|A child suffering from stagnant Qi playing with healthy friends|
The principles of TCM state that the human body is a condensed representation of the Universe, and that the interactions between internal forces, known as yin and yang, play a leading role in our overall health and in the development of disease. Every aspect of our physiology, and the many ways in which it can malfunction, can be easily explained using the TCM concepts of fire, earth, wood, metal and water. For example, unbalanced liver fire in the context of excess bile (water) can, in the setting of hypoplastic yin with yang engorgement, lead to autoimmune hepatitis in a 17-year-old female patient.
Zhu explains that taking advantage of the diagnostic precision of this system, and the manipulation of chi, the vital energy force that flows through our bodies performing myriad functions such as regulating the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone hormone system, is what has led to the widespread success of TCM in China, where the average life expectancy is 127 years. "Stagnation of chi has been associated with a variety of health problems both acutely and years down the road. Diagnosing and treating blockages saves lives. It's that simple."