How holistic medicine works has inspired me to start this blog. It is a wonderful system of preventing illness and fulfilling our given lifespan.
First, a definition of microcosm (from Wiktionary):
Human nature or the human body as representative of the wider universe; man considered as a miniature counterpart of divine or universal nature.
How Holistic Medicine Works – Oriental Perspective
Particularly in Eastern way of thinking, looking at ourselves as a mini cosmos has two implications:
- Our bodies are completely self-regulating and independent from the external world
- Ironically this microcosm perfectly resembles the macrocosm
The body has its own system in place, but the way it operates is identical to that of the universe!
This is the framework of using Eastern medicine to diagnose a person. Could this be its biggest strength and ALSO its limitation?
Because to reveal the secrets of the microcosm, we must talk about the macrocosm that we resemble.
On top of that shared foundation can we explain all different conditions and illnesses of human body.
There lived a renowned doctor who described this microcosm-macrocosm relationship using numbers and observations from nature.
Named Sun Simiao, he was also an author and Daoist scholar who was born in 581 CE.
He lived to be over 100 years of age and spent the majority of his life living in the “Supreme White Mountain,” studying herbs and writing books on herbal medicine.
In this particular quote that I translated, he is concerned with cultivating the microcosmic human body and harmonizing it with the macrocosm.
Here it is, from “Prescriptions Worth A Thousand Gold” :
天地之內, 以人爲貴 In the universe, human beings are the most precious of all 頭圓象天 Our round heads resemble the heavens 足方象地 Our flat feet resemble the Earth 天有四時, 人有四肢 As the heavens have four seasons, we have four limbs 天有五行, 人有五藏 As the heavens have five phases, we have five organs 天有六極, 人有六府 As the heavens have six ultimates (= directions), we have six bowels ... 天有十二時, 人有十二經脉 As the heavens have 12 hours (in a day), we have 12 energy vessels 天有二十四氣 As the heavens have 24 energies (= solar terms) 人有二十四兪 We have 24 兪 (one of many types of acupuncture locations) 天有三百六十五度 As the heavens have 365 days (in a year) 人有三百六十五骨節 We have 365 joints (in our body) 天有日月 As the heavens have sun and moon 人有眼目 We have two eyes that discern 天有晝夜, 人有寤寐 As the heavens have day and night, we wake and sleep 天有雷電 As the heavens have thunder and lightning 人有喜怒 We have happiness and anger 天有雨露, 人有涕泣 As the heavens have rain and dew, we cry tears 天有陰陽, 人有寒熱 As the heavens have Yin Yang, we feel cold and heat 地有泉水, 人有血脉 As the Earth has spring water flowing, we have blood flowing 地有草木, 人有毛髮 As the Earth has grass and trees, we have hair 地有金石, 人有牙齒 As the Earth has metal and rocks, we have teeth - translation by energidoctor
Some guiding questions:
- What are your thoughts on his correlations?
- How do we practically integrate the “natural laws” into our own bodily realms?
For starters on Eastern medicine, many terms in the quote might sound unfamiliar. The deeper commentary on this quote will be attached to this post soon.
I would appreciate any constructive feedback on this content, as well as suggestions for improving this blog.
Thank you for reading!
eternal student of life