc. are caused by pestilential qi.

Internal causes ? Seven emotions

Internal causes ? Seven emotions

The seven emotions are psychological states; namely joy, anger, anxiety, thought, sorrow, fear and fright. When they are in balance, no disease develops. However, when there is a sudden event that has a significant psychological impact, or when a person is psychologically stressed for an extended period, these seven emotions affect the five viscera and six bowels*, thus causing disease. For example, if a person keeps brooding over something, he or she will get a stomachache, or even a hemorrhagic ulcer. You may know this from experience, but it cannot be overemphasized that mind and body are inseparable; they are deeply related to each other.
*Five viscera: Heart, liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys; Six bowels: Gallbladder, stomach, large intestine, small intestine, urinary bladder and triple energizers

Excessive anger damages the liver, excessive joy damages the heart,excessive thought damages the spleen, excessive sorrow damages the lungs, and excessive fear damages the kidneys.

  • Excessive anger damages the liver,
  • excessive joy damages the heart,
  • excessive thought damages the spleen,
  • excessive sorrow damages the lungs,
  • and excessive fear damages the kidneys.

 

n each case, it is the “excessive”element that makes these emotions become the causes of disease.
The reverse is also true: if a person has a bad liver, he or she gets angry easily. The five viscera and six bowels in Oriental medicine are broader than the corresponding organs in Western medicine. For example, when the term “liver” is used in Western medicine, it refers only to the actual physical organ, but in Oriental medicine it refers to its functions as well as the organ itself. This applies to the other organs as well. I will briefly explain about the spleen, which is particularly important as it is in the center of the body. The spleen is often mentioned along with the stomach, and it is considered to be the organ that should be protected most. This is because stomach qi, which is produced in the spleen, is the most fundamental qi of the human body and is the vital force.
The level of stomach qi is closely related to the level of vitality. The stomach is a sac that receives and digests food. The nutrients, essences and body fluids that are produced from digested food are transported throughout the body by the spleen. These two organs assist each other’s functions to make each other complete. I will explain the other organs later in the Director’s Blog.

Cause neither internal nor external ? Food and drink, fatigue, excessive sex, trauma, parasites, toxins, heredity, etc.

Cause neither internal nor external ? Food and drink, fatigue, excessive sex, trauma, parasites, toxins, heredity, etc.

Food and drink

Food and drink

A dietary imbalance or excessive or inadequate consumption of food or drink causes disease. In addition, a flavor predilection (sour, bitter, sweet, pungent and salty flavors) causes imbalance. It is believed that each organ in the human body (a natural entity) has an affinity to a particular flavor (see below) to maintain the balance. However, if taken excessively, it will damage the organ, leading to disharmony in the body. Excessive intake of sweet food damages the spleen, and excessive intake of salty food damages the kidneys. In essence, it is important to take everything in balance.

Liver - Sour   Heart - Bitter   Spleen (stomach) - Sweet    Lungs - Pungent   Kidneys - Salty

Liver - Sour
Heart - Bitter
Spleen (stomach) - Sweet
Lungs - Pungent
Kidneys - Salty

Fatigue:

Fatigue:

Overworking or working in an extreme environment (working in cold or hot and humid conditions for long periods) causes fatigue.

Excessive sex:

Excessive sex:

This primarily damages the kidneys.

Trauma:

Trauma:

This includes open wounds and contusions. It causes various symptoms.

Toxins:

Toxins:

Often further classified as food toxins (such as poisonous mushrooms) or chemical toxins (such as hazardous substances).

Heredity:

Heredity:

Just as characteristics and appearance are hereditary, the body’s constitution often passes from parents to children. In order to prevent the development of a hereditary illness, one should consider why one’s parents have the particular illnesses that they do, and whether there are any problems in relation to their lifestyle.

   

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  • The Causes of Disease
  • Qi and Blood
  • Know Your Body
  • Important Terms in Oriental Medicine
  • Protect Your Body by Yourself
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