Lesson 5: Vital Substances

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QiThe vital substances of the body are Essence, Qi, Blood, and Body Fluids. You can see all vital substances, including Qi, which is most often seen in the form of steam or vapor. Some books on Traditional Chinese Medicine list Shen (mental activity or spirit) as a vital substance, most notably Giovanni Macciocia. Many Chinese scholars disagree with this however, as all vital substances are said to be viewable and Shen is not.

Shen is one of the The Treasures in Chinese philosophy and thought. These are the essential energies that sustain human life. The three are Jing (or Essence), Qi, and Shen.


Green RiceIn TCM essence is called “Jin” and is a combination of the character glyphs for “rice” and “green.” Essence is a fluid-like vital substance, the most basic and important of the vital substances to the body. Transformation of all other vital substances relies on essence. [Read more…]


Qi/steam rising from the vapor at Samasati Retreat, Costa RicaThe Chinese character for Qi (which is also spelled out in English as Chi and Ki) is the character for vapor over the character for rice. Rice and vapor represents the process of cooking. [Read more…]



Body Fluids