In Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, TCVM, where acupuncture is a treatment modality, each constitution has a primary organ and secondary organ. These constitutions are described in the March 10, 2014 blog. Usually if a health imbalance occurs in an animal, the primary constitutional organ system demonstrates the first sign of the health imbalance. By knowing the constitution of your horse, you can anticipate and watch for disease processes in the specific constitutional linked organ system and related body structures.
In addition to the relationship of organ systems to constitutions, the constitutions have a relationship with each other. Knowing the relationship between the constitutions, one can anticipate what disease process can develop secondarily to the initial health issue. We will discuss the constitutional relationships through the basis in traditional Chinese family culture. As the system was developed thousands of years ago, the Chinese used what was common at that time. In the family the mother nurtured the child, but the grandmother disciplined or controlled the child. If we view the five constitutions: wood, fire, earth, metal and water in a circular manner, we can see the mother-child (nurturing) or grandmother-child (discipline) relationships develop.
To begin we will start with Wood, the element of spring, which is the mother of Fire and grandmother of Earth. Progressing around the circle of seasons Fire, the element of summer, is the mother of Earth and the grandmother of Metal. Earth, the element of late summer or harvest, is the mother of Metal and grandmother of Water. Farther around the circle, Metal is the element of fall which is the mother of Water and grandmother of Wood. Last in the relationship is Water, the element of winter, which is the mother of Wood and grandmother of Fire.
To illustrate this relationship lets discuss how the physical components of the elements nourish or control the following element and its corresponding organ system. Wood is burned producing and nourishing a fire but wood is used to shape or control the earth. Fire or the sun, warms the earth making it yield its produce while metal is heated, melted, and shaped due to fire. The earth produces metal by yielding the ore from the earth while earth can be used to build a dam to control water and its movement. Metal nourishes water by using tools to discover and collect it and controls wood by chopping with an axe or blade. Thus the mother or nourishing relationship and the grandmother or disciplinarian/controlling relationship is demonstrated.
As previously illustrated with the physical relationships of the elements, this idea can be discussed in relation to the organ systems. Liver, the organ of wood, nourishes Fire’s organ the heart and controls the Earth’s organ the spleen or pancreas. The Heart nourishes the spleen while controlling Metal’s organ the lung. As the spleen nourishes the lung, it is controlling the Water organ, the kidney. The lung nourishes the kidney while it controls the liver. Since we have progressed around the circle the kidney nourishes the liver and controls the heart.
If the system gets out of balance with either an excess or deficiency of a particular organ, the imbalance will influence the function of the organ it is supposed to nourish or control. Thus the interrelationships of the organ systems demonstrate pathological problems that develop with each other. For example, a hyperactive stressed liver will lead to loss of appetite, diarrhea, or vomiting. This is the controlling effect of the liver over the spleen or pancreas. In a similar relationships kidney or renal issues will cause problems with heart function.