Connecting Microcosm (human) and Macrocosm (environment)

Each individuals’ body reflects the interactions of its organs with the environment. This interaction is unique and over time, defines the persons’ constitution.

Constitutional patterns are discussed using Zang-Fu theory— the basis for the Five Phase/Element model of Chinese medicine. Each of the principal organs in this model— i.e., Heart (Fire), Spleen (Earth), Lung (Stone or Metal), Kidney (Water), and Liver (Wood)— are assigned a role in the generation and control of another organ. See the attached figure for additional details about these interactions. The astute observer will note that every organ interacts with every other one, creating a 5-dimensional matrix of relationships.

The outer circle indicates the Sheng or generative relationships. The inner lines, within the circle, indicate the Ke or limiting relationships between specific organ systems.

These formal relationships remind clinicians of Chinese medicine that all organ systems are interconnected and that chronic weakness or imbalances in one system will also affect the other systems. From a modern scientific perspective, we can say that each organ interacts with all  other organs, 24/7.  We should also recognize that the TCM “organs” represent functional networks rather than the familiar anatomic organs we are familiar with from Western science.

The evolution of illness and diseases..

If the generating and the limiting relationships between TCM organ complexes are shifted from optimal and balanced states, illness or disease related pathologies become manifest.  Since this shift is usually gradual, it is usual that current health related issues of concern would have manifested as milder disturbances at an earlier date.

For these reasons, we advise our patients to be as complete as possible in providing the details of their medical history.