Emotions according to Chinese medicine

But, as always in Chinese medicine, when a balance is broken it leaves the door open for the disease. When an emotion becomes too intense, even oppressive, it can hurt organs and cause illness. The imbalance will be more or less accentuated depending on the intensity, duration or repetition of the emotion.

We will first see how emotions are usually presented in Chinese medicine in the West, their relationship with organs and the theory of 5 elements. Then we will see that finally the relation organs / emotions is more complex than what is generally evoked.

1) Emotions as they are usually presented

A) The 7 emotions

The classics of Chinese medicine present seven emotions that are usually:

  • Joy (xǐ; 喜)
  • Anger (nù; 怒)
  • Anxiety (yōu; 忧)
  • The worries (sī; 思)
  • Sadness (bēi; 悲)
  • The fear (kǒng; 恐)
  • The fear (jīng; 惊)

I said “usually”, we’ll see later why.

B) Connecting each of the 7 emotions with a Yin organ

The first part of Huang Di Nei Jing, Su Wen, says that the 5 Yin organs of the human body produce five kinds of energies. It is 5 energies (emotions) are therefore in relation with these organs. Subsequently the classics present 7 emotions (the most felt) which are always associated with the 5 organs Yin (Zang).

  • Joy is associated with the heart
  • Anger is associated with the liver
  • Anxiety is associated with the lung
  • The worries are associated with the spleen
  • Sadness is associated with the lung
  • Fear is associated with the kidneys
  • Fear is associated with the kidneys *

* Note: Fear affects the heart first because it is unexpected but if it persists, the fear becomes an extreme fear that will affect the kidneys.

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