How Holistic Medicine Works: As Above, So Below

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:

  1. Our bodies are completely self-regulating and independent from the external world
  2. 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.

How holistic medicine works - Sun Simiao believed that competent doctors are intimately aware of the microcosm and connected to the macrocosm

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

Our round heads resemble the heavens 

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

As the heavens have 24 energies (= solar terms)

We have 24 兪 (one of many types of acupuncture locations)

As the heavens have 365 days (in a year)

We have 365 joints (in our body)

As the heavens have sun and moon

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

As the heavens have thunder and lightning

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:

  1. What are your thoughts on his correlations?
  2. 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

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