Application of Shanghan Lun Formulas Along the Five Movements and Six Qi of the Neijing

‘Five Movements and Six Qi’ wuyun liuqi 五運六氣is the common name of a theoretical system that documents patterns in meteorological changes observed during the sixty year Chinese calendar, and how these changes affect human beings subject to these influences. The system also describes basic guidelines for the herbal medicine treatment of the conditions caused by these six influences.

The theory was documented in chapters 66-71 and 74 of the Suwen. These seven chapters, which make up approximately one third of the entire text, originally existed as a separate work titled the Yinyang Dalun 陰陽大論 or Great Treatise on Yin and Yang which was referenced in Zhang Zhongjing’s preface to the Shanghan Lun. The chapters were rediscovered after being lost between Han and Tang dynasties and added back into the corpus of the Neijing by Wang Bing in his 762 CE edition.

The Shanghan Lun is the first clinical handbook explaining the treatment of this kind of disorders caused by external invasion. The disease manifestations, as well as their transmutation and progression with time, are described in great detail in the Shanghan Lun, as is their treatment with the canonical herbal formulas.

The Yun Qi system is unique as the grandfather of all time-based, also referred to as chrono-biological, methods in Chinese medicine. It applies the sixty year lunisolar calendar to calculate and create a forecast model of the prevailing meteorological conditions of each year, from which medical insights can be gained.

The Chinese calendar is based on millennia of astronomical observations and whilst it is often applied to attempt Fate Calculation, the Yun Qi is not an astrological or divinatory technique. It is a time-based medical theory that provides the clinician with verifiable data that translates into practical clinical insight and solutions. For more than a thousand years, since its peak of popularity in the Song Dynasty, the system has influenced prognosis, diagnosis, pathology, pathophysiology, epidemiology and herbal treatment in Chinese Medicine.

The ‘Five Movements’ correlate to the Five Elements, or Five Phases, and form the overall underlying weather pattern of a given year. They are determined by the ten Heavenly Stems tiangan 天干. The ‘Six Qi’ are often referred to as the Six Pernicious Influences and correspond with the system of Six Conformations liujing 六經. The calculation of their appearance during different times of the year is done using the Twelve Earthly Branches dizhi 地支. This makes it possible to forecast unseasonable and potentially extreme weather visiting the regular seasons. As such, these ever-changing qi are commonly referred to as the ‘Guest’ weather, in relation to the more stable and regular ‘Host’ weather of every season. When this information is correctly analyzed, the Neijing provides a therapeutic action plan for the prescription of herbal formulas with a set palate of flavors for each scenario.
This seminar will not only teach us the already calculated weather patterns and their possible pathologies for the next sixty years, it will also correlate the flavor palates to Zhang Zhongjing’s formulas.

The first part of this seminar will introduce the system in historical context and lay the foundation for calculations through understanding of the following basic doctrines:

  • Yellow River Chart
  • Luo River Writing
  • 8 Trigrams
  • 10 Stems
  • 12 Branches
  • Sexagenary Calendar Cycle

Further, it instructs on the key aspects of the Lunisolar Calendar:

  • 24 Seasonal Nodes
  • 28 Asterisms

The second part of the seminar will investigate and chart the base climates and primary pathologies correlating with the Five Movements and Six Qi. During this part, we will also explore interactions and combinations in the charts and the role of local observation (including Northern versus Southern Hemisphere considerations) in modifying the findings, with reference to pulse diagnosis.

Finally, a monograph for each of the sixty years will be presented with a strong emphasis on the conformations affected, flavor dynamics and formula selection, mirroring Zhang Zhongjing and our lineage founder Dr. Tian Heming’s applications of the system.

This seminar is the explanation of the full system on how to read and interpret the movement and qi of each year, in order to better understand the weather patterns unfolding annually, allowing you to understand their role in your patients’ pathology and subsequently improve your formula choice, or modification thereof.

The course is co-taught by Arnaud Versluys and Tyler Rowe. Tyler has both a Bachelor of Acupuncture, and a Bachelor of Chinese Herbal Medicine from the Victoria University of Technology. He is a Diplomate in Canonical Chinese Medicine, graduated from the former Melbourne branch of ICEAM in 2013. He has years of experience in researching Chinese cosmological studies and traditional geomancy and has purposely developed this training for ICEAM.

Arnaud will teach the Shanghan Lun parts of the seminar, using instructions from both the regular Shanghan lines, as well as Chapter Three of the Song version of the Shanghan Lun. Tyler Rowe will instruct of the Neijing theory of the system and the actual monographs.


30 credits (15 CH + 15 OM)