The ancient shamanic ‘long life practices’ are lost in the mists of time in Chinese history. In a dangerous and mysterious world, ancient man sought ways to harmonise and survive in his environment. Through observation of the laws of nature, he sought to interpret the will of ‘Di’, the unknowable supreme deity.
Leading the tribes were shamans, often women, experts in herbal medicine, exorcism and spiritualism, who sought contact with the forces of nature-they were the first physicians in Chinese history.
Their healing techniques included physical movement and vocal emission protocols.
Through these sacred dances, they co-ordinated their body movements and breathing with the breaths of creation, removing perverse energies from the body.
According to the opinion of several scholars, these dances were but an anticipation of what is now Qigong, whose fundamental purpose is precisely to bring the body’s Qi back into resonance with the breaths of nature.
Psychoneuroendocrinoimmunology (PNEI) in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine, to which these ancient practices belong, assigns to the Heart the functions that in the West are attributed to the Brain and the Central Nervous System: emotions, consciousness, memory and thought, indicated by the ideogram Shen.
The Heart produces hormones that act directly on the Brain. In practice, the Heart involves the entire organism in the variations of its wide electromagnetic field; it perceives, feels and influences all physiology, starting with the brain.
According to M.T.C., the Brain, the ‘Sea of Midolli’, is formed from Jin-Ye liquids, in particular from Ye, the substances of a Yin nature that feed the tissues.
As these liquids thicken, they form the brain, which will then relate to the whole body.
Brain and marrow are an inseparable pair’.
The bone marrow originates the blood cells that transport nutrients, defence elements, oxygen and waste throughout the body. Thus, the abundance or scarcity of marrow will affect not only the brain and spine, but also the bones. The Bone, like the Marrow, and therefore the Brain is a tissue connected to the Kidney and the original Essential Breaths.
The hard bones contain and protect the soft marrow from which they originate. For Chinese Medicine, the Kidneys store essential energy, the Jing, and govern the bones and thus the bone marrow enclosed therein, the spinal cord and the brain on which memory, concentration, thinking and the functioning of the sense organs depend. From all this, one can deduce the presence of an important relationship between the Kidney and the Brain, stemming from the Jin-Ye liquids, which constitute the substance of the Midolli and the Brain and depend on the Kidney for their transformation and distribution, as well as their very close connection to the Heart.
During the embryonic development phase, the Shen unite with the forming body structures, generating the various Organs (Zang), true psychosomatic entities.
Chinese Medicine postulates a correspondence between the five Organs (Heart, Lung, Liver, Kidney and Spleen) and their Shen, i.e. the specific psychic aspects of life activity, the ‘Vegetative Souls’ of the individual organs. The Liver is the seat of Hun, the Lung of Po, the Spleen-Pancreas of Yi, the Kidney of Zhi, while the Heart is the seat of Shen.
The Heart/Mind, also called the Emperor, as the seat of the Shen proper, stands at the absolute top of the hierarchy between internal organs. It is through the Blood that its messages reach all the cells of the various body districts. The strong emotions or difficulties of everyday life manifest themselves through particular moods, emotions and feelings that characterise the psycho-physical structure of the individual, influencing the functioning of the entire body/mind, of all the Zang/Fu.
For TCM, a balanced and healthy organism is the result of the proper functioning of all organs: there is therefore no concept of organic disease or psychosomatic illness, as psyche and soma always express themselves simultaneously through each other. Five Emotions and Seven Feelings. For M.T.C. there are: (a) external causes of disease: – wind; – cold; – heat; – humidity; – dryness; (b) dietary causes of illness; c) Internal causes of illness: the Five Emotions and the Seven Feelings.
The Five Emotions are a consequence of the structure of the being, of its temperament. They are related to its congenital characteristics, its genotype. Emotions, and especially their manifestations of imbalance, are associated with the organs according to the rhythm of the Five Movements. Connections therefore occur between: Wood (Liver) and Anger; Fire (Heart) and Joy; Earth (Spleen/Pancreas) and Reflection; Metal (Lung) and Sadness; Water (Kidneys) and Fear.
The Seven Feelings, which in addition to the Five Emotions include Worry, which is connected to the Spleen/Lung organs, and Shock, which damages both the Heart and Kidneys, are the fusion of what is inside the individual with what is outside him, the result of the interaction of the genotype (Essence) with the phenotype (Personality). They are the concretisation of the intention, the passage to the act. The reading of both psychic and physical imbalances, according to this view, is therefore set in terms of disharmony of a sector of the Energetic Unity (organ/viscera), in relation to the external reality with which it is in resonance. (continued)