Soul in Chinese Culture

Soul in Chinese Culture
Acu-Na Wellness Center

Soul in Chinese Culture.

Let’s explore how Chinese Culture views the soul or spirit and how this is incorporated in your acupuncture session. What is a soul? This is one of humanities big questions. There are many different viewpoints. Every answer has significance, especially to the person which whom that viewpoint resonates with. No one really knows.

This discussion is for the purpose to share and learn the viewpoint of Chinese Medicine. When determining our acupuncture point protocol, we take the following into consideration as to which organ energetics are out of balance.

Acu-Na Soul Event

Acu-Na Event – Soul in Chinese Culture

Chinese Medicine

In Chinese Medicine, each major organ connects with the emotional body and is reflected in the 5 Element System of Correspondence. The following are the Souls or Spirits associated with each organ system.  This is the basis of Acu-Na’s 5 Element Tao of Wellbeing.

Shen is the soul or spirit associated with the Fire Element (heart/small intestine meridian system). It represents our all-encompassing spirit/soul, and therefore reflects our vitality and connection to a higher self. Shen incorporates consciousness, compassion and intuition. It is based in the Heart, rather than the brain. Bright and shiny eyes indicate strong Shen. In contrast, loss of spirit and enthusiasm for life (associated with illness) is accompanied by dull eyes. When the other spirits of the other organs go against the desires of the heart there is an internal battle/imbalance.

Hun (Ethereal Soul-yang) is the soul or spirit associated with the Wood Element (liver/gall bladder meridian system) that enters the body at conception and leaves the body to join the spirits and qi of nature. During sleep, the Hun spirit travels to contact your higher self.  Hun is fundamental to your life plan and provides introspection and intuition that are accessed through dreaming and meditation. If the Hun is not nourished, you may lack direction and cannot act on your decisions.

Po (Corporal Soul-yin) is the soul or spirit associated with the Metal Element (lung/large intestine meridian system). The Po deals with vitality, literally the breath and rhythm of life. Past regrets, grief, memories of abuse and trauma and self-worth are all associated with Po. It returns to earth — dissolving into gross elements — at time of the time of the death.

Zhi is the soul or spirit associated with the Water Element (kidney/bladder meridian system). It encompasses fertility, birth, and maturation. Long-term grudges, jealousy and fear are associated with Zhi.

Yi is the soul or spirit associated with the Earth Element (spleen/stomach meridian system). Imbalances can manifest in obsessional thinking and compulsions, and inappropriate emotional connection with others.

The Heart is the King and is to be served by the other organ souls or spirits.  In the process of Taoist cultivation, the practitioner seeks to harmonize the Hun and Po, in a way which gradually allows the Po (the more denser) aspects to more and more fully support the Hun (the more subtle) aspects. The outcome of this kind of refinement process is the manifestation of a way-of-being and way-of-perceiving known by Taoist practitioners as “Heaven on Earth.”

I would love to continue this discussion with you. Join me at my next gathering or call for an acupuncture session. 828-974-7058  Visit

by Mary Houge, L.A.c

Philosopher, Acupuncturist, N.D, LMBT


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