Golden Light Herbs
Chinese Herbal Products

The Five Causes of Illnesses

Skip Navigation Links
Home
Info
Chinese/English DictionariesExpand Chinese/English Dictionaries

The Five Causes of Illnesses

    QiGong is just another way to look at life. It is seldom at odds with other philosophies, but, it does often have it’s own unique ways of addressing things. At its core is the concept of Qi- the energy of life. Without an understanding of Qi, QiGong won’t make any sense. The same goes for Yin and Yang. Yin, Yang and Qi are not unique to QiGong, however, they are generally foreign to most western ideas of the human body. As you will see, some of what Emei Ling Ji QiGong (and Chinese Medicine) views as causes of illness can be directly related to what you probably already know about human health. Emei Ling Ji QiGong takes things a bit farther, though, with what it knows to affect health. All of the 5 causes are related in that they are all Qi affecting the health.

    First, there are External Influences. The 6 Qi’s from earth are: Wind, heat, damp, dry, cold and fire. They describe the various atmospheric conditions that continuously affect our bodies. The intensity of each influence varies throughout the day, month, year and from year to year.

    You were probably told when you were young not to play outside in the rain or you would get sick. That’s simply an example of the Cold and Damp External Influences invading the body and causing an illness.

    If Wind enters the body, Qi will flow erratically. It will stagnate Qi in one place and then quickly move to another. Maybe you will have shoulder pain today and your knees will hurt tomorrow. Tremor and convulsion are also symptoms of Wind in the body.

    If Heat or more properly named, Summer-Heat, enters the body, you may find a high fever and profuse perspiration. Heat opens the pores of the skin allowing Qi and body fluids to escape. Qi becomes deficient and body fluids and Yin are damaged. Summer-Heat usually occurs along with Dampness.

    If Dampness enters the body, you may feel sluggish- your arms and legs feeling heavy, or you may accumulate fluids, develop edema or skin eruptions. Dampness is heavy and tends to settle downward to the lower portions of the body.

    If Dryness enters the body, you may experience dry, cracked skin, nose and mouth. If it settles in your lungs, you may develop a dry, non-productive cough.

    If Coldness enters the body there is often an aversion to cold and the body, in part or the whole, may feel cold to the touch. You may also have chills and a mild fever with little or no sweating. Cold causes constriction of the Qi. Cold at the surface tends to close the pores of the skin. Deeper inside the body, Cold may cause cramping.

    Invasion by Fire produces symptoms similar to Heat. Fire differs from heat in that heat can produce dampness whereas Fire can produce dryness. If Fire enters the body symptoms of heat and, most likely, dryness will be present. Fire tends to affect the upper portions of the body and damages Qi and fluids. Fire also promotes Wind in the body as well as nosebleed, localized redness and swelling and sores. Fire may also cause insomnia, restlessness and delirium because of its effect on the heart and shen (spirit).

    Each of these External Influences has it’s own effect. However, one influence rarely exists without one or more other influences tagging along. For instance, when cold enters, dampness and wind often enter as well. This may well manifest some symptoms from each of the individual influences. Cold might produce shivering with an aversion to cold. Dampness may be indicated by the presence of mucus. Wind may produce aching all over the body. In addition, after any of the External Influences invade the body, they will sometimes change their nature. For example, cold may turn into heat after remaining in the body for a while.

    All of the 6 Qi’s exist in nature. We cycle through them yearly (as well as them daily, weekly and monthly.) If a person is already weak, these seasonal changes may invade and cause illness. If a person is strong, that person is better able to adjust to these normal seasonal changes and no problems occur. This is the normal response of a healthy immune system.

    However, these seasonal changes can occur at times other than normal. When they do, we see cold spells in summer or hot spells in winter or spring beginning earlier or later than normal. These things can surprise the immune system and thus cause illness.

    Second are the Psychological Influences. Lately, stress has become recognized as a factor in so many types of illness. QiGong has long recognized this to be the case. It goes so far as to define a relationship between the types of stress and the organs that it affects. All of the stress is related to the 7 Emotions. They are: Anger, Happiness, Worry, Sadness, Fear, Over-Thinking and Shock. The stress results from your emotional response to situations and conditions. When things don’t go right, you may get angry or frustrated or you may worry about the problem or over-think it or just be sad about it. All these things are your responses and that is what QiGong looks at.

    An individual’s emotions have a very big effect on his physical well-being. Each of the 7 Emotions directly affects a specific organ. Anger affects the Liver by causing the Qi and blood to rise up. Too much happiness weakens the Heart by scattering the Qi. Worry and over-thinking affects the Spleen and digestion by causing the Qi to stagnate. Sadness and grief harm the Lungs by weakening the Qi. Fear damages the Kidney by causing the Qi to descend. Shock disorients the Qi of the Heart, Spleen and Kidney.

    Emotions may affect the body concurrently with any combinations of the other 4 causes of illness. Also, consider that an imbalance of Qi in a particular organ may also be the cause of certain related emotions or emotional outbursts.

    The third cause of illness is related more to lifestyle and is considered non-internal and non-external. The major points in this category are related to the balance of work and rest and to diet.

    Too much physical labor can deplete the Qi. Symptoms of weakness, lassitude, mental fatigue and possible damage to muscles, tendons and bones with joint and back pain may develop.

    Too much mental work can damage the Heart, blood and Spleen Qi resulting in insomnia, amnesia and digestive problems such as loose stools.

    Too much sexual activity can exhaust the Kidney Jing (essence) causing weakness in the legs, dizziness, ringing in the ear and impotence.

    Too little physical labor can affect the flow of Qi and blood. It can also damage the muscles, tendons and bones and cause weight gain. It also damages the body’s defensive ability.

    Eating too much food overworks the Stomach, Spleen and Intestines resulting in retention of food with abdominal fullness, passing gas with a foul odor, acid reflux, vomiting and diarrhea with foul odor.

    The food we eat should contain an appropriate mix of cooked and uncooked foods as well as a balance of the 5 flavors. Too much or too little of any one, over time, will tend to cause imbalances.

    Too much cold food damages the function of the Spleen and Stomach. Hot, dry food tends to cause heat and dryness in the stomach. Excessive greasy foods cause carbuncles. Too much sour food adversely affects the Spleen Qi. Too much salt damages the Qi of the bones and weakens Heart Qi. Too much sweet damages the Heart and Kidney Qi. Too much bitter weakens the Stomach Qi and the function of the Spleen. Too much spicy/pungent weakens the muscles and tendons.

    Poor quality foods result in toxins accumulating in the body.

    The forth cause of illness is referred to as Ultra 3D Energy Fields. This category consists of the various energy fields in your vicinity. Before going any further, I would like to say a few words about Qi.

    Qi is the energy of life. It is the energy that our bodies run on. It is also what our Shen or spirit is made of. And, at the other end of the spectrum, it is what our Jing or substance of life is made from. You may know Qi as energy, but, everything is energy. The lighter, ethereal Qi is what we may usually think of as Qi, but, there is also a heavier, denser Qi that becomes the substance. Both are Qi. Each are at opposite ends of the Yin/Yang scale.

    Having said that, Ultra 3D Energy Fields consist of a couple of different types of Energy Fields. One is a non-intelligent energy found in various places inside and outside of houses. It tends to manifest as dark balls of Qi. They don’t move much and just hang around wherever they happen to be. Feng Shui addresses this type of problem by promoting the flow of beneficial Qi. Feng Shui can also predict the appearance of these harmful Qi fields. So, even if you can’t see the Qi directly, you can still use Feng Shui to recognize the existence of the harmful Qi and to remedy it as well.


    Another type of Energy Field is what you would call ghosts and spirits. These entities have intelligence and may seek to cause harm or may wish to help. In either case, it is best to separate yourself from them. Even well meaning ghosts are considered extremely Yin. This extreme Yin can adversely affect the healthy growth of children (who, by nature, should be Yang). They may have less of a negative impact on adults, but, it is never a really good idea for the living to mingle with the dead. They are no longer living, but, have remained behind for some reason. They need to resolve that matter and continue on in their own cycle of rebirth.

    Disruptive and destructive ghosts and spirits can cause severe problems. They can seek to take control a person. This seldom happens, but, can. The best way to avoid this kind of problem is to leave them alone. If they are in your living area, it is advisable to remove them, but, this should be handled by someone who knows how to do so without causing additional problems.

    The fifth and final cause of illness is known as Karma. Karma is Cause and Effect. What you did in the past will return to affect you in the future. There isn’t really any good Karma or bad Karma. Karma is Karma. There is no vengeance involved; No emotion. This is just the universe responding to a stimulus. If you mistreat someone, you will likely be mistreated yourself. If you are kind, you will be treated kindly. Maybe this is the universe’s way of educating us.

    Some people continuously suffer health-related problems. When medicine doesn’t seem to help and there isn’t any apparent reason for the illnesses, the cause may be Karma. Very often, the really severe diseases, particularly in very young children are the result of Karma. Karma is accumulated over a span of lifetimes. It is not simply the period between birth and the disease to consider. Since we can not easily know what happened to a person in a previous life, it is not easy to recognize this as Karma.

    These first 3 causes of disease are the same as described in any Chinese Medical text. The last 2 causes are more unique to Qi Gong. Some styles of Qi Gong don’t recognize the first 3 as causes at all. Rather, they look at all disease as being caused by Karma. Emei Ling Ji QiGong recognizes all 5 of these as contributing factors in the cause of disease and addresses each in an appropriate way. Any single illness may be attributable to a single cause, however, the other 4 causes may well play a role in the illness, as well. An isolated winter cold may not mean much at all, but, continued colds all year long, year after year may have a root in Karma or Feng Shui. Although treating the current cold may be the appropriate immediate action, the long term solution to the continuous stream of colds may be to affect the Feng Shui of the living or working space of the individual or to improve the Karma of that person. Illnesses can be a complex interaction of all 5 of these causes.

Ed Reinhard
Golden Light Herbs 


©GoldenLightHerbs 2011

Qi Tonic Cold, Flu Yang Tonic Yin Tonic Chinese English Dictionary chinese herbs