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TCM Theory – Illness Differentiation (Part 2)

TCM Theory – Illness Differentiation (Part 2)

Qi-Xue pattern identification

The state of harmony and normal functioning of all the Zang-fu and tissues is dependent on the flow of Qi and Xue throughout the body. In TCM theory however, mutual support is a fundamental concept as in this case the production and movement of Qi and Xue is dependent on the functioning of the bowels and viscera. This understanding explains how disease in a given Zang-fu may give rise to disorders of Qi and Xue of that organ and may also affect the Qi and Xue of the whole body.

The Qi and Xue patterns are:

  • Qi deficiency (usually of the spleen, lung, kidney)
  • Qi sinking (if Qi is Xu it can sink; prolapse caused by spleen Xu)
  • Qi stagnation (mostly liver Qi)
  • Qi rebellious (Qi can flow in wrong direction)

Xue is governed by the heart, stored by the liver, and produced and managed by the spleen.

  • Xue deficiency (usually from spleen Qi Xu)
  • Xue stagnation (may be caused by Qi stasis, mostly of the liver, by heat, or by cold)
  • Xue heat (mostly due to liver heat)
  • Xue loss (not normally added but is another important factor)

The Qi and Xue relationship is the most fundamental of the mutual support systems apart from the root level of Yin and Yang. In order to apply this system in a diagnostic way it is vital to understand how Qi and Xue support each other. Qi generates Xue, food-Qi is the basis for Xue, and also lung Qi is essential for the production of Xue. Therefore if Qi is Xu, Xue will also eventually become Xu. Qi moves Xue, Qi is the motive force for Xue, when Qi moves Xue follows, if Qi stagnates, Xue congeals. Qi holds Xue, Qi has the function of holding Xue in the blood vessels. Xue nourishes Qi, Qi relies on the nourishment of Xue.


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T J Kaptchuk Chinese Medicine – The Web Has No Weaver, 1989, Rider, London