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Dreams in TCM


Questioning around dreams is part of a TICM consultation process. Dreams can be incredibly happy or terribly disturbing. I have many patients who keep dream journals to keep track. Not only can your dreams give you plenty of insight to your mental health, surprisingly, they can give you quite a bit of insight into your physical health.


TCM has been studying dreams for more than 2,000 years and holds that recurring dreams can give strong indicators of our health, even pinpoint an organ that's out of whack. In TCM, internal energy balance is everything, but most of us don't notice a slight imbalance if we don't have symptoms. In traditional Chinese culture, dreams are connected to the five internal organs: it is believed that dreams can reflect the condition of those organs.


Here are some dreams related to your overall health an organs that you should pay attention to: 


If you dream that you are angry with friends or family, and occasionally feel dizzy during the day, there may be excessive yang (hot energy) in the Liver. This could be caused by fatigue. 


If you dream that you are falling from high places, you had better check your Kidneys. Kidneys refers to the reproductive and urinary tract system. 


When the yin energy in the whole body exceeds the yang by too much, people may dream they are terrified of being caught in a flood. When yang exceeds yin by too much, people may dream they are burned by fire. If both yin and yang energy are too strong, people may dream about fighting and conflict. 


If people feel hungry, they may see food in their dreams. If they are too full and eat too much, they may dream about giving things away. 


If there's too much energy and blood flowing to the upper body (torso and above), people may dream of flying. If there's too much in the lower body and lower extremities, people may dream of falling. 


According to The Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor, if you dream of white monsters killing people, you may suffer deficient energy in the Lungs. 


If you dream of struggling in the water while a boat is sinking, there may be a deficiency in Kidney energy including reproductive and urinary tract system. Emotional and mental stress related situations can cause parasomnias.


If you dream of being terrified in a dark forest, your Liver may be low on energy. If you are caught in a fire, your Heart energy may be deficient and if you often feel hungry in your dreams, you may need to strengthen your Spleen energy. Spleen refers to digestive system. 


If there's too much energy in the Lungs, you may dream about weeping or flying. If heart energy is too strong, you may laugh in your dreams, but in a frightening way. If there's too much spleen energy, you may dream about singing, or find your body is too heavy to move.


According to The Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor, when pathogenic energy invades the organs, it may be reflected in recurring dreams. Here are some affected organs and resulting dreams: 

Heart: Dreams of mountains covered in mist, fog or smoke. Lungs: Dreams of flying and weird objects made of metal. Spleen: Hills, marshes, a house damaged by storm. 

Kidneys: Being in an abyss or deep lake. 

Bladder: Wandering around. 

Stomach: Eating. 

Large intestine: Large field. 

Small intestine: Crowded path. 

Gallbladder: Quarreling. 

Genitals: Sex. 

Neck: Beheading. 

Legs: Walking but unable to move forward. 

Thighs: Kneeling.

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