TCM Theory: Concept of Blood, Body Fluid and Qi



    * The Concept of Blood
    * Body Fluids
    * Conection between Qi, Blood and Body Fluids
    * Disscussion of difficult points

1. The Concept of Blood
Blood is a thick red liquid circulating in the Blood vessels. It has a strong nourishing effect on the human body and serves as one of the basic substances constituting the human body. The vessels through which Blood circulates are also named the House of Blood. Under normal conditions, Blood circulates in the vessels so that it can reach each part of the body and produce its nourishing effect. In the case of extravasation of Blood, the Blood will fail to nourish the body; thus it is called extravasated Blood or dead Blood.

Although Blood in appearance is similar in TCM and Western medicine, it cannot be regarded in the same manner. In TCM, Blood is a Yin substance, so it depends on Qi to be generated and distributed. And Blood Deficiency is not equal to anemia. In most cases in TCM, anemia should be diagnosed as Deficiency of both Qi and Blood.

1-1. Formation of Blood
Blood is mainly composed of Nutritive Qi and Body Fluids, which come from the refined food transformed and transported by the Spleen and Stomach. So the Spleen and Stomach are also known as "the source of Qi and Blood", and the quality of the nutrients taken in, as well as the functional states of the Spleen and Stomach, influence directly the formation of Blood. The Essence stored in the Kidney can also be transformed into Blood by two methods. First, Kidney Essence and Liver Blood can be transformed into each other so that the Blood of the whole body is supplemented. Second, Kidney Essence supplies bones with marrow, which not only nourishes the bones but also generates Blood

1-2. Function of Blood
The main function of Blood is to nourish the whole body. Blood circulates ceaselessly through the vessels, by which it is carried to Zangfu Organs internally and to the skin, muscles, tendons and bones externally, to both nourish and moisten. Compared with Qi, Blood is a Yin substance which functions to support the body physique. Therefore, it serves as a Nutritive substance of the body. When the Blood is sufficient, there is a rosy and bright face, strong and well-developed muscles, and lustrous skin and hair. On the other hand, Deficiency of Blood will lead to withered hair and skin, atrophy and convulsion of tendons, thin muscles and weak Zangfu Organs.

Blood is also regarded as the material basis for mental activities, which are controlled by the Heart. As the Heart is in charge of Blood and vessels, the mental activities controlled by the Heart mainly take Heart Blood for their material basis. For this reason, sufficient Blood often exhibits as full vigor, perfect consciousness, keen perception, etc., while Deficiency of Blood usually leads to listlessness, insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep, dysphoria, or even vagueness of the Mind and other mental disorders.

1-3. Circulatiou of Blood
Blood, pertaining to Yin, is motionless in nature. It depends on Qi for its movement. But the circulation of Blood also requires the controlling of Qi in order to avoid extravasation. Therefore, coordination between the pushing action and controlling action of Qi maintains the normal flow of Blood. When the pushing action is excessive or the controlling action is too weak, the flow of Blood will be accelerated, or even will cause bleeding. Conversely, when Qi fails to propel or the controlling action of Qi is too excessive, the flow of Blood will become sluggish, or even develop into Blood Stasis. The circulation of Biood is related to the functional activities of all Five Zang Organs. The Heart controls the Blood of the whole body both by beating to give impetus to the Blood flow and by linking up the vessels. The Lung, which has the function of controlling Qi, helps the Heart to propel the Blood flow. In other words. the descending effect of the Lung can help send down Blood and the dispersing effect of the Lung can assist the outward flow of Blood. The Liver can maintain the free flow of Qi, so it also acts as one of the forces for the circulation of Blood. As for the control of the Blood flow, Spleen Qi and the Liver's Blood storage play an important role. Therefore, when Spleen Qi is deficient, bleeding will ensue as a result, while when the Liver fails to store Blood and regulate the distribution of Blood, bleeding will also occur.

The Cold and Heat of Blood also influence its circulation. Free flow of Blood depends on a certain temperature. Blood Heat, for example, may cause bleeding because the Heat will speed up the Blood flow, or cause Blood Stasis because the Heat may consume Body Fluids of the Blood and give rise to increased viscosity of Blood. Blood Cold, as a result of the contracting nature of Cold, will also impede the flow of Blood, causing Blood Stasis.

2. Body Fluids
Body Fluids is a general term for all the normal fluids of the human body, including the fluid existing in Zangfu Organs and tissues and the secretions and excretion of the human body. Like Qi and Blood, Body Fluids are also essential substances constituting the human body.

2-1. Formtlon, distributlou and discharge of Body Fluids
This is a rather complicated process involving the functional activities of a number of Zangfu Organs. Body Fluids are derived from the food and water taken in; their formation relies on the absorption of the water and nutrients of the food through the actions of the Stomach, the Small intestine and the Large intestine. To be exact, the Stomach absorbs part of the nutrients from food through its primary digesting action; the Small intestine separates nutrients from wastes to absorb the majority of the nutrients and fluid, and the large intestine absorbs the surplus of the food residues to form feces. The fluid absorbed by the Stomach, the Small intestine and the Large intestine is then sent to the Spleen to be distributed to the whole body. The distribution of Body Fluids depends on the action of tbe Lung, the Spleen and the Kidney and the San Jiao is necessary as the passageway. In other words, the Spleen can send Body Fluids up to the Lung so that they can be further distributed to other parts of the body. Besides, the Spleen can also distribute Body Fluids directly to other parts of the body. Therefore, the Spleen plays a very important role in the distribution of Body Fluids, and failure of the Spleen in transformation and transportation is considered the most important reason behind the occurrence of Phlegm, water retention and edema.

The Lung has the effect of regulating the metabolism of Body Fluids. Through its dispersing effect, Body Fluids can be sent to moisten the skin and muscles and be transformed into sweat to be discharged while through its descending effect, Body Fluids can be sent down to the Bladder and other parts of the lower body. Disturbance of the Lung's dispersing and descending action will certainly cause disturbance of the distribution and discharge of Body Fluids, giving rise to Phlegm, edema, or urine disorders. The Kidney exerts its influence on Body Fluids in two ways: first, its Yang Qi warms up Yang Qi of the whole body to promote the distribution and discharge of Body Fluids; secondly, it controls the formation and discharge of urine is the most important means of discharging Body Fluids. In brief, the formation of Body Fluids mainly depends on the transformation and transportation of the Spleen and Stomach; their distribution depends on the Spleen and the Lung, and their discharge depends on the Lung and the Kidney.

2-2. Functions of Body Fluids
As liquid substances, Body Fluids function to moisten and nourish the human body. Compared with Blood, the nourishing effect of Body Fluids is not so strong. To be exact, when distributed in the body surface, they moisten the muscles, skin and hair; when permeating through the body orifices, they moisten and protect the nose, eyes, ears and mouth when infiltrating the vessels, they nourishes and smooth the vessels as the basic component of Blood when pouring into the internal organs, they nourish and moisten them; and when seeping into the joint cavities, marrow cavity and skull, they lubricate the joints, nourish and moisten the bone marrrow, spinal cord and the brain. When Body Fluids are deficient, these areas or organs will become dry or withered.


  1. Introduction

  2. Mechnism of Yin Yang Operation

  3. Pathogenic Factors

  4. Concept of Qi

  5. Concept of Blood, Body Fluid and Qi

  6. Mechnism of Chinese Massage

  7. Visceral Symptom

  8. Inner Canon of Yellow Emperor

  9. Acupuncture Treatment Principle

  10. Five Element Theory

  11. Channels and Meridians

  12. Acupuncture Doctors and Works

  13. Origin of Acupuncture