The Diagnostic Model of the Shang Han Lun: Dynamic vs. Symptom

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  • Understand the six systems of the Shang Han Lun, the dynamics and mechanisms of action of each of the systems.

  • Identify pathology in each of these systems, including emotional markers.

  • Recognize the situations in which a symptom is to be taken literally as a direct indication of a syndrome. 

  • Know the time that Qi is strongest in each system.

  • Treat using the key herb for each system.

  • Discover the conditions which cannot be diagnosed or treated through the 6 system model. 


The Shang Han Lun is an ancient clinical text, which supplies the practitioner with tools for differential diagnosis and principles of treatment. Despite the fact it was written over 2000 years ago, the insights expressed in this text, are still relevant to the understanding of the human physiology and pathology in modern times.

The text outlines a physiological model of 6 systems, which are responsible for all bodily functions. Each system has it’s characteristic dynamics, mechanisms of actions and related pathologies. The symptoms mentioned in the text, are not intended to create a definite clinical presentation, but to be used as a means of demonstrating the dynamics of the pathology.

Understanding the underlying mechanism of disease, reveals deep and useful insights related to a large variety of disorders, including those not directly mentioned in the text.

The text does not solely deal with the 6 system model. As a clinician, Zhang Zhong Jing, who wrote the text, realized that a disease does not always fit into the model. This situation is referred to as “huai bing”, a complicated disease. In this case, the instruction is to not to use the symptoms as a presentation of dynamics, but to address the symptoms directly.

In the lecture you will also learn that

  1. Each system has it’s characteristic dynamics in health and in disease.

  2. The symptoms mentioned in the text, are often not to be taken literally, but to be understood as an illustration of the dynamics in disease.

  3. We will demonstrate how the symptoms are used to illustrate the specific dynamics of each one of the 6 systems.

Provider - TCM Academy 

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