06.19.2021 •

How does your Immune System work?

In the unprecedented times of the pandemic, immunity has been the talk of town across the globe. From professional advice to casual topics amongst friends and family, everyone is trying to find ways to strengthen their immune system in hopes of not becoming a victim of the virus. However, as I always say, understand what you are dealing with before blindly following advice, so let’s first look at how our immune system functions from a TCM standpoint.

In TCM, immunity is translated into the theory of the battle between righteous and pathogenic Qi. Righteous Qi is the energy that runs in our organs and meridians, which is what keeps our defenses up, while pathogenic Qi is any type of energy that throws our body out of balance. Hence, when our righteous Qi is strong, we have a strong enough army to fend off any type of pathogens that are trying to invade. On the contrary, when our righteous Qi is weak, practically any pathogen can launch a successful siege on our body.

In terms of organs, our immunity is dependent on the lungs, spleen & stomach, and kidneys. If our immune system is like an army, the lungs’ respiratory components make up the frontline general and fortress walls, the spleen and stomach’s digestive function becomes the supply base, and the kidneys’ storage of original Qi is the country’s treasury. In order for the army to be strong, these organs must be functioning in optimal condition, so it is pertinent to supplement them when boosting immunity.


Adrien Ip graduated from the International College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Vancouver as a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is currently a CTCMA-accredited Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Having completed his internship in Taiwan, Adrien has extensive practical experience in a hospital setting, including training in the intensive care and oncology unit. Currently, Adrien has a private practice in Vancouver and Richmond, British Columbia, focusing on internal medicine, autoimmune diseases and various complicated illnesses using a combination of herbs and acupuncture. Besides clinical practice, Adrien is also an instructor at TCICTCM, sharing his knowledge through the teaching of theoretical and clinical courses