A great man is one who does not loose his child’s heart
Mencius 350 BC
Metabolism comes from the Greek word “metabole” which means to “change”. Metabolism is a set of life-sustaining transformations which include conversion of oxygen, water and food into fuel and energy; the conversion of foods into the building blocks of life, and the elimination of toxic waste. The word metabolism also refers to the sum of all chemical reactions that occur in living organisms: digestion, transport of nutrients into the cells, the transformation of toxic waste out of cells, cellular respiration, reproduction, hormonal regulation, sleep and emotional centeredness. Metabolism is thus a symphony orchestra playing out the concerto of life.
Chinese medicine sees metabolism in very similar terms, but the terms are energetic in nature: the energy of food, drink and breath, (Gu qi) are metabolized and transformed into different kinds of organ energy, spleen, pancreas and stomach energy (Pi qi), immune energy (Wei qi), liver energy (Gan qi), nutritional energy (Ying qi), heart energy (Shen qi) as well as genetic or ancestral energy (Yuan qi) and so on.
Thus, the eastern paradigm is one of energy and energetic transformations following the laws of biophysics; the western paradigm of metabolism is one of biochemistry and molecular reactions. Both paradigms are valid and mutually inclusive. The differences lie in the overall therapeutic approach.