The Organs in Chinese medicine are a reference if you like to the different systems in the body and this applies to their perceived function rather than their physical being, so the Lungs is related to breathing, wheezing, the nose and how lung functions affects the body (plus a few other, possibly unexpected connections). To give you a brief introduction to the organs involved in reproduction and how they’re understood in Chinese medicine:
- In Western medicine an organ is understood by its structure, physical function and cellular properties. So, in the heart, nerves relay electrical impulses; the muscle contracts; heart valves hold the blood within the chambers and blood’s pumped
- In Chinese medicine (CM) physical structure is secondary to a range of functions an organ has, and the symptoms that can be experienced when aspects associated with an organ don’t work properly
- Both Chinese medicine and Western medicine believe blood circulation is controlled by the heart, and this extends throughout the network of blood vessels. In CM the heart is also strongly related to the state of the mind; so insomnia, anxiety, depression or agitation and reasoning are connected to the heart. Speech and sweating problems (a copious cold sweat is seen with a heart attack) are other signs of heart instability
- This diverse sphere of influence for one organ is based on a system of medicine written over 2,000 years ago that interconnects the body and mind, so changes in emotions, environment and body affect each other
- This idea of an energetic influence of the main organs developed into different patterns or syndromes, which reflect different altered states; generally when the organs become too hot, too cold, weak or blocked
- Different combinations of signs and symptoms reveal organ patterns which guide treatment to improve balance and health
In Chinese medicine, the main organs involved in gynaecology are:
An explanation of words like ‘Jing’ is in ‘Chinese medicine – the substances’.
The Kidneys are the most important organ as far as fertility is concerned; they store Jing (a form of constitutional strength) and they’re also the root of Yin and Yang in the body. The strength of a person’s Kidney Jing, Yin and Yang determines their sexual development. Ovarian reserve, sexual development, libido and egg and sperm quality are all essentially Kidney issues.
The Kidneys dominate functions of the lower body; erectile problems, a lack of libido or wet dreams are often (but not always) Kidney issues for men. For women a lack of fertile mucus may be related to the Kidneys.
The importance of the Spleen for fertility is its generation of energy from the diet. After our birth we rely on the digestion for energy; which takes the forms of Qi, Blood, Jing, Yin and Yang. For the health and abundance of these essential substances the Spleen needs to be strong to create them.
The Spleen also has two other functions important for fertility: it controls blood and holds organs in place.
- The Spleen controls blood by ‘holding’ it in blood vessels to stop excessive bleeding. One of the consequences of diabetes is circulatory problems, which shows the link.
- The ‘holding’ function extends to holding organs in place; prolapses and miscarriages are often due to a weakness of the Spleen.
The Liver is where blood is stored, and blood is essential for fertility. It also has the very important function of making Qi move smoothly around the body.
- The Liver ‘stores Blood’; it regulates blood volume during physical exercise or rest (releasing blood when we stand). The Liver also regulates menstrual blood and the thickness of the womb lining is influenced by the blood; scanty periods are usually due to a relative lack of blood.
- The Liver ‘ensures the smooth circulation of Qi’; this is vital for fertility as otherwise Qi stagnates and slows the movement of blood and body fluids causing irregularity to the menstrual cycle.
- The Liver channel passes through the lower abdomen; including the genitals and the ovaries. Obstructed Liver Qi can affect the release of eggs at ovulation and the passage of embryos along the Fallopian tube.
The Heart ‘governs blood’ and ‘controls the blood vessels’ which are essential issues in the menstrual cycle. The Heart is involved in the creation of Blood and has an emotional influence on fertility via the ‘uterus vessel’ (which runs from the Heart to the uterus) and Heart Qi is involved in initiating ovulation. The Heart “houses the Spirit”; shocks or sadness that disrupt a person’s emotional balance can alter the timing of ovulation this way.