The 3 Wise Hun and the 7 Po

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Have you noticed that the 7 Po have the most fabulous superhero-sounding names?

“A real knowledge of the Chinese vision of life is useful not only to understand Chinese medicine from a scholarly point of view, but also to deepen one’s practical approach and clinical skill”

Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée 

Unlock valuable treatment protocols for your patients and understand the origins of illness through the classical concepts of Hun and Po. Many conditions including emotional dysfunction, pain and lung related illnesses can be treated by correctly implementing these concepts

It is so important that TCM practitioners understand the human body, mind and spirit from classical perspectives as these are the foundations of Chinese medicine. Learning to apply them in modern clinical settings will transform the way you approach your patients and improve clinical outcomes

The classical texts that explore the concepts of Hun and Po illustrate the workings of our physical bodies and emotional health using images of spirits that roam through our body’s landscape. These spirits reside in our souls and take the form of Hun and Po. Hun makes up the Yang part of our soul whilst Po forms the Yin. Together these spirits exert influence over our physical development and wellbeing as well as our philosophical outlook and mental health. 


There are three types of Hun which form the spiritual part of our soul. These represent the intangible aspects of spirit, consciousness, and intelligence. We can visualise them as three wise that govern important aspects of our character such as sexual orientation and intellectual ability


The seven Po form a person’s physical soul and together they govern the solid tangible parts of our body, influencing our muscles, organs, circulatory systems and so on. They represent our natural instincts and ability to survive. Giovanni Maciocia said that from the point of conception until the age of three months, a baby is entirely Po; there is no Hun at all before this time.

Our Po also regulate aspects of our life such as eating, breathing, sexual activity and immunity. It also drives our more base instincts, including the desire for promiscuous sex, mindless accumulation of wealth, and overeating. With TCM it is possible to influence the direction of Po and to balance it with the more mindful energy as represented by the Hun

Incidentally the seven Po have the most fabulous superhero-sounding names such as Stinking Lung, Thief Swallower and Flying Poison!

Learn how to use concepts of Hun and Po in your clinic

Understanding the 7 Po

Effectively diagnose and treat symptoms including anxiety and depression, obsessive thoughts and nightmares by developing an understanding of Inner Alchemy (neidan 內丹) – a concept that underpins both Chinese medicine and our practice of acupuncture
An understanding of Inner Alchemy enables us to interpret mental disorders in terms of the human soul and the dynamic relationship of the Hun魂 and Po 魄.

Journey to paradise: Immortality Hun and Po 

  • Discover the symbols depicting yin and yang, Hun and Po, and different dimensions between Heaven and Earth
  • Understand the process of dying
  • Gain deep insights in the philosophical origins of Chinese Medicine

About Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée

Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée is an internationally respected scholar and translator of classical Chinese medical and philosophical texts. Born in Paris in 1949, Elisabeth studied literature, philosophy, and Chinese in Paris and Taiwan

Elisabeth’s passion for classical Chinese Medicine and philosophy, together with her dedication to teaching, make her lectures an inspiration

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