The Substances that have importance as far as CM fertility is concerned are:
- Yin and Yang
- Qi and Blood
- Body fluids
Jing is sometimes translated as “reproductive essence” and is connected to the constitutional strength passed from parents to offspring; it’s similar to genetics. Jing determines physical and sexual development through life; including egg and sperm development. Jing is stored in the Kidneys and consumed as we age, which partly explains falling ovarian reserves and egg or sperm quality with age.
Accidents, serious illnesses or frantic lifestyles are particularly draining of Jing, as can multiple pregnancies or miscarriages or excessive ejaculation by men. A late puberty or abnormally reduced ovarian reserve often indicates a level of Jing weakness.
Yin is the term for the cooling, moistening, nourishing and substantial aspect of a person’s being. It’s most abundant in youth and (like Jing) reduces as we get older. Yin is replenished with good food and enough sleep. The follicular phase is dominated by Yin and the thickness of the lining of the womb and the quantity of fertile mucus are clear indicators of Yin quantity.
When Yin is low fertile mucus reduces and womb linings tend to be thinner, along with feelings of heat in the afternoon and night.
Yang is the counterpart of Yin in the body; it’s the dynamic, active, warming force that transforms the form of substances. It’s essential for the dynamic activities of ovulation, fertilization and the passage of the egg along the Fallopian tube. One analogy to explain the Yin/Yang relationship is that Yin is the wax of the candle, Yang is the flame of the candle; for the candle to exist both are needed, ideally in relative proportion. The warmer luteal phase is dominated by the Yang and low Yang is shown by feeling cold, putting on weight easily, a lack of motivation and libido.
Qi (chi) is the energy circulating around the body; it’s a form of Yang that drives the metabolic processes and the different organs have their own Qi that performs particular functions. There are two main Qi problems: deficiency and stagnation. Deficiency leads to feelings of weakness and lack of vitality, while stagnation creates feelings of stress, irritability, discomfort and pain.
Blood is a vital substance, created from energy extracted from the diet. Blood nourishes the skin, muscle, tissues and organs and is essential for the growth and development of the follicles and womb lining. Blood also has a connection to the Spirit and a lack of blood leaves people feeling vulnerable and easily unsettled.
The Spirit is concerned with a person’s emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing and is ‘housed’ in the Heart. Because the Heart is involved in regulating the cycle (especially ovulation) if it’s disturbed it can affect fertility. This view mirrors emotional stress disrupting the menstrual cycle via the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis in western medicine.
About 70% of the body is water. It’s possible for body fluids to become thickened or excessive and obstruct the body creating abnormal vaginal discharges, oedema, heaviness and lethargy (see ‘heavy’ type).
It’s also possible for body fluids to be insufficient leading to dryness; which can include levels of fertile mucous.