Emotions in Chinese Medicine: by Dr Damiana Corca, DOM, AP, L.Ac.

“The sage is like a mirror: he neither sees things off, nor goes out to meet them. He responds to everything without storing anything up. Thus he is never injured through the myriad transformations he undergoes”

Confucian Huai Nan Zi

Emotions play an essential role in Chinese Medicine. They are of particular importance because the spirit and the body are strictly connected in diagnosis and treatment. We can go as far as saying that oftentimes the treatment of physical symptoms affects the spirit and the other way around.

In older Chinese texts, emotions were in general more emphasized when viewed as causes of disease. Rousseau (c.1700) implemented the notion of emotion, however many philosophers before Descartes used the term passions for emotions. 

The word “emotion” comes from the Latin “e-movere” which means to move out, while the word “passion” comes from the Latin verb “patire” which means to suffer. “Passion” mirrors better the Chinese word “qing”, in the light of the concept of emotions as cause of disease.


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