The Six Fu-Viscera—The Brain

The Miraculous Pivot says, “The Brain is the Sea of the Marrow, extending from the top of the head to the point Fengfu (DU16)”. The Brain, located in the cranial cavity, is composed of Marrow. As early as The Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor, the Brain was recognized as an information center and receiver of stimuli through meridians and the sensory organs. Pathological changes in the senses of vision or hearing are related to the Brain.

TCM physicians of ancient times certainly had an understanding of the physiology and pathology of the Brain as the manager of mental activity, sensation, and motion. The famous Ming dynasty doctor Li Shizhen pointed out, “The Brain is the place where the primordial Spirit is kept”. However, based on the theory of visceral manifestations, Xin  represents the whole of the human will, and commands the entire body, while the Brain supplies and manages information on behalf of Xin.They rely on each other for precise teamwork in a complicated program, using both tangible and intangible communication. This concept may seem abstract and obscure to those unfamiliar with TCM theory, but it must be noted that CWM might not yet have unraveled the mysteries of Brain function. Intangibles exist in both schools of thought, but are more readily accepted in TCM because of the long history of observation and experience of the causative relationship of energy and function.

In the Oriental model, rather than the Western, Brain physiology and pathology are generalized and explained as Xin  physiology and pathology, and are also subdivided among the five Zang-viscera. The Blood system of the five Zang-viscera is governed by Xin , and therefore mental disorders are related to the five Zang-viscera under Xin Gan and Shen are relatively important viscera having Spirit energy fields, and thus relate to mental and emotional health or illness. Disordered Brain syndromes may be differentiated as “Xin  confused by Phlegm,” “disharmony between Xin  and Shen ,” “internal stirring up of Gan -Wind,” and “deficient Shen -Essence.” Treatment for Brain disorders includes “dispelling Heat-evil and Phlegm from Xin  to resuscitate,” “restoring normal coordination between Xin  and Shen ,” “checking the inflamed Gan -Yang and cutting down the endogenous Wind,” and “replenishing the Essence to supplement the Marrow.” As demonstrated by thousands of years of clinical practice and successful outcomes, TCM has a different and valid treatment for Brain syndromes and diseases. It shows very valuable information for research on the Brain. Of course, we still consider the pathogenic the brain directly in the Brain and learn more from new exploration of CWM.

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