Vital Substances

Traditional Chinese Medicine views the human as being made up of basic substances that continually interact with each other to create the whole being.

Qi (vital energy)

Literally translated as "air", Qi is the vital energy of any living organism and source of all movement and change in the universe. Energy we create from the digestion of food, air and liquids and how we interact with our environment via exercise, meditation, etc. Deficiencies or blocked Qi can result in an inability to transform and transport our food and drink, inability to keep warm or tolerate extreme temperatures, and a lack of resistance to diseases and chronic fatigue.

Xue (blood)

Not only the fluid that circulates in the vascular system as in Western medicine but it also houses the Shen (or spirit) and aids in the development of clear and stable thought processes. Qi and Xue have mutually interdependent functions and Xue follows Qi throughout; the body. Deficiencies in blood typically leads to pale complexion, dry skin and dizziness.

Jing (essence)

Usually translated as "essence" and sometimes referred to as "prenatal Qi". The essential energy of all living organism which is derived both from the energy we inherent from our parents and from the energy we require from our daily lives principally from food and air. It governs growth, reproduction and development, promotes kidney Qi and works with Qi to help protect the body from external factors. Infertility, poor memory and chronic tendency to colds, flu and allergies may also be due to deficient Jing.

Shen (spirit)

Non-physical, mental, emotional aspect of human consciousness that is stored in the Chinese heart. The Chinese heart is not the Western organ in the chest but the spiritual aspect and attitude of the person.

Jin Ye (body fluids)

The functional secretions of the body includes tears, sweat, saliva, milk, mucous, vaginal secretion. Jin are the lighter fluids which moisten and nourish the skin and muscles. Ye are the denser fluids which are processed in the spleen and the stomach to moisten and nourish the internal organs. Deficiency in body fluids can lead to various forms of dehydration such as dry skin and constipation.


The Vital Substances flow through channels or "meridians" in the body. There are 12 main meridians, and a network of other smaller channels branching off from these main channels. Each of these 12 main meridians is connected to one of the twelve organs and travels along its own route within the body. Unlike the Western blood circulatory system, these meridians are not visible to the naked eye. Acupuncture models show these meridians as lines running and occasionally crossing throughout the body. The individual Acupuncture points fall along these meridians. When the vital substances fail to flow smoothly through the meridians, disease occurs. By stimulating one of the Acupuncture points along the meridian, it is possible to release any blockages, thus restoring the body to its natural state.


Health :: Acupuncture

Introduction | History | Acceptance | Theory | Meridians | Clinical Visit




Copyright DateRichard R. Wertz Creative Commons License