Oriental medicine, for western culture, it is uncertain and difficult to understand, I think.
Briefly says, it is the medicine of "QI". It would be complicated and difficult to explain so if you have interest about it, please refer to other special books. Divide the universe into yin and yang, which is the yin-yang principle. The theory of five elements represents that the nature is made from five elements, which are engendered and restrained each other. Qi is the base theory of both principles.
The yin-yang theory, I recognize it, as everything will change continuously; none is stable in the universe.
Click to enlarge an engendering-restraining chart above.
The principle of five elements, solid arrows represent engendering relation, dotted arrows show restraining one. Each color has meaning, either. As part of (+/-)(-) in a legend, it means positive or negative effect to each representative, according to its power or strongness. You would understand how this principle could explain precisely about the relationship between disease, body and mind in actual life.
For instance, let you imagine when you really got mad. Anger belong to the liver meridian (Wood). Anger make qi of liver goes up to and it makes your face turn to a blue-black color. Blue is the color of Wood. It relates to the eyes and tears, so your iris open wider and tears come. Tendons are admitted by Wood, so your body start trembling. Also, you may call him/her, because a call is related to Wood.
Due to an engendering relation, the Fire will be affected. The Fire relates to the heart, so your pulse becomes faster and eyes become bloodshot.
At the same time, the restraining relation, Wood inhibit Earth, so you usually lost appetite.
How to calm down excited Wood meridian? Using restraining relation of Metal and draining from Fire. Using restraining, Metal, eat white colored and pungent food. In addition, wailing will cool down your anger. As draining from Fire, eat bitter and red-colored food, and laughing uproariously would discharge hypertension of Wood meridian. Combine both ways, you could bring exhausted Wood meridian to normal position.
Actually, food and emotions are not enough whenever you are in disease. Therefore, acupuncture and Kampo (Chinese herb) are existing for treatment.
In western medicine, it is called "Psychoneuroimmunology" that study about the relationship between emotions and immune system. Oriental medicine knows how emotions and health status are related more than 2000 years ago: unlike western medicine.
From western medical point of view, many clinical diseases impossible to neither explain reasons nor treat. However, oriental medicine, it could give you explanation of relation of diseases and body, what causes of your disease are. It is fully acceptable in many cases.
I will explain some words, which I use often while in my treatment.
Qi stagnation / depression
Eastern medicine has long identified a life energy or life force that flows within the human body. It is variously identified as Qi, Purana, Aura or "vital energy". When the vital energy of the body is free flowing, the body is generally in a state of health.
However, stress, injuries, or environmental factors can disturb that energy flow. I often liken energy flow to water pipe. When the water pipe is clogged, the water flow is lessened. When it comes to vital energy blockage, you might feel tiredness, a dull pain, night pain, headaches and so on. This stage is called "Mibyou" (almost or just before becoming sick).
When water pipe becomes clogged completely, the water no longer can flow. Now you might feel severe pain or pain that lasts all day long. At this stage, depending on where the blockage is, the area might become swollen. (Picture an expanding water pipe.)
Many people misinterpret the swelling, believing they are gaining weight.
When you remove the blockage and let the water (energy) flow back to normal, the body naturally returns to a healthy condition.
Depending upon your condition, there may be one or a number of energy blockages throughout the body.
Blood stagnation / stasis
Oriental medicine thinks that blood flows because qi flows first. Qi is nourished by blood. Therefore, blood stagnation will be made either problem of blood flow or poor nutrition that not enough to nourish qi. Blood stasis makes pain, which doesn't move around and cause of night pain. It is causes of tumor or cancer when one leaves blood stagnation long time. The color of blood stasis, if it is in early stage, it could be pale red or clear like water. It is getting darker due to the old or severe damage of the meridian and collateral. I put some blood stagnation's pictures on a pictures page.
Meridian and collateral and Acupuncture points
Qi energy flows both in and outside of human body. It is something like a water river. An acupuncture point is the point, where water (qi) comes out to the ground (skin). One reason of the difference of good acupuncturist and bad one is how one could find that qi point(s) better, and restrict it if it too much overflows, gain qi flow if it not enough.