by Sandi Martinez
In December of 2012, I successfully completed my Fundamentals of Traditional Chinese Medicine course from RMSAAM! Some of you may remember previous entries in which I was challenged not only in making time to study, but also, the challenge in learning what I was studying. This was not only a comprehensive course, but a fun one – alas, my determination to work through the loneliness of this correspondence course! Once I got past the ‘lonely’ part, I stopped grumbling, and looked for fun and effective ways to study, and absorb the material.
For over 5,000 years, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has observed how human conditions are related to nature. Three vital essences, Jing, Qi, and Shen, are said to be life force components that make up the substance and functions of the body and mind. The vital essences or, three vital treasures, are responsible for carrying out every manifestation of our lives. The balance or imbalance of these directly affects the state of our health.
Jing, is considered DNA, genes, and heredity, in the Western world. It is a substantive essence we are born with; the basic material in each cell. Jing’s substance is composed of blood and fluid.
Qi, (pronounced: chee) is known as vital energy, or life force. When this energy is free-flowing and unrestricted, it reflects as a body full of health. This energy flows through meridians. Qi and blood are closely related. It is said, ‘wherever the qi goes, the blood will follow’. In addition fluids (Saliva, tears, joint fluid, lymph, urine, and central nervous system fluids), are also considered one of the vital essences.
Shen, is the spirit and the psyche of the body. It encompasses our emotional well-being, our thoughts, and beliefs. When qi enters the heart meridian, part of it turns to shen. It helps to guide our survival instincts, allowing us to express love, caring, and compassion; keeping our hearts calm.
A healthy individual will keep all aspects of our being: Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, balanced. Emotions can and do affect the physical body. Our animal friends most certainly are affected in the same way. Extreme anger can adversely affect the liver, causing pain in the rib cage, such as a continuously chained dog, who then constantly barks at passersby. Too much worrying can affect the spleen, (perhaps like a dog that worries about pleasing her human). And finally, too much fear can adversely affect the kidney, such as a cat that is petrified by loud noises, or sudden movements, caused by too many screaming children.
Will I be considering taking the Energy Meridian Pathways course next? You betcha!
References: Four Paws Five Directions, by Cheryl Schwartz, DVM.