Traditional Chinese medicine is based on the philosophical concept that the human body is a system of systems.
These separate yet interconnected sub-systems usually work in balance to maintain the body's healthy functioning. The balance of yin and yang is considered with respect to qi ("life force", or "spiritual energy"), blood, jing ("kidney essence"), other bodily fluids, the Wu Xing (diagram left), emotions, and the soul or spirit (shen). TCM has a unique model of the body, notably: the meridian system. Unlike the Western anatomical model which divides the physical body into individual parts, the Chinese model is more concerned with function. For example, the TCM "spleen" is not a specific bodily organ, but an aspect of function related to transformation and transportation within the body, and of the mental functions of thinking and studying.

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