Chinese medicine attaches great importance to the relationship between nature and the human body. The human body is inseparable from the natural world, and changes in the natural world affect the human body constantly—the body maintains normal life activities in the process of adapting to nature.
For example, changes in the human body are affected by the seasons. In spring and summer, yang qi is released—qi and blood will rise to the surface, and this will manifest as skin relaxation and sweating.
In autumn and winter, however, yang qi goes into hiding, and qi and blood go inwards—this manifests as tight skin, no perspiration, and increased urination. The occurrence and development of different diseases are closely related to changes in seasons.
The human body also adapts to the process of day becoming night—daytime is associated with yang and nighttime with yin. In the morning, yang qi is reborn; in the afternoon, it is high, and at night it becomes subdued to facilitate rest and the restoration of energy.
This corresponds to observations of the 24-hour rhythms of the pulse, body temperature, oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, hormone secretion, and so on. Geographical differences also correspond to different living habits and health conditions.
Closer to the equator, it is hot and humid, while further away it is cold and dry. Each region has its own unique properties, and the average life expectancies also differ greatly. This is precisely due to the interrelationship between the human body and the natural world.
Chinese medicine takes these principles into account when treating diseases and considers differences between people, areas, and seasons. In diagnosing and treating patients, a practitioner of Chinese medicine must carefully analyze and consider the relationship between the external environment and the human body, as well as the organic links between the localized disease and the body as a whole.
This is a central feature of Chinese medicine—the holistic concept.
Dr. Benjamin Kong from Sweden and Dr. Xiu Zhou from Germany are the principal editors of the China Research Group.