traditional Chinese medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine: The Heart

How is your heart? A Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective


In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the heart is seen as the Emperor, the Supreme Controller. Your heart is much more than just a pumping machine. As doctor, Acupuncturist & author Daniel Keown says: “The heart is the centre of our being. It is here that our emotions live, our hormones beat, where we ‘feel’ our life.” According to the ancient Chinese medical text the NeiJing Su Wen, ‘The Heart is the Fire at the centre of our being, from which Spirit radiates.’ And it’s not just Traditional Chinese Medicine that holds the heart in such high regard; for centuries poets & artists have been fascinated by the heart & its role at the centre of our being. Even in everyday language the heart pops up frequently: ‘follow your heart,’ ‘a heavy heart,’ ‘one’s heart misses a beat’, ‘have a heart-to-heart’…

In Western culture the heart tends to takes a backseat as the brain is considered the driver of our lives. We are conditioned to stamp out emotions & rely on logic & reason to guide us. We are encouraged to be less feeling & more thinking. Feelings & emotions are dismissed as fickle, unreliable…’unscientific’.

In actual fact, there’s a plethora of super interesting studies that attest to the profound effect love & emotions have on our physical health. Take a 2012 Harvard study that found that a person’s risk of having a heart attack skyrockets to 21 times its norm in the first day after the death of a beloved friend or family member. Then there are the curious cases of heart transplant recipients experiencing personal changes that parallel the history of their donors… for example, the case in the early 2000s of a Minneapolis heart recipient falling in love at first sight with the sister of the man whose heart was beating inside his chest.

Without HEART we are just machines. Having a warm heart through rich social interaction is essential to nearly every aspect of health & well-being. It is what makes us HUMAN: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.


For more interesting tidbits about Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture, head here.

Clarity Admin

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