The Heart at the Center of all Diseases

In the inner tradition of Chinese medicine, summer is the season of the heart and the Fire element. The heart connects us with the light of the spirit; all life and transformative processes reside there. When in balance it gives us a joy for life, and the capacity to connect.

The ancient sages believed that all diseases started with the heart. Therefore it needed to be healed first to prevent them from arising. They understood that a well-functioning heart allowed reality to be perceived without the mind’s interpretation of circumstances, and considered that every experience was part of the cultivation of the spirit we were given at birth.

Modern medicine has come to the realization that stress has a big impact on health. Feelings and emotions are at the core of the human condition, if we are not calm, if we experience a sense of sustained agitation there is a disruption of our life force with suppression of the immune system, hormonal alterations, digestive disturbances, and brain chemistry changes all leading us down the path of illness.

When the heart is in balance it is filled by a universal sense of truth, with no room for worry, anxiety and obsession. It realizes that it can acknowledge and then let go of all wrongdoing. That it doesn’t need to blame anybody and can transform self-centeredness into a sense of being one with all of creation.

In ancient times the enlightened doctor intervened before illness appeared, to treat the core, the heart. Afterwards it was the realm of dietary therapy, herbal medicine, acupuncture and moxibustion.

Although there are these two types of therapeutic paths, there is really only one core law of healing: All disease comes from the heart.


All Disease Comes From the Heart by the 16th century Korean physician Hur Jun (Chinese: Xu Jun) from his Dongyi baojian (Precious Reflections by an Eastern Physician). Translated by Heiner Fruehauf