The seven emotions are seven sentimental changes, which include joy, anger, grief pensiveness, worry, fear and fright, and reflect the mental state of human beings. The seven emotions represent different human reactions to objective reality, and do not cause disease under normal conditions. However, they may cause disease when there is sudden strong or lasting sentimental stimulation which surpasses a human being's physiologica endurance and disturbs the function of qi and the coordination of yin and yang, qi and blood, and zang-viscera and fu-viscera. When the seven emotions become the seven evil which cause internal impairment they are called "The seven emotional evils causing endogenous injury".
1. The Relationship of The Seven Emotions to the Qi, Blood, and Viscera
The human sentimental activities are closely related to the viscera, whose functiona activities mainly depend on the warming function and motive force of qi and nourishment from the blood. Chapter 5 in Plain Questions says. "The five zang-viscera of human body produce five kinds of essential qi, which bring forth joy, anger, grief, worry and fear. " It may be seen from this quotation that the sentimental activities must use the essential qi of the five zang-viscera as their material basis. The above-mentioned Chapter in Plain Questions also states that the heart is related to the sentimental activity of joy, the liver with anger, the spleen with pensiveness, the lung with worry, and the kidney with fear. The sentimental activities of joy, anger, pensiveness, worry and fear, are together termed, the "five emotions. "
Different sentimental changes have different influences on the viscera. The pathological changes of viscera, qi, and blood also have certain influences on the sentimental activities, as is stated in Chapter 62 of Plain Questions. "The hyperactivity of the blood brings forth anger while the hypo-activity of the blood brings forth fear. " Chapter 8 in Spirit Pivot also says. "The deficient liver-qi leads to fear while the excessive liver-qi leads to anger. The deficient heart-qi causes grief while the excessive heart-qi causes unceasing laughter. " So it is said that the seven emotions have close relations with the viscera, qi, and blood.
2. The Pathogenic Features of the Seven Emotions
The ways in which the seven emotions cause disease are not similar to the ways through which the six climatic evils cause disease. The six climatic evils invade the human body via the skin, mouth, and nose. At first, they cause the exterior syndrome. But the seven pathogenic emotions directly affect the relevant internal organs, which leads to a functional disturbance of the qi and blood of the viscera, and causes various diseases to manifest. Prescriptions Assigned to the Three Categories says: "The seven emotions are normal physiological reactions. When they overact, first they affect the viscera, and then they affect the whole body. "
1) Directly Impairing the Viscera
Chapter 5 in Plain Questions says: "Anger impairs the liver. "" Joy impairs the heart. " "Pensiveness impairs the spleen. " " Worry impairs the lung . " " Fear impairs the kidney. " In clinical practice, different sentimental stimulations can produce different influences on the zang-viscera. But this is not always the case, for the human body is an organic whole. Chapter 28 in Spirit Pivot says: "The heart is the supreme monarch of the five zang-viscera and the six fu-viscera. Therefore, grief and worry make the heart shake, which causes other zang-viscera to shake accordingly. " Here, it is pointed out that all kinds of sentimental stimulation are related to the heart; when the normal functional state of the heart is disturbed, other zang-viscera will be affected because the heart is the great monarch of the other zang-viscera.
Impairment of the liver due to suppression and anger causes the liver-qi to be hyperactive. The hyperactive liver-qi often attacks the spleen and stomach, and produces certain syndromes such as incoordination between the liver and spleen, and disharmony between the liver and stomach.
It is held in TCM that the heart dominates the blood and houses the mind; the liver stores the blood and dominates the physiological functions of conducting and dispersing.The spleen, which dominates the physiological functions of transportation and transformation, is located in the middle-jiao, which is the hub that controls the ascending-descending function of qi, and the place where qi and blood are produced. Therefore, the diseases caused by sentimental pathogenic factors are mainly related to the heart, liver, and spleen, and to the incoordination between qi. and blood. For example, over-thinking and worrying often impair the heart and spleen, and cause deficiency of both qi and blood of the heart and spleen, which produces symptoms such as mental disarrangement and the sp[een's failure in transporting.
Suppression and anger can impair the liver, 'and cause the liver-qi to rush up, and the blood to flow abnormally. This may produce the syndrome of the stagnation of qi in the Liver Meridian, with symptoms such as expanding hypochondriac pain and frequent sighing. Or, it may produce the syndrome of stagnation of qi and blood, with symptoms such as hypochondriac pain, dysmenorrhea, amenia or abdominal mass, and unstable gathering in the abdomen. In addition, sentimental pathogenic factors may transform themselves into fire, which produces certain syndromes such as flaring of fire due to deficient yin, or produces diseases related to the accumulation of dampness, undigested food,and phlegm.
2) Affecting the Functions of the Visceral Qi
Chapter 39 in Plain Questions says: "Anger makes qi rush up; joy makes qi dis-
perse; sorrow makes qi wither away; fear makes qi sink; fright makes qi run about; Pen siveness makes qi stagnated. "
"Anger makes qi rush up," means that great anger can lead qi and blood to go up wards, producing disorders of qi, red face and eyes, spitting blood, or even coma in critical cases. Chapter 3 in Plain Questions says: "Great anger causes separation of the body and qi, so the blood stops at the upper part of the body, which leads to sudden coma. Chapter 39 says: "Anger makes qi go adversely, and in critical cases, vomiting of blood and diarrhea can appear. "
The meaning of "joy makes qi disperse" includes two aspects, namely, the relaxatior of sentimental strain, and dispersion of the heart-qi. Normally, joy can relax mental strain and make the nutrient-qi and defence-qi go smoothly, bringing forth a happy mood. Chapter 39 in Plain Questions says: "Joy leads to relaxation and good mood, and makes the nutrient-qi and defence-qi go smoothly, producing a relaxed state of qi. " But over-joy can disperse the heart-qi, and make the mental vitality go out of its lodging,which produces a failure of concentrating attention, and in critical cases, mental disarrangement. So chapter 8 in Spirit Pivot says: "Joy makes mental vitality scatter. "
"Sorrow makes qi wither away," means that great sorrow leads to suppression of the lung-qi, despondency, and consumption of the lung-qi Chapter 39 in Plain Questions says : "Sorrow makes the connectives of the heart tighten, the lung expand, and the upper-jiao become blockaded, leading to stagnation of the nutrient-qi and defence-qi which are then transformed into heat, and causing qi to wither away. "
"Fear makes qi sink," refers to the fact that great fear causes the kidney-qi to become unfixed and to go downwards, which clinically produces urinary and fecal incontinence, or produces impairment of the essence with symptoms such as sore, flaccid, or cold bones, and seminal emissions.
"Fright makes qi run about," means that sudden fright leads to mental disarrange ment, confusion of thought, and confusing reactions to reality.
"Pensiveness makes qi stagnated," means that when one is overly thinking, the
function of qi will be obstructed. The ancient Chinese held that "thought" starts from the spleen, and ripens in the heart; so, over-thinking not only impairs the heart-spirit, but also affects the spleen-qi. Chapter 39 in Plain Questions says: "Pensiveness brings forth impairment of the heart-spirit , and mental dullness, which causes the stagnation of qi. " When ,there is internal consumption of yin-blood, the heart-spirit will fail to be nourished, thus producing palpitation, amnesia, insomnia and dreaminess. The obstruction of the function of qi can lead to a hypoactive function of transporting and transforming of the spleen, and the failure of food intake and digestion, which produces symptoms such as poor appetite, abdominal distension and diarrhea.
3) Deteriorating Effects of Emotional Instability Clinically, it is often observed that when the patients' emotion become unstable,their condition will become more serious. For example, when a person who has a history of hypertension is enraged, his liver-yang will suddenly rise and his blood presshre will rapidly increase, thus producing vertigo, and in critical cases, sudden coma, apoplectic aphasia, hemiplegia and wry mouth with distorted eyes. Also, the condition of a heart disease patient will quickly become worse when his emotion is unstable.