Traditional Chinese Medicine
The table of correspondences and the accompanying diagrams explains much about traditional Chinese medicine. Of course it does not explain the actual practices of Chinese medicine or the techniques of treatment, but it explains the philosophy and principles which underlie that treatment. It also goes a long way to explaining the mindset which underlies a practitioner's diagnosis.
It would be easy, from a Western perspective, to simply dismiss this philosophy because it does not fit in with that particular mindset. It is not 'scientific', 'rational' or 'logical', but it has a poetic sensibility which appeals to the right hemisphere and our aesthetic taste.
Consider how metal invades wood and wood penetrates the earth in ‘Ko the cycle of destruction.
Also, take some time to appreciate how a sheep could relate to the small intenstine and how fire could relate to Joy, in the table of properties below.
If we continue to represent the elements in the circular pattern as before, then the properties of those elements tend to interact as nodes on a pentacle as shown in the diagram below. This represents the interactions of emotions acccording to TCM.
This same pattern of interaction can be traced out for any of the properties of the elements in the above list. The life energy (Chi) as before either travels in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction around the circle. Thus we can trace how many componants of the human experience effect each other in both a supporting and blocking fashion. These interactions, within the the patient and between the patient and their environment, are what a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine hopes to explore. Their ultimate aim is to free up any of these interactions which may have become slowed down or blocked by lifestyle, environment or accidents, and to damp down any of these interactions which may have sped up because of trauma, imbalance and bad habits.