What is TCM?

The ancient practice of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is rooted in the understanding that a problem with the eyes, bones, teeth, ears, stomach—or any other body part—stems from a much deeper energetic issue. If a person were experiencing broken bones, low bone density, or even tooth decay, the practitioner may begin by treating the person’s Kidney. You may say the bones/teeth and the Kidney are two completely different systems with entirely different functions, and from a physical perspective, you’d be right. But when viewed from an energetic perspective, the body takes on a totally different form—it becomes a treasure map of sorts to understand the body’s invisible energetic imbalances.

Everything in the body is connected. Physical symptoms are simply messages from the body that something is energetically off balance. A problem with the bones or teeth cues us in to see that the energetic function of the Kidney is off-balance. Likewise, dry, cracked skin and constipation are the body’s way of notifying us that the Lung and Large Intestine need an energetic boost.

So, once we decipher these messages, how do we help? The first step is a true understanding that the body is an energy being and that everything in the body is connected. Next, we look to see where the body’s energy is lacking. Check the table below to understand some physical symptoms and their energetic counterparts. Then read more about each of the organ systems here.

Physical Symptoms and Energetic Counterparts

Organ System ­­­­Associated Physical & Emotional Symptoms

Liver/Gall Bladder Eye symptoms, tendon problems, lack of flexibility, cold fingers and toes, acid reflux, migraine headaches, stroke and spring allergies

Emotions: stress, irritability and anger

Kidney/Urinary Bladder Bone and teeth issues, ear problems, baldness and peeling/cracking nails

Emotions: fear and panic attacks

Stomach/Spleen Muscle issues, bleeding gums, bad breath and digestive issues Emotions: worry, anxiety and overthinking

Lung/Large Intestine Nose problems, fall allergies, dry, itchy, or cracked skin, dull hair, and constipation

Emotions: sadness, grief and inability to “let go”

Heart/Small Intestine Tongue issues, pale or red complexion, difficulty sleeping and excess perspiration

Emotions: stress, lack of self-expression and creativity