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All Disease Comes From the Heart: The Pivotal Role of the Emotions in Classical Chinese Medicine

By Heiner Fruehauf


Most modern clinicians find that a majority of their patients suffer from the symptom complex generally referred to as “stress”. Emotional stress, however, is usually regarded as a confounding rather than a causative factor in pathophysiology. This assessment is contrary to the tenets of classical Chinese medicine, which originally regarded emotional imbalance as a spiritual affliction of primary significance. While ancient Chinese philosophy considered emotional sensibility as our greatest assest in the process of fulfilling human destiny, it also regarded human temperaments as our greatest liability due to vast pathogenetic potential…It is no accident that the modern Chinese term for psychomatic medicine is xingshen bingxue, literally the science of how (primary) physical form and (secondary) spirit relate in the disease forming process…

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Heiner Fruehauf

Born into a German family of medical doctors specializing in natural healing modalities, Heiner Fruehauf studied sinology, philosophy and comparative literature at several prestigious universities and earned a doctoral degree in East Asian Languages and Civilization. He went on to complete two years of post-doctoral training at Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, mentored by Deng Zhongjia, one of China’s primary experts in the fields of formula studies and classical Chinese medicine.

Presently, he serves as Founding Professor of the School of Classical Chinese Medicine at National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon and director of the Heron Institute, a non-profit institution for the research and preservation of traditional life science. In private practice, he focuses on the complementary treatment of difficult and recalcitrant diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and chronic digestive disorders.

We are very grateful to Heiner Fruehauf for permission to offer his excellent and thought provoking article “All Disease Comes From the Heart: The Pivotal Role of the Emotions in Classical Chinese Medicine.” Please visit his website to learn about his upcoming seminars:


The Associates Forum: Special Membership Rate

The heart of is its membership site, the Associates Forum. Its main feature is to emphasize a key trait of classical Chinese medicine that often fades away in the context of the written word: the quality of direct transmission. This type of transmission emphasizes the immediacy, passion, and heart based quality of the discipleship approach. With new material added each month, currently on the site there are over 50 hours of video presentation and almost 20 academic and clinically relevant articles by a variety of scholars and physicians who are at the forefront of the Classical Chinese Medicine renaissance in China.

Professor Fruehauf has kindly offered a one year discounted membership to the Associates Forum, which allows you access to this unique educational resource. The forum has also been designed as a source for Professional Development Activity (PDA) credits through the NCCAOM.

To sign up for the Associates Forum at the special reduced rate, you must use this link, and register by March 6, 2011: