Dreams in TCM


Traditional Chinese Medicine has a unique view on how dreams are portrayed. Each dream theme is connected in some way to a particular organ or emotion of the human. Dreams express when there are excess and/or deficiency relating to particular zangfu organs. A big part of TCM is learning how to create balance in all areas of a persons life. Dreams are definitely psychological in nature, but also are a great way to detect the persons physical and mental wellbeing. TCM is holistic in nature and the spiritual, physical, and mental aspects of a person are interconnected and all influence each other very much so. “Reoccurring dreams give strong indication of our current health, telling us about our desires, fears, and emotional states” (handout 6). The Yellow Emperors book states that when a pathogen enters the internal organs it may be reflected during dreams. So I reflect on various dreams I have recently had and explain the meaning of the dreams in TCM terms.

To start, I summarize the dreams and give details on the TCM explanation of each dream as described in handout 6 from our notes. I explain the dreams not in detail, just in a narrow sense just to get straight to the point.  I have had thousands of dreams but I will focus on the following dreams: fighting, anger, chaos, death, a baby, happiness, sorrow, crying, sex, and food.  To analyze these dreams according to TCM and how it relates to the various organs, I found, my dreams may relate to the gallbladder, spleen, liver, heart, kidney, and lung. The fighting dream indicates the rising of liver qi or gallbladder qi, this may be connected to some food stagnation or hypertension. Anger in dream typically means there is restlessness, excess of the liver and gallbladder, stagnation of the liver qi, and wind heat symptoms present. The chaos dream leaves one feeling tiresome, it indicates deficiency of the spleen and heart or disharmony between the heart and kidney, which is common in cases of insomnia and neurosis. The death dream may indicate big change is near. If there is fear of death there is fear of change. Death dream is not to be feared or seen as a bad dream, death means re-life, without death there is no life.  The babies dream was a happy dream and happiness in dreams indicates harmonious movement of qi and blood.  The baby in dream represents new things and new changes, there is a new phase of life, a new life on the horizon, it represents the innocent parts of ourselves, and the wellness or health of the baby represents how well our life will be, in a prophetic sense. The sorrow in my dream indicates deficiency of heart qi, lung qi, and liver yin which may be connected to depression, with symptoms of shortness of breath.   To the contrary, weeping indicates excessive lung qi, so there may also be symptoms of sneezing and stuffy nose (Joyce, Marley, 2010).  The heart organ houses the mind, also all emotions influence the heart and mind, thus sadness impairs lung qi, also depleting heart qi. The sex in the dream is the stirring of the ministerial fire and down ward movement of the damp heat. The food dream may indicate weakness of spleen, strong stomach fire, and stomach yin deficiency.

In conclusion, I did not go over every possible organ and dream scenario, but this gives you a good idea what and how the dreams are connected to the organ systems of the body or to various emotional states.  I feel that dreams influence our emotions and our emotions influence our dreams. Its possible that dreams may set the mood for the next day. For instance, how the chaotic dream made for a bad day, and the pleasant dreams created a happy mood the next day. I find it very important how we spend our time before sleep, for this has influenced what kind of dream I have had. For instance, the night I was contemplating death, I dreamt about death.

Thank you for taking time to read this. Sleep takes up 1/3 of our life, its important to analyze our sleeping habits and our dream patterns to get a bigger picture of our health.

Leslie Stangler


Joyce, Marley, 2010. Retrieved from:


Class handout 6

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