Understanding Traditional Chinese Medicine

Why do we work with the “Gall Bladder” when practising Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupressure and acupuncture on horses even though horses do not have a Gallbladder?

Equine Acupuncture hand inserting a needle into horse
(c) Asmodiel / www.shutterstock.com

When studying and/or practising TCM we are asked to enter and open up to a way of thinking that is very different to what we are used to. Sometimes – or maybe often – we are limited by language and challenged to move beyond the meaning of our words.

In TCM, we work with the Zang-Fu organs and associated meridians, such as Lung, Liver, Heart, Kidney etc. From a TCM perspective, these ‘organs’, similar to our Western understanding, include the anatomical structure with their physiological functions but also much more.

The Gallbladder (Dan), together with the Liver, belongs to the Wood Element which also governs tendons and ligaments including the hooves. Besides body structures, there are also meridians, emotions, sensory organs, smells and other aspects and characteristics associated with each organ. And while horses have no physical Gallbladder, they have a Gallbladder meridian and other physical, emotional and energetic aspects associated with it; which is why we also work with the “Gallbladder” when practising equine acupuncture and/or acupressure.