The Seven Internal Causes
There are seven emotions that are internal causes for disharmony. Emotions cause illness when they are not balanced. Too much anger is as unbalanced as too much joy, but each will manifest different physical symptoms. The seven emotions are as follows.
Sadness decreases the flow of qi in the lungs and heart, and is associated with depression, fatigue, amenorrhea, shortness of breath, asthma, allergies, cold and flu.
Grief is similar to sadness, and injures the lungs, decreases immunity to colds and flu, as well as chronic upper respiratory diseases such as emphysema, allergies, and asthma.
Pensiveness, or over-engaging the mind in activities such as worry, thought, or study can deplete spleen qi, and may result in edema, digestive disorders, low appetite, and fatigue.
Fear, or paranoia causes qi to descend, resulting in potential harm to the kidneys, lower back, or joints when this emotion is ever present.
Fright, or shock is unlike fear in the sense that the onset is very sudden, causing one's qi to diverge. The rapid change in flow first affects the heart in symptoms such as breathlessness and palpitations, then moves to the lower body in a similar fashion to fear, damaging the kidneys, lower back, and joints.
Anger encompasses all the negative emotions of rage, irritability, frustration, and resentment, and causes the qi to rise inappropriately. Anger is associated with headaches, mental confusion, dizziness, and hypertension.
Joy in Chinese Medicine refers to excess, or overabundance, and relates to illness relative to overindulgence. Damage to the heart may result, and the conditions of hysteria, muddled thought, and insomnia may arise.
Miscellaneous Causes of Disease
There are several other factors that can contribute to disharmony.
Constitutional Factors—This pertains to a person's genetic makeup, both physical and energetic.
Exercise—The right amount and kind of exercise is important in maintaining health. Qi Gong is a recommended form of exercise.
Diet—This factor cannot be overemphasized. A balanced diet is very important and required to maintain health.
Health is maintained when interactions between Vital Substances, Zang Fu Organs, and Meridians are in harmony and all bodily functions are working well. If interactions are disrupted or a dysfunction occurs, imbalance occurs and disease results.
There are many different causes of imbalance. Zang Fu Organs, Vital Substances, Meridians, and Yin and Yang may be deficient or excessive. Vital Substances may flow too freely or be stagnant or blocked. Qi may flow in the wrong direction. Blood may flow outside its normal pathways. Factors such as poor diet, trauma, improper rest and work, and too much sexual activity can contribute to imbalance. Emotional factors contribute to disharmony as well.
Pattern of Disharmony
When a disorder exists, a Pattern of Disharmony has occurred in the body. There are numerous Patterns of Disharmony. They are named according to the Organs, Meridians, or Substances affected or what Pathogenic Factor is involved. These terms characterize the Chinese medicine understanding of the disease process. A few examples are:
Heart Blood Deficiency means that the Blood is deficient and is not nourishing the Heart and its associated structures.
Wind-cold Attack reveals that the external Pathogenic Factor of Wind and Cold are attacking the body and causing Disharmony.
Liver Yang Rising indicates that there is a Yin-Yang imbalance in the Liver. The Liver Yin is insufficient to balance the Liver Yang.