What is “toxin” in TCM?

I look at being healthy is more than being able to run a marathon, accomplish triathlon or having a toned body. Healthy is a state encompassing the body , the mind and then spirit.

It’s common to hear “your body is your temple.” “Mind-body connection is the keystone of health.”  Nowadays, health is a very trendy word , but only limited to the physical state.

“Toxin” is also a term in TCM , referring to a hyperactivity of certain function. One can have toxin in Lung, Spleen, Liver Stomach, Gallbladder and Large intestine, whether its’ in the meridian or Zhang Fu . The toxin can cause an imbalance like a seesaw tipping away over to the other side.

“Detox” is a term in Chinese referring to restoring back to the normal function.In a case of infection, detox is to eliminate the excess of pathogen such as phlegm , heat , cold or stagnation.  Once the balance is restored , the course of treatment is complete and no need to continue the detox.

In the course of illness, it’s the balance between pathogenic Qi and Righteous Qi. When the Pathogenic Qi gathers , the Righteous Qi is weaken. The pathogenic Qi can be visible or invisible.

The visible pathogenic Qi is closer to the modern term of “toxin” which can include chemicals, bacteria and viruses or excessive amount of sugar,etc.

How about the invisible pathogenic Qi?

The invisible pathogenic Qi in TCM is from internal origin, meaning that the  person’s lifestyle or constitution is out of balance resulting int the internal stagnation and accumulation of  essence and nutrients.

Therefore detox should also include detoxing the internal/invisible pathogenic. In modern days ,  we are constantly “ingesting” information, relationship interaction, work and recreation. These are good. But “too much” can lead to an imbalance.

When we detox our body , we also need to think about elimination of toxic information, toxic relationship and toxic work. This is also a practice of letting go.

“Let go” is a work of art that needs to be mindfully practiced.

In the process of letting go, we might feel weaken ,confused and helpless. It’s all part of the process. To be the master of our own body, it’s necessary.  And practice “letting go ” mindfully is to clear our mind and free our body.

Healthy is definitely more than physical state. When both the physical and spirit are freed , we can truly feel “healthy”.








Constitution of a person , a TCM perspective.


I did a personality test the other day.I scored 114 as a highly sensitive person when score 60 would be highly sensitive and yet I scored almost twice.

Not surprised at all.

I grew up with an unique personality. I can sense people’s feeling as soon as I walk into a room. I am sure other people has the same sense too.

But for me , its ten times stronger, ten times more intense. I can feel people’s confusion, struggle or mixed feeling. I can feel people ‘s pain.

I often focus a lot on little details and would not let go until I cover every itch of detail and feel I do a perfect job. I can get overwhelmed with loud noise , bright light , strong smell or temperature change.  I was always the “weird child ” wherever I go. The comment about me is always”too sensitive.”

I always thought it’s a bad thing to be sensitive.

Until I began my study in traditional Chinese Medicine, I started to see my own sensitivity in a different light.

Chinese medicine is such an unique subject that covers more than just medicine. It’s a medicine that incorporates sociology, psychology , anatomy and physiology , environmental study , philosophy to name a few.

Chinese medicine also talks about how a person’s constitution can affect his health. There is no good or bad constitution. The constitution we were born into is greatly affected by the environment (external factors), the genes (the Essence from our parents) and time and day and the it can also be a prediction to the illness one is prone to.

Take myself for example. Being a highly sensitive person means I am always alert and careful. This can mean the depletion of spleen Qi in TCM, an energy that dominates the thought. The deficiency of Spleen Qi can also cause the inefficiency of  transforming and transporting nutrient and waste. The transformation and transportation function of spleen is a acquired function that is essential to our health after birth. Without spleen strong function , it can lead to difficulty in weight management, clarity of thoughts or lack of motivation to name a few.

Traditional Chinese medicine value s person’s constitution as part of the formation of illness. That’s the reason why a TCM practitioner prescribes a treatment plan , it always needs to take a person’s family history and what ‘s happening in the patient’s life into consideration. Like one of my respected teacher said “Chinese medicine treats the person with illness, not the illness itself.”