The Basics of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

I find it fascinating that in today’s world we have more information about every single aspect of life, yet we seem to know less about how to live.

All the ‘chatter’ on the internet has made us closer in so many ways, yet the complexity of information creates a mystery that it is almost too difficult to understand our own bodies, much less its relationship with energy.

One major paradigm that has integrated energy into our body’s state of health and wellbeing is Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been around for over 3000 years and even in that course of time, it has yet to be fully integrated into Western medicine. Whilst most doctors would have heard of Chinese medicine, the basics of how it works would probably shock most of them.

Fundamentally in TCM energy flows through the meridians in perfect balance unless disturbed by internal or external forces that affect 5 key elements of life.

The five key elements are found in nature which is earth, metal, fire, wood and water. Each element is related to an organ, all of which is captured in a overarching 5 phase chart.

Traditional Chinese practitioners also comprehend that emotions affect your energy and thus how your body functions on a day-to-day basis. In the Chinese system, there are 7 main emotions all of which relate to a particular organ and the 5 phase chart.

Organs create an emotion and they also are affected by an emotion.

Organ Emotion
Heart Joy
Liver Anger
Lungs Worry and Sadness
Spleen Thought
Kidneys Fear and Shock

Some emotions also give rise to other emotions, which can make the understanding of this relationship even trickier.

In order to quell emotional problems, Chinese medicine advocates natural solutions such as certain foods, whereby their flavours can boost certain emotions and reduce overstimulated emotions.

I know this may sound very strange but remember this has been observed over thousands of years. I did say it would shock most western healthcare practitioners, didn’t I?

There are several other theories that comprise the entire Traditional Chinese Medicine system but what is apparent is that the energy system is also divided into a three-component where Jing is mainly related to body energy, Chi is related to Mind energy and Shen to spiritual or soul energy.

Within this context, there are 8 guiding principles to help treat the energy imbalances when we are sick or unwell. These 8 principles relate to four pairs of opposing forces.

The first two guiding principles is Internal vs. External. Internal organs are often affected by an emotional issue, whereas external issues often arise from a foreign bug or invasion from outside the body.

The second set of principles is Hot vs. Cold which can give rise to fevers or chills, depending on the condition.

The third set of principles is Full vs. Empty where full often arises from acute conditions while empty often indicates chronic syndromes or some form of deficiency.

The final set of principles is a synthesis of all other categories and is commonly known as Yin vs Yang.

I find it fascinating that none of this was taught to me in medical school, yet it plays a critical role to how we can keep up our performance at work, prevent illness and even help our recovery from disease.

What was your one most memorable experience with Chinese Medicine?

How do you know you need an ‘Energy Makeover’?

By Martine Negro and Dr Avnesh Ratnanesan

One of the interesting and challenging aspect of understanding your own energy field is that most of us cannot ‘see’ it. In fact most of us cannot taste, hear or smell it.

Most of time however, we can ‘feel’ it or ‘sense’ a problem, though in many cases, we don’t realise that the root cause of the problem is related to our Energy field.

This is common in Western societies as the concept of human energy fields is not widely taught. In Eastern societies however, the concept of a body’s energy as the cause of health problems is pervasive.

I recently spoke to Martine Negro, our Energy Practitioner at the Divinity Wellness Institute with over 30 years experience in diagnosing and treating energy fields, using modalities such as Acupuncture, Reiki and Emotional Freedom Technique.

Here’s what she had to say about “How to Know if you need an Energy Makeover

Q: Martine, how can you tell if there is a problem with your Energy?

A: There are several ways, for example:

  • You have physical symptoms or illnesses that are not responding to conventional treatments or the treatment is taking too long to work. Perhaps you have been taking medication, herbs or supplements for months with little noticeable change or the symptoms return as soon as you stop the treatment.
  • Occasionally, no physical reason can found for your illness, despite extensive tests and medical consultations.
  • You have bouts of feeling physically tired or mentally exhausted for no obvious reason.
  • You become moody, anxious, angry or depressed very easily.
  • You have a history of trauma (physical or psycho-emotional), either a major one (e.g. accident, death of a loved one, miscarriage, abortion, divorce, betrayal, etc.) or multiple minor stresses (long term irritation, financial or relationship frustrations, etc).
  • You are aware that something is not quite right about yourself but you are not sure what is happening
  • You have difficulty moving through a difficult issue, despite your best efforts and counselling from family, friends and professionals.
  • You dislike a habit or phobia and cannot change it
  • You have a destructive addictive pattern that you are unable to control

Q: Is there a way to test yourself to see if your energy is being affected?

A: Sure, focus on the issue or problem that you currently have – can you sense how your body responds? Do you feel any tension or negative change in your emotional state?

Nothing is “trivial”, energetically speaking. Over time, small prolonged stresses can cause as much damage as a major one that happened once!

Our society and “disease care” system rarely encourages people to be aware and listen to the body’s messages. The Western medicine approach is often geared to be more “re-active” rather than “pro-active”.

In order to to be proactive, you need to pay attention to your Mind-Body system.


Q: What typically happens at an ‘Energy Makeover’ consultation with you Martine, or in fact with other similar energy practitioners?

A: During an energetic session, you are invited to tune in into your body and start connecting to your innate inner wisdom which knows exactly the core issue behind the symptom.

As you connect, you will be guided to activate the energy flow through various energetic tools (acupressure, hands on, imagery, deep breathing and so on)

Quantum physics research demonstrates that when you observe something for a period of time…it changes! Observation is a major component of the energetic experience, a highly unique, organic and flowing process simultaneously involving mind, body and energy. As the energy block gets untangled, the brain gets “rewired” in such a way that after one or several sessions, you feel different. You may gain new insights, new perceptions of the situation and also have great new tools to engage yourself actively in your treatment.

So an energetic session is very much a “team-working” exercise between you, the ultimate expert on your body and the practitioner’s expertise in energetics.  We explore and work together to allow the energy to naturally get back into balance, ultimately inviting you to trust your amazing Mind-Body system which is designed to heal.