Five Organs That Control Mental Health in Traditional Chinese Medicine ( TCM )
When it comes to mental health, the most important organ – the Emperor of emotions would be the Heart. Heart is referred to as the “Residence of the Shen”, Shen meaning “Mind”. It indicates the activity of thinking, self-consciousness, self-identity, memories and various parts of our psyche. The Mind (Heart) can “feel” emotions, so ultimately the Heart is affected, sometimes alongside with other organs. As emotions cause some “Heat”, (think heated argument), the tip of the tongue turns red when the Heart is affected.
The next most important organ is the Liver. It is the “Residence of the Hun” or ethereal soul which is closely related to the Heart and is another level of consciousness, it is different from the Mind but closely related to it. It’s more responsible for the “movement” of our mind like in the form of ideas, dreams and inspiration. The ethereal soul is connected to the Liver and is responsible for sound sleep and dreaming. If the Liver is not functioning properly (Liver Qi stagnation, Liver Blood or Liver Yin deficiency), we will have too many dreams or nightmares. When Liver Qi is not smooth, the “coming-and-going” flow of the Mind will be disrupted, causing symptoms such as anger, stress, depression and not in touch with emotions.
The Lung is the “Residence of Po” or corporeal soul. It is related to weeping and crying in times of physical pain (Lung is related to the skin), and crying when sad. Excessive grief and sadness can “block” the corporeal soul and cause Lung Qi to get stuck. Imagine the Heart as the Emperor and Lung as the Prime Minister. Lung is in charge of the administrative functions to regulate all physiological activities in every organ and every part of the body, just like how Prime Minister’s office controls all governmental administration. Lung governs the Qi, controls all blood vessel and breathing. Unlike the Liver, weak Lungs tend to cause problems during the daytime. It can also manifest as coughing, shortness of breath, skin problems such as eczema, atopic dermatitis, constipation.
What’s the relationship between Lung and constipation?! you might ask. Lung’s partner organ is the Large Intestine and the anus is also called “Door of Po”. My father specialises in respiratory illness (IIPs to be exact, where the lungs become like honeycombs) and constipation is a common symptom in many of his patients. I find this really interesting.
The Spleen is the “Residence of Yi”, meaning “idea” or “intellect” The Yi is inside the Spleen and is responsible for thinking, studying, focusing, concentration, basically your creative – juice bank. If the Spleen is weak, the Yi will become dull and slow. Remember the Mind (Heart)? Relationship between organs is not exactly exclusive and bound to have some overlaps. Someone can be super smart (strong Spleen Yi) but very forgetful (weak Heart Mind). Things can also go the other way, where if you overthink too much, the Spleen will become weaker. This will show up as digestive problems such as bloating, indigestion, diarrhoea, constipation, acid reflux.
The Kidney is the “Residence of the Zhi,” which roughly translates to “will-power” or “memory”. Memory is like our data bank for storing data with unlimited GB and it can store for a long time. As you get older, the Kidney weakens and that’s why grandparents become forgetful. Whereas will-power gives us determination, pursuit of goal and positive-vibes! If the Kidney is weak, you will lack the drive and initiative which is also an underlying cause of chronic depression. Kidney is also associated with Fear. Thinking about it, lack of will power does bring upon fear. Source KanpoBliss