Acupuncture, Emotions and Stress.
One of the interesting concepts in Chinese Medicine is that Different Emotions can affect different organ systems in our bodies. Using the western approach we look at stress more from the perspective of adrenal glad hyperactivity (long term stress will put our nervous system in Sympathetic mode which is also called ‘fight or flight’, will affect the adrenal glad – and might cause hyper tension and other issues), from the western medicine perspective we can also look at stress from a psychological point of view.
From the eastern medicine perspective Chinese Medicine will say that different kinds of stress and different kinds of emotions will affect us in different ways. This is clinically relevant since the treatment of different kinds of stress will be according to what kind of emotion is afflicting us.
The relationship between the emotions and the organ is as follow:
Liver relates to anger and stress in general, it is the element of wood (more like bamboo ) which is the energy of movement and growth, whenever our Qi / ‘life force’ gets stuck in our body the energy of liver will be involved. The involvement of liver organ system can be demonstrated by checking the radial pulse, palpating the liver organ and finding tightness or by other signs and symptoms that Chinese Medicine specifies. Qi ‘Stagnation’ – is defined as a situation when our Qi or Blood are not moving properly. Almost any stress in the system will influences the liver energy and will cause temporary Qi stagnation.
Kidney relates to Fear and the water element (when we are afraid we might urinate or might have weak knees – kidney control the lower back and the knees and relates to the bladder organ (both belong to the water element), kidney also relates to bone, bone marrow and the brain.
Heart is the emperor and is affected by cumulative affect of all the emotions together but especially the heart is affected by over joy or lack of Joy.
Spleen is mostly about digestion energy in the body and the element of earth, even ‘digesting an idea’ is affected by the spleen energy. What can imbalance the spleen is over thinking or having sticky thoughts. (Obsessive thoughts).
and finally, the Lungs are about grief and loss and sadness – depression and belong to the Metal element.
Treating these organs via meridian relationship using acupuncture will have a positive effect on your emotions, on the organ system themselves and on the structures that the organ energy nourishes (i.e. – kidney bones and brain, liver – blood, lung – immune system, spleen – digestion, heart – circulation)
It is said in Chinese Medicine that Liver organ system and the Gall Bladder organ systems are affected by anger – frustration and resentment, also it is said that the Gall Bladder meridian controls the sides of the body, where the meridian ‘flows’.
One of my clients had a chronic pain on the sides of her ribs for around 20 years, she tried every type of treatment she could think of such as; Physiotherapy, Chiropractic and Massage Therapy; but the pain kept on persisting at the side of her ribs. She decided to try acupuncture by an acupuncturist for the 1st time.
Observing her behavior and asking her about her childhood I came to the conclusion that she holds a lot of resentment in her body.
Since TCM talks about the relationship between Gall Bladder- Liver and Resentment, I needled one Acupuncture point on her left foot (GB41) it was a point on her Gall bladder meridian. When I palpating the area of pain at the side of her left rib cage, The patient and myself have both realized that the pain that was there a minute ago was completely gone!!!
Later on during her 1st acupuncture session, she felt the emotion of resentment coming up in her body and then she felt this emotion diminishing and clearing from her body.
The pain on the side of her ribs kept on improving and she realized her pain was not due to a structural issue but due to stuck emotions in her body.
Clearing stuck emotions from a patient’s body is quite a common experience in my practice, I try to work on as many levels that I am able to with my clients, in order to help alleviate their symptoms and in order to help them feel more comfortable in their own body.
Acupuncture research in regards to depression
“A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicinefound that electroacupuncture – in which a mild electric current is transmitted through the needles – was just as effective as fluoxetine (the generic name of Prozac) in reducing symptoms of depression.”