Concept of “Shen” in Traditional Chinese Medicine

The concept of “shen” is a fundamental part of traditional Chinese medicine. “Shen” is considered to be one of the three treasures that forms life: Jing, the essence, Qi, the life-force, and “Shen, which is usually translated as the “spirit.” “Shen” embodies consciousness, mind, or thought.

It is “shen” that raises the consciousness of human beings above that of other living creatures.

The earliest discourse on “shen” is in the ancient Chinese medical text—Huangdi Neijing or the Yellow Emperor’s Book of Internal Classic—in the section called, “The Root of Spirit.”