The Six Fu Organs
The gall bladder is attached to the liver and stores
bile. There is an ancient saying regarding the close
relationship between the liver and bile, "The remaining
qi of the liver flows to the gall bladder and turns into
the juice of essence (bile)." Bile is continuously excreted
into the intestinal lumen to assist in digestion. The
bitter taste and yellow color of bile are significant
in disease manifestations of bitter taste in the mouth,
vomiting of bile, jaundice, etc. As the liver and the
gall bladder are externally and internally related, the
gall bladder is also involved in the free flow of qi
concerning emotional activities.
Clinically, when some mental disorders or emotional
symptoms such as fear and palpitation, insomnia, dream
disturbed sleep, etc. occur, treatment can be applied
by considering the gall bladder.
Situated below the diaphragm, the stomach's upper outlet
connects with the esophagus, and its lower outlet with
the small intestine. Its main physiological function
is to receive and digest food. The stomach is also
known as the "sea of water and cereal." Food is
digested here, then sent downward to the small intestine,
where the essential substances are transformed and
transported by the spleen to the whole body. The
spleen and the stomach collectively are known as
the "acquired foundation," that is, their proper
nourishment establishes the foundation for a
healthy life. Clinical diagnosis and treatment
place great stress on the strength and weakness
of the stomach and spleen qi. Generally, it is
considered that whatever kind of disease occurs,
if stomach qi is still strong, the prognosis will
be good. It is said, "Stomach qi is the foundation
of the human body. When there is stomach qi,
there is life. When there is no stomach qi
death will follow." Preserving stomach qi is
therefore considered an important principle of treatment.
Normal stomach qi descends. If it fails
to descend, symptoms such as anorexia, fullness,
pain and distension of the upper abdomen,
nausea, vomiting, hiccough, etc. will appear.
The upper end of the small intestine connects
with the stomach, its main function being to receive
partially digested food from the stomach and further
divide it into clear and turbid. The small intestine
transfers the turbid residues to the large intestine.
The spleen transports the clean essential substances to
all parts of the body, and part of the water contained
in food to the urinary bladder. Therefore, if
diseased, the small intestine will not only affect the
function of digestion and absorption, but also lead
to urinary problems.
The upper end of the large intestine is connected
to the small intestine by the ileocecum, and its
lower end connects to the anus. Its main physiological
function is to receive the waste material
send down from the small intestine and, in the process
of transporting it to the anus, absorb a part of its
fluid, and convert it into feces to be excreted from
the body. Dysfunction of the large intestine produces
the symptoms of borborygmus and diarrhea; if the fluid
is further exhausted, the symptoms will be constipation
and so on.
The main function of the urinary bladder is to
store and discharge urine. It has an exterior
and interior relationship with the kidney. Pathologically,
if the urinary bladder has a dysfunction of qi,
dysuria or retention of urine will appear.
If its restrictive function is lost, there may be
excessive urination or incontinence of urine.
Sanjiao: The Body Cavities
Sanjiao (three areas of the body cavity) is
a general term for the three sections of the body
trunk. The upper jiao contains the heart and lung,
the middle jiao contains the spleen and stomach,
and the lower jiao contains the kidney and urinary bladder.
The following are the categories of function
as described by the Lingshu:
The function of the upper jiao is to act like
a fog; the function of the middle jiao is maceration;
the function of the lower jiao is to be an aqueduct.
Thus the heart and lung function is to distribute
qi and body fluid by a spreading and moistening action.
The spleen and stomach must digest, absorb, and
transfer the qi, blood, and body fluid transformed
from the essential substances; a similar process
to that of soaking in water to cause decomposition
and dissolution. The kidney and urinary bladder
function to transport fluids and water.
Pathological problems in any of the three jiao
will effect the organs located there.