Emotions, desires and physiological fire in Chinese medicine, part two: The minister fire

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Journal Article
Australian Journal of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, 2012, 7 (1), pp. 24 - 30
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Chinese medicine's concept of qi mediates between a person's mental-emotional life and the physiological processes producing and maintaining the body form. The pathogenic potential of human emotions and desires figured prominently in China's ancient medical and philosophical texts, and more than any other type of qi, the sovereign and minister fire embody the influences and relationships between mental, emotional, sensory and physiological activities. When level and calm, the minister fire transmits the lifegate's original yang qi influences from the lower jiao; the liver, sanjiao and gall bladder (the jueyin and shaoyang) manage its dissemination through the body interior, and its movement between the interior and surface of the body. Contemporary traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) textbooks however rarely mention the minister fire, except as an illness mechanism that is identified with liver and gall bladder yang repletion patterns. The preferred term for its physiological influences today is the kidney yang qi. The two parts of this paper examine the physiological and clinical implications of the minister fire. Part One began with the heart and kidney (shaoyin) relationship, as reflected in the pericardium and lifegate's association with the minister fire and their role in communicating the orders of the sovereign fire. In Part Two, the discussion turns to the minister fire's physiological influences, and the pathogenic stirring of minister fire due to emotions and desires.
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