Viewing the body as an integrated whole is the essence of Chinese medical theory. The Zang Fu internal organs theory represents this intricate web of integrating all aspects of the human and its surroundings.

Terminology similar to western medical science is used in the translation of Traditional Chinese Medicine internal organs theory, be sure not to join the two, it is best to try and leave your knowledge of western anatomy behind because the correspondences are few. Chinese Medicine not only sees each internal organ as an anatomical/material structure but also their inseparable connections to emotions, tissues, sensory organs, mental functions, colours, climates/environment, seasons, natural elements, etc.. For this reason both anatomical and energetic/functional internal organ aspects are always considered.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine the human being is looked at as an integrated whole, therefore interrelationships are of the essence. Since a person depends on the whole being in balance and harmony to achieve optimal health, discussions of the organs on their own would not be enough.

There are 2 types of internal organs: Zang are considered Yin organs, Fu are considered Yang organs. Yang organs are in charge of transforming food and drink into Qi and Blood. They receive, move, transform, digest, and excrete. The Yin organs store the vital substances (Qi, blood, Essence, body fluids) in pure refined forms from which they have received from the Yang organs after they have been transformed. They Yang organs do not store anything, they are filled, perform their functions of extraction of pure essences, and empty waste. The Yang organs can be viewed as the functional aspect of the Yin organs, i.e. the stomach is the functional aspect of the Spleen.