COM, CCM: bridging the gaps

One of my goals as a practitioner of Chinese medicine and, in particular, Contemporary Oriental Medicine and Classical Chinese Medicine is to see the links between these two lineages. One that I have pondered lately is the notion of waking with a feeling of not being rested, or early morning fatigue.

My training in COM with Dr. Leon Hammer looks at this symptom very differently from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), as does most of my training differ from TCM (a simplified westernized practice of the medicine). But Dr. Hammer was unique in attributing this symptom to the Heart. A deficiency of the qi of the Heart would create a weakness in the circulatory system which would be most sluggish in the early morning due to the extended hours of sleep and yin influences of the night time.

My training in CCM looks at this symptom as a shao yang pathology. In this sense, as we see the transformation of yin and yang within a 24 hour cycle, it is the early morning that is associated with the shao yang or little yang as it emerges from the yin (jue yin). It is this lesser yang energies that propel the yang in its upward movement. Shao yang is wood and associated with the east and the rising sun.

The link of course is that each of these explanations, while slightly different in terminology and description, are both linking this phenomenon of waking tired with a deficiency in fire or yang. Wood is necessary to fan the wind to stir fire, and shao yang shares both a wood and fire association. A typical herb for treating this can be guizhi cinnamon twig, the wood herb of the wood class, and also a wonderful herb for treating the Heart.

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