Emotions hold much importance in Chinese Medicine. Acupuncturists and Chinese Medicine practitioners don’t view emotions as a separate area, but inclusive in an individuals overall health and wellbeing. When consulting patients even if they are seeking treatment for a sore shoulder I always ask about my patients emotional state. It may seem irrelevant to the patient at the time however my role as their Acupuncturist is to evaluate all aspects of their health – physical, mental and emotional. Emotional wellbeing is an integral part of an individuals overall health and wellness.
In Chinese Medicine each organ is associated with an emotion which when unbalanced causes specific signs and symptoms. Emotions are a natural part of everyday life. It is perfectly normal to experience various emotions throughout a day, we can experience joy only to feel frustrated hours later. Problems arise when emotions become excessive or repressed and shoved aside. It is at this point where illness begins to arise. As an example when holding on to anger over a long period of time temporal headaches may begin to occur frequently.
Sometimes when a particular organ is unbalanced an emotion may arise. However, emotional imbalance can disrupt the organ as well. A very common cause of emotional imbalance is repressed emotions. If emotions aren’t being expressed what occurs is that this internalisation leads to stagnation of Qi (Energy) flow leading to the development of disease and disharmony within the body.
The thing with emotions is that they dont have avenues for release and therefore if they aren’t allowed to be expressed and released can create disease in the body showing up as a physical sign or symptom.
Lets look at 5 Yin organs and the emotions they are linked…
Emotion – Joy
If emotion is out of balance – Feelings of being unsettled, easily startled, mental restlessness, lack of enthusiasm, lack of vitality, feelings of depression and melancholy, insomnia, confusion and anxiety. Bitter taste in mouth all day, tongue ulcers at tip.
If organ is out of balance – Insomnia, palpitations, spontaneous sweating, excessive dreaming, poor memory and concentration, dizziness.
Emotion – Worry
If emotion is out of balance – Overthinking, focusing on a particular thought constantly.
Organ out of balance – Tired, lack of appetite, bloating/abdominal distention, loose stools, poor digestion, mucus/phlegm formation, difficulty concentrating and focusing, weakness of muscles, pale lips, mentrual issues such as excessive bleeding, oedema, craving sweets, possible prolapse of organs.
Emotion – Sadness
Emotion out of balance – Excessive sadness and grief, lots of tears/crying.
Organ out of balance – Shortness of breath, cough, pale complexion, tiredness, low immunity hence easily catches colds, sore throat, runny nose, headaches, chest oppression/fullness, dry skin, weak voice, cold hands, dull hair.
Emotion – Fear
Emotion out of balance – Feeling fearful even without danger or reason, no or lack of willpower, feeling insecure.
Organ out of balance – Weak/brittle bones, frequent urination, urinary incontinence, fertility issues, breathlessness, chronic asthma, poor hearing, tinnitus, early greying of hair, hair loss, vertigo, night sweats, lower back and knee pain, short term memory loss, dry mouth.
Emotion – Anger
Emotion out of balance – Anger, feelings of frustration and irritability, restentment, bitterness, mooodiness.
Organ out of balance – Menstrual issues such as pain + blood clotting, bitter taste in mouth, chest distention, red face, ringing of ears, yellow jaundice complexion, headaches especially temporal in location, nausea, vomiting, excessive sighing, breast tenderness, blurred vision/floaters in front of eyes, dry skin and hair.
The above information is extremely valuable to Chinese Medicine practitioners in determining where our patients disharmony is occurrring and hence our course of treatment. This includes providing patient lifestyle advice which encompasses diet, movement/exercise advice and stress management.
Chinese Medicine is centred around balance and flow. There is an old Chinese proverb that states “Where there is free flow, their is no pain, where there is pain there is no free flow” and hence where the basis of its philosophy lies.