Healing Through the Emotions and Virtuous Action in Chinese Medicine

Sabine Wilms PhD
Lecture Type: 
Breakout Session
Lecture Day: 
Day 1
Fletcher Challenge Theatre


As the structure of this conference demonstrates, the topic of yangsheng is finally receiving the attention that it deserves in the context of contemporary medicine, and women’s health in particular. All too often, however discussions of yangshengare limited to preventative health and the material body, through diet, exercise, lifestyle adjustments, the “pursuit of happiness,” and avoidance of stress. In this course, I invite you to join me in exploring the full meaning and potential of the classical Chinese art of “nurturing life.” You will learn to appreciate a deeper dimension of healing, by paying attention to your own and your patients’ “heavenly mandate” (tianming) and living in “virtue” (de, “virtue/potency”) as the manifestation of being in alignment with the Dao. As a key aspect of this process, we shall discuss the emotions both as physiological and pathological agents (and important diagnostic markers), illuminated by Wang Fengyi’s system of Five-Element Healing through the Emotions.


Learning Objectives

  1. Explain the role of the Five Emotions, as associated with the Five Organs in the classics, and discuss their clinical significance in diagnosis and treatment.
  2. Compare and contrast the classical understanding of the emotions with Wang Fengyi’s teachings on Five-Element Virtue Healing.
  3. Describe the meaning and significance of virtue (de 德)  in classical Chinese medicine, from the classics to Wang Fengyi.
  4. Appraise the potential of Virtue in contemporary clinical practice.
  5. Enrich your clinical practice by adding these concepts to your diagnosis and treatment.



  • Historical Foundations in the Classics
    • Beyond the standard meanings of yangsheng
    • Xing, ming, and de: Your “heavenly nature,” “heavenly mandate,” and “heavenly potency.”
  • Five Emotions in the Suwen
    • Five Organ resonances
    • Pathology and physiology
    • Beyond the pursuit of happiness: What is it with the heart?
  • Virtue/Potency in the Classics
    • Confucian Virtue: The Image of the Polestar
    • Daoist Potency
    • Sun Simiao and Virtue in Medicine
  • Wang Fengyi’s System of Five-Element Virtue Healing through the Emotions
    • xiao (family harmony through reverence for elders) as the key
    • The emotions as the root cause of disease: Do not blame!
    • Virtuous action as the key to healing by restoring harmony
  • Final Discussion: Contemporary Clinical Significance
    • Appreciating the classics and Wang Fengyi in their proper historical context
    • Reproduction and fertility
Sabine Wilms PhD

Sabine has been studying classical Chinese writings on medicine ever since her PhD education in Asian Studies and medical Anthropology. With a strong academic background in early Chinese philosophy, science, cosmology, and language and therefore in a historically and culturally sensitive approach to classical Chinese medicine, she now enjoys studying and teaching Chinese medicine as a living, effective, ever-changing, and much needed response to the issues of our modern times. Some of her favorite topics are gynecology and reproduction, pediatrics, medical ethics, and “nurturing life,” as envisioned by the great medieval “King of Medicinals” Sun Simiao. Sabine is happiest when engaging in a dialogue with practitioners and students of Chinese medicine on how to bring this ancient wisdom to life in our modern times. Besides teaching at the School of Classical Chinese Medicine at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon, and producing books on Chinese medicine through her publishing company, Happy Goat Productions, she is busy raising a daughter and varying numbers of dogs, chickens, goats, fruits, and vegetables. 

Integrative Fertility Symposium

Healthy Seminars 6th Integrative Fertility Symposium will be held exclusively online. The IFSymposium is geared towards Chinese medicine and naturopathic physicians who have an interest in treating reproductive health issues using an integrative approach. IFS 2021 date TBA

Symposium Location

Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre
515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC