Traditional Chinese medicine posits a uniquely relative relationship
between the zang-fu organs and tissues of the human body, as well as
between the human body and the natural environment. All are in a
relatively balanced state in order to maintain the body's normal
physiological function. When this balance is destroyed disease results.
Through long term clinical practice, the ancient Chinese realized
that there are many factors which may bring about imbalances in the
human body and thus disease; climate abnormalities, pestilence,
emotional stimulation, injury by irregular diet or overstrain,
trauma, insect-bited, etc., plus pathological products of disease
outcome, such as blood stasis, phlegm-humor, etc. All of these
contribute to imbalances within the human system.
The etiology of traditional Chinese medicine used clinical
manifestations as evidence, i.e., through the analysis of symptoms
and signs of a disease, one can find its causative factors. This
is technically termed "checking syndromes to find causative factors
of a disease." For our study of etiology, we must concern ourselves
with the properties of pathogenic factors and the characteristics of
how and why they cause disease.
Traditional Chinese medicine holds that the occurrence of a disease
not only depends on exogenous factors, but more importantly is decided
by body resistance. Chinese medicine terms all exogenous pathogenic
factors as xie qi, while the body's is relatively weak, xie qi will
have an opportunity to attack and Suwen records, "If a pathogenic
factor attacks the body, then the zheng qi must be weak."
Furthermore, "When zheng qi exists in the interior, the pathogenic
factor will be unable to interfere."
Therefore the invasion of xie qi is due to the insufficiency of
zheng qi, this is the root cause. Xie qi is necessary condition
for the occurrence of a disease. The development, transformation,
and prognosis of a disease depend on the forced balance of zheng qi
and xie qi.
Six Exogenous Factors
Seven Emotional Factors
Other Pathogenic Factors