Natural Health and Healing Therapy


Importance Of The Five Shen According To TCM

The word shen is used in two ways. one use encompasses the 'entire sphere of emotional, mental and spiritual elements of a human being'. Although a person's spirit is ultimately indivisible, the Chinese also discussed it in terms of five different 'spirits' which interact together. Each of the spirits is responsible for a different aspect of the person and is also related with the yin organs. In this context shen describes the 'spirit' of the Heart specifically. This is used alongside the:

  • hun

  • po

  • zhi

  • yi

which are the spirits of the other yin organs.



In many ways the five shen are closely linked to the 'Officials described in Su Wen, Chapter 8. Both describe important aspects of the spirit. Some of the shen, especially the hun and the po, also describe the spirit in relation to life and death. This is of interest, although of less use diagnostically, to practitioner.

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