The Concept of Body Fluids (Jin and Ye) in TCM Acupuncture Theory

TCM Theory

The Concept of Body Fluids (Jin and Ye) in TCM Acupuncture Theory

The concept of Body Fluids (Jin and Ye) as it is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine theory comprises a host of different meanings, actions and effects than the way the term is commonly understood in the west. The Body fluids within Chinese medicine are largely developed within the digestive process but are involved in the proper functioning of the skin, muscles, joints and even the brain. From a clinical perspective, the status of the Body fluids are considered in a broad range of conditions ranging from asthma to depression.

Below you will find detailed information surrounding the theory of Body Fluids in Traditional Chinese Medicine:

Basic Types of Body Fluids
  • Jin (thin) - clear and watery fluids that lubricate the skin and muscles.
  • Ye (thick) - turbid and viscous fluids that lubricate the brain, spinal cord, joint cavities and all the orifices.
  • Phlegm is caused from an imbalance in the processing of fluids. It is both a cause of disease and a product of disease.
  • There are two types of Phlegm:
  • Substantive - for example, coughing up mucus
  • Insubstantial - for example, phlegm causing psychological imbalances
  • Phlegm can have various effects on the body:
  • Phlegm in the LU: thick mucus, cough, asthma
  • Phlegm in the "mind": many times called "phlegm misting the mind", depression, psychosis, epilepsy, manic depression
  • Phlegm stagnation: lumps, swellings, fibroids, gallstones, kidney stones
  • Phlegm blocking Qi flow to the head: dizziness, blurred vision
  • Phlegm blocking the meridians: numbness, stroke

Basic Formation of Body Fluids
  • When fluids enter the Stomach they are acted upon by the Spleen. There is a separation here between pure and impure. The pure aspect travels up the Lungs and the impure aspect is sent to the Intestines. The Lungs descend (to the KD) and disperse (to the skin/muscles) the fluids. The Kidneys further separate their aspect of the fluids into pure and impure. The pure aspect is misted back up to moisten the lungs and the impure is sent to the bladder for elimination.

Map of the Creation of Body Fluids


Functions of Body Fluids in the Body
  • Jin (thin) Fluids nourish the skin and muscles.
  • Ye (thick) Fluids nourish the joints and orifices and strengthen the marrow and brain.

Body Fluid Disharmonies with Signs and Symptoms





Fluid Deficiency Dryness in the body, scanty urination, thrist, constipation/dry stools Red w/no coat thin, rapid
Fluid Retention Poor appetite, fatigue, dizziness, edema, cough Wet w/white coat slippery, wiry

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