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Current location: Home >> TCM >> QI and Energy JING BLOOD BODY FLUIDS Theory >> BODY FLUIDS

QI and Energy       JING        BLOOD        BODY FLUIDS

Origin and types of body fluids

Function of body fluids

Body fluids,QI and Blood

Disorders of body fluids


Body fluids (Jin Ye) are considered to be the other organic liquids that moisten and lubricate the body (in addition to blood, which, as we have seen, is of great importance in Chinese medicine). Jin ye originate from the action of the organs on food and drink and act on the body internally and externally. These fluids are of two types-light and watery or dense and heavy-and deficiencies or accumulations of Body Fluids cause their own problems.

Origin and types of body fluids

The cycle of the origin and transformation of body fluids is rather complex but can be simplified as follows.

Body fluids originate in the process whereby the spleen and stomach function on ingested food and drink. In Chinese medicine an important function of the spleen is to separate pure from impure fluids that are taken in food. The pure fluids are sent upward to the lungs where they are further separated into light fluids and dense fluids. These light fluids and then dispersed by the lungs to nourish and moisten the skin and the muscles of the body, while the dense fluids are sent downward to the Kidneys. The warming action of kidney Yang further separates the dense fluids, sending the refined fluid back up to moisten the Lungs, while the impure fluids go from the kidney to the bladder where they are excreted as urine.

In addition to this process, the impure fluids from the spleen are sent down to the small intestine, and this further discriminates between purer fluids, which are sent to the large intestine for eventual excretion as feces. Even then some more pure distillate may be reabsorbed into the body. The final part of the Body Fluid cycle involves yet a further separation in the Bladder where the "pure" is sent back up the body through the action of the San Jiao or Triple Warmer. The "impure" is excreted as urine.

As is obvious, the production and circulation of Body Fluids is a subtle and complex process in Chinese medicine. At all stages there is a continuous process of separation and recycling, in order to ensure that the maximum quantity of beneficial fluid is extracted and used by the body. Essentially there are two types of Body Fluids.


Light and watery fluids that circulate with the Wei Qi around the skin and muscles on the exterior of the body, under the control of the Lungs.


These are much heavier and thicker. They are seen as circulating throughout the interior of the body with the Ying Qi under the influence of the Spleen and the Kidneys.

Function of body fluids

THE FUNCTION of all Body Fluids is basically to moisten and nourish the body.

The Jin fluids perform this function for the skin, the muscles, and the hair. They can appear as fluids that flow directly from the body such as sweat, tears, and saliva.

The Ye fluids perform this function for the joints and the brain.

Body fluids,QI and Blood

As SHOULD be becoming increasingly evident, in Chinese medicine we cannot think of any one of the vital substances as existing functionally on its own. Their mutual functions continually interact and interrelate, and this is well illustrated in thinking about Qi, Blood, and the Body Fluids.

Qi is crucial in both the production and the transportation of Body Fluids, and it is responsible for holding the fluids in place. Conversely, if Body Fluids become deficient, then this can damage Qi; thus Body Fluids are themselves essential for maintaining healthy Qi.

Body Fluids and Blood are seen as nourishing each other, and Body Fluids are essential to maintaining Blood at the right consistency so that it will not stagnate, causing illness.

Disorders of body fluids

ESSENTIALLY, THERE are two types of disorder that can arise with Body Fluids.


This can lead to a whole range of problems arising from a lack of a nourishing and moistening function. For example, a deficiency of fluids in the Intestines can lead to constipation.


If Body Fluids accumulate this can lead to problems described in Chinese medicine as Dampness and Phlegm. This can have a variety of causes and outcomes. For example, if the Spleen is damaged by poor diet, this can lead to Dampness that may manifest itself as lethargy with a feeling of heaviness in the lower abdomen.


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