top of page

Chinese Medicine Lingo

Nǐ hǎo ladies and gents! Today’s blog will be in Chinese, are you ready? Ok, just kidding…..

If you are a reader of our blog, I know you have come across several terms that are Chinese words and may or may not have understood what they mean. Today we want to bring you into the loop. To make sure you understand all the common Chinese medicine lingo. Here goes!

WORD # 1 : QI

Pronounced - CHEE

This is the most commonly used word in Chinese medicine. Qi represents the vital life force that flows through the body. It is the energy of life. A happy and healthy person is a dynamic but harmonious mixture of all the diverse aspects of qi. Qi is constantly moving, transforming from one nature to another. It cannot be created or destroyed, it only changes in nature. It is both physical and energetic.

When a person is qi deficient, they will experience chronic fatigue and when one has qi stagnation, qi is not flowing through the body smoothly and they may have headaches, stomach aches,s or pain.

“Life is a gathering of Qi” Chinese medicine classics


Pronounced - ín jǎŋ

The original meaning of yang is “the sunny side of the mountain,” while the original meaning of yin is “the shady side of the mountain.” Two opposite sides of the mountain.

Yin and Yang are the two halves of Qi. Just as every living thing is made of Qi, everything is made of yin and yang, two very different but complementary forces. Yin and Yang are OPPOSITE, INTERDEPENDENT, MUTUALLY CONSUMING, and MUTUALLY TRANSFORMATIVE. Al this means that they operate as a see-saw, if yang is too high, yin will be low and vice versa. So true health is achieved when there is a state of balance between yin and yang.

Yin and Yan represent various different qualities, organs, and roles in the body as shown below:


Feminine Cold/cool Moist NIght Winter Earth Rest Structure Contracting Inward Front of body Solid organs Yin organs: Heart, Pericardium, Spleen, Lung, Kidney, Liver QUALITIES OF YANG Masculine Hot/Warm Dry Day Summer Space Activity Function Expansive Outward Back of body Hollow organs Yang organs: Small Intestine, Triple Warmer (an energetic organ in TCM), Stomach, Large Intestine, Urinary Bladder, Gall Bladder


Pronunciation - Shuw

Xue in Chinese medicine refers to blood - the red life-giving substance that flows throughout the body. However, in Chinese Medicine, blood just like qi has both a physical and energetic component. Blood and Qi are closely related and blood is considered a denser form of Qi. Blood and qi are inseparable because Qi moves blood, while blood is the mother of Qi.

“Qi is the commander of Blood, when Qi moves, Blood moves; Blood is the mother of Qi, where Blood goes, Qi goes.”

Blood tends to get either deficient or stagnant. Blood deficiency can occur when there is blood loss or poor nutrition, When Blood is deficient, you may experience dry skin, brittle hair, light-headedness, headache, cold extremities, short or scanty periods, palpitations, and muscle weakness.

On the other hand, blood stagnation can occur when blood is not flowing through the body smoothly and is often accompanied by qi stagnation. Signs and symptoms associated with blood stagnation include aches, cramps, rough skin, purplish complexion, bruises, and painful menstruation.

A note of utmost importance is that: Good nutrition is the foundation for sufficient blood.


The term body fluids is vast and it basically represents, all normal liquid in the body including saliva, gastric fluid, intestinal fluid, joint cavity fluid, tears, nasal discharge, sweat, urine, etc.

Body fluids originate from food and drink which are digested and absorbed by the spleen and stomach and then converted to Jin Ye.

Blood and Body fluids enjoy a mutually edifying relationship; Body fluids constantly replenish blood and "thin it out" so that it does not coagulate and If body fluids are harmonized they turn red and are transformed into Blood.

Meanwhile, blood nourishes Body Fluids: both are Yin. Hence the loss of Fluids, e.g. in excessive perspiration, can cause blood deficiency. Conversely, chronic blood loss can cause loss of body fluids and dryness.

WORD # 5 : Jīngluò - MERIDIANS

This is a common word you might hear during your acupuncture sessions. Meridians are invisible pathways in which energy travels, kinda like blood vessels. Acupuncture taps into these meridians in an effort to manipulate how your energy flows and travels with the end goal being to achieve a state of balance of harmonious yin and yang.

There you have it! The basics of Chinese medicine lingo on your fingertips!


bottom of page