waterThree major causes of disease in TCM include: External (Six Climates); Internal (Seven Emotions); and, Five Miscellaneous (e.g., lifestyle choices). In this article we will briefly go through the five miscellaneous so as to give you an understanding of disease creation under this Eastern lens.

Five Miscellaneous Causes of Disease:

1. Improper / Irregular Diet: The principle organs associated with digestion are the spleen, stomach, intestines and liver. There can be belching, foul breath, sour regurgitation, abdominal distension and pain, no appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. The three principle forms of dietary irregularity are:  A. Overeating: gluttony, craving for sweet or fatty foods. B. Ingestion of raw, cold or unclean foods. C. Habitual consumption of alcohol, hot, spicy or fried foods.

2. Lifestyle: A. Overwork: can be either physical or mental; mental overwork and stress damages the spleen which leads to fatigue, weight loss and a  low voice;  liver blood deficiency leads to insomnia, palpitations, dizziness and blurred vision. B. Overstrain, stress or lack of physical exercise. C. Sexual excesses deplete kidney qi and jing (pre birth essence). D. No exercise leads to spleen qi deficiency resulting in soft bones and tendons, poor energy and appetite, obesity, shortness of breath on exertion and frequent colds.

3.  Trauma / Insect & Animal Bites: Includes all unpredictable occurrences and accidents such as injuries, gunshots, incisions, contusions, burns, sprains and fractures.

4. Phlegm / Fluid Stagnation: Both a cause of disease and the result of existing pathology. Lung, kidney and spleen qi deficiency results in phlegm. General symptoms: Profuse sputum, sticky fluids, rattling sound in throat, abdominal and epigastric fullness, vomiting, dizziness, vertigo and palpitations. Tongue will have a sticky coating and the pulse will be wiry, rolling. Lungs: sputum and asthma. Heart: coma, palpitations, depressive and manic psychosis. Channels: hemiplagia, numbness. Head:  vertigo, blurred vision. Skin and muscles:  edema, heavy sensation, general aching. Chest: cough, asthma. Stomach and intestines: nausea, vomiting, epigastric and abdominal discomfort, gas.

5. Blood Stagnation: Both a cause of disease and a result of existing pathology. Three major causes: A. Cold or qi deficiency. B. Qi stagnation. C. Trauma. Worse with pressure. Stabbing quality pain. Dark red bleeding with clots. Petechia, accompanied by pain in the affected area. Tongue: deep purple or purple spots. Possible fixed, purplish masses with sharp pain. Heart: heart attack, angina, green-purplish lips, suffocating chest. Lung: chest pain, hemoptysis. Intestines: hematemesis, bloody stool. Liver:  hypochondriac pain, abdominal masses. Uterus: dysmenorrhea with irregular masses, clots. Skin:  Purple or greenish skin color, subcutaneous hematoma.