Zang-Fu Theory

The traditional Chinese medicine understands the whole human body as a complex and states that all organs and diseases are interconnected. Qi, Yin-Yang, Five Elements and Zang-Fu are the theories explaining how the organs in the body are connected with our emotions and our health.

In the human body there are zang organs and fu organs.  They are understood not just as simply anatomical substances but they are believed to represent the generalization of physiology and pathology of particular systems of human body. Thus the zang-fu theory is used to explain the pathological changes, physiological function, and connections of every zang and fu organ. They are considered to be the core of the human body a so called entity where organs are connected by means of blood vessels and channels. Traditional Chinese medicine claims this concept to be applied to physiology, pathology, diagnosis, and treatment.

There are five zang organs: lungs, liver, heart, kidney and spleen. Among fu organs are: large intestine, small intestine, gall bladder, stomach, sanjiao and urinary bladder. Each of them has their own characteristics and functions.

Zang organs are responsible for qi and blood while fu organs for digesting food, absorbing substances and transmitting wastes. 

The literal translation of qi is air or breath but it is interpreted as energy flow or as life energy. It is the main principle not only of traditional Chinese medicine but also of martial arts. It can be also found in other cultures in Tibetian Buddhism or in Hawaiian culture for example.  According to Traditional Chinese medicine qi circulates in the body through the cannels which are called meridians and illnesses occur because of blocked qi movement through them. There are different techniques in order to improve qi flow, among them are food therapy, herbology, moxibustion, acupuncture and martial arts or other physical activities which are always essential. 

As the organs in human body are connected so are the theories in traditional Chinese medicine. Each zang-fu organ corresponds to yin yang, thus zang corresponds to yin and fu to yang. This happens as well with the theory of Five Elements. It may be called Five Phases, Five Steps, Five Movements or Wu Xing. No matter what the name is the theory is based on five elements and they are fire, wood, earth, metal and water. The thing is that each element in the chain acts upon each.

Their correspondence between zang-fu and Five Elements are estimated as:

Heart and Small Intestine – Fire

Liver and Gall Bladder - Wood

Spleen and Stomach – the Earth

Kidney and Bladder – Water

Lung and Large Intestine – Metal

The traditional Chinese medicine is all about balance in the human body, the most important one is the balance between your emotions and health.