A modern view of the human body
We are all accustomed to viewing the human body from the perspective of modern medicine. We have learned what organs are situated where in the body, how the digestive, respiratory and reproductive systems function and how we develop a certain disease or disorder. However, our body is not just about flesh, bones and blood.
The scientific knowledge of the human body is largely based on the studies of cadavers. If we think about it, what can a dead body tell us about a living and breathing body that is imbued with life energy? How can a dead body explain the connection between the mind and the body?
Most of us tend to look at the human body as something purely physical, disregarding Qi energy, energy channels (meridians) and intricate interconnectedness between the mind, body and soul. Modern doctors tend to separate the functions of various organs in the body. They tend to treat each body part separately, as if each organ exists on its own. In a way, their treatment of the human body resembles that of a car mechanic examining a vehicle.
When a person is contracted with a disease, a doctor views the disease as something to be eradicated. The doctor attempts to fix the problem in a manner that is not so different from that of a mechanic trying to repair a broken engine. Thus, they sever a certain part of the body, without realizing how it can affect an energy channel. They inject medicine that could be detrimental to certain organs. They give their patient drugs that could offset the general balance of the system.
It absolutely is not my intention to discredit modern medicine in any way. I am trying to bring your attention to the fact that we may need to change the way we look at the human body. For example, when we have a bodily problem, we tend to focus on that specific part, oblivious to the possibility that the problem could have originated from somewhere else.
Many of us also have a tendency to perceive our bodies as objects. Many of us regard a disease or a disorder as something to be fixed. Many people consume junk food, neglect to take a proper rest, and work themselves to exhaustion, thinking that their doctors will “fix” their bodies when something goes wrong.
The human body is a microcosm of the Universe
As the human body is like a small Universe, it is important to achieve balance between Yin and Yang and among the Five Elements for our health and well-being. In fact, major organs in the human body are associated with the Five Elements. Therefore, we cannot really understand the functions of individual organs without understanding the whole.
The human body does not function alone. It is closely intertwined with the mind and soul. A disorder in the mind or soul could manifests as a physical problem. Conversely, a disorder in the body can have negative effects on the mind and soul. Non-physical elements such as emotions and thoughts can be produced by internal organs. When a person is stricken with a mental disorder, the cause could lie an imbalance at the physical level, according to traditional Eastern medicine.
We tend to regard a disease as an intruder from outside. We consider it as something to fight against and to destroy. However, a disease can be seen as a physical manifestation of an internal imbalance. An internal imbalance is often caused by negative seeds we planted in our minds.
The human body is directly influenced by the mental and emotional state. As long as we do not take care of the root cause, an internal imbalance could continue to manifest in the form of discomfort, a disease, or a physical disorder. If we are inflicted with a disease, we should not treat it merely as a problem to fix. Instead, we can look at it as an indication of something that may need to change from within.
Th five organs of the Five Elements in the human body
Given that the human body is a microcosm of the Universe, we can find the Five Elements inside the human body. Each of the Five Elements has its own Yin aspects and Yang aspects. In our bodies, the Yin aspects of the Five Elements are embodied in five Yin organs, which are the liver, heart, spleen, lungs and kidneys. As for the Yang aspects of the Five Elements, they are embodied in six Yang organs, which are the gall bladder, small intestine, stomach, large intestine, urinary bladder, and San Jiao (or Samcho in Korean).
According to traditional Eastern medicine, the five Yin organs are largely responsible for our bodily functions. Yin organs are situated deeper inside the body, manufacturing, regulating, and conserving vital substances. They are more closely related to the Five Elements and thus more susceptible to the imbalance of a particular element that is assigned to them. Conversely, problems in any of these organs could offset the general imbalance of an element associated with the organ.