15 JUL 2020
Understanding Virus in TCM
Throughout thousands of years of history, Chinese Medicine has witnessed many epidemics and defeated them. There is much historical evidence verifying TCM’s efficacy in conquering various viral epidemics. In fact, the theory behind the prevention of viral infection is very simple. “The Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Medicine” is a classical medical text which provides a good foundation of the theory and knowledge in TCM; the following sentence from the text entails the key in disease prevention.
The Good(正/Zheng) and Evil(邪/Xie) Qi
正气存内，邪不可干；邪之所凑，其气必虚。 “With sufficient Healthful-Qi within the body, pathogenic factors cannot be invaded; the region where pathogenic factors invade must be a sign of deficiency in Healthful-Qi.”
At the base of it all, TCM theory is hardly complicated because it often utilizes simple and objective comparisons to simplify the complexities as seen in the human body. The oppositional-comparison such as yin-yang, fire-water, and cold-heat are examples of how TCM theory can be understood in more simplistic terms. Similarly, the above abstract from “The Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Medicine”, can be simply understood as the constant fight between evil (邪/Xie) and good (正/Zheng) qi.
If Xie Qi is pathogenic then Zheng Qi is healthful; if Xie Qi causes disease then Zheng Qi cures disease; if Xie Qi is a pathogenic factor then Zheng Qi is the inherent health & deterrence.
What is Xie Qi (pathogenic factors)? Is that a virus?
Basically, Xie Qi represents undesirable factors that make us fall sick. It can be created internally or externally. When the external environmental or weather changes erratically, they produce a special kind of Xie Qi name “Li Qi” which acts as an exogenous infectious agent that is strongly pathogenic and contagious. Li Qi has an acute onset and may cause serious conditions. It spreads quickly and is similar in nature to influenza. It also possesses certain uniqueness and has many symptoms of influenza.
What is Zheng Qi(Healthful Qi)? Is it the immune system?
Zheng Qi is the positive energy that holds the deciding factor on one’s health. With sufficient Zheng Qi, the yin-yang is balanced, the various functions are working well, and the organs and meridian systems are running smoothly. The body thus has a stronger immunity to deter external pathogens. Without sufficient Zheng Qi, the body function diminishes to give Xie Qi a chance to gain a foothold; this leads to disease and difficult recovery. Zheng Qi is the energy that maintains body wellness and it encompasses more than just the immunity in itself.
How does TCM help me stay away from viruses?
Besides wearing a mask, washing your hands, and maintaining social distancing, we need to make sure our overall health is maintained at its optimum level so that the virus cannot invade into our body.
The viral transmission coefficient may also be viewed as the outcome of the war between the virus and the body’s deterrence. If we just focus on the virus itself, are we forgetting about our bodies? Our body is our own weapon in this fight!
If we take care of our inner workings and work towards total health, we will have a huge fighting chance and will not need to be so afraid of external negative influences.
“With sufficient Healthful-Qi within the body, pathogenic factors cannot be invaded; the region where pathogenic factors invade must be a sign of deficiency in Healthful-Qi.”
Let us help you identify the imbalance within you, if any, and whether your body’s Healthful-Qi is sufficient to help you ride out this pandemic. We support and care about your wellness.
Authored by Physician PEH 白医师