I've spent some time covering the organs from a TCM perspective, to differentiate what they are responsible for in this type of medicine. So far, I've discussed the Yin organs-Kidney, Liver, Spleen, Heart, and Lung. In the world of acupuncture, the organs fall into two separate categories, Yin organs and Yang organs. The Yin organs are solid, and have much more effect on the overall health of the patient. They contain more of the vital energy that is necessary to maintain life. The Yang organs are hollow, and most have the function of holding things, such as food or fluid. Although we do not focus on these organs as much during treatment, it doesn't mean that they lack importance. They have their roles to play as well, and today we will discuss these roles beginning with the organs of excretion: the Large Intestine, Small Intestine, and Bladder. From a physical standpoint, the main jobs of these three organs don't differ much between Chinese medicine and Western medicine. The Small Intestine receives food and fluid from the stomach and separates "the clear from the turbid"-the waste from the vital nutrients. But in our medicine it also affects the urine and the tongue. If there is excess Heat in the Small Intestine, the urine will be painful and burning, and the tongue may develop ulcers. Remember how we talked about each organ having a mental aspect as well? Well, the Small Intestine affects your discrimination and judgement. It helps you to decide what issues are relevant before making a decision.
The Large Intestine, as you know, extracts water from food and excretes the stools. In our medicine, though, it is also linked to the Lung. This might lead to breathlessness if there is a deficiency here. This connection to the Lung also leads to a certain degree of influence on the skin. The mental aspect of the Large Intestine is the ability to let go. If your Large Intestine is out of sorts, you might tend to hold on to people or issues that are better left in the past.
The physical function of the Bladder in TCM is to change the fluid received from the Small Intestine into urine, which is then excreted. For this organ, the mental aspects are far more interesting than the physical. In children, fears, anxieties, and insecurities can cause the qi of the Bladder to sink. This sinking can lead to issues such as bed-wetting and nervous incontinence. In adults, an imbalance of the Bladder can lead to feelings of jealousy and suspicion. It can also cause the person to harbor long-standing grudges. Fascinating, isn't it?