We all know that we need to keep our emotions in check to stay healthy. In today's fast paced, highly strung society, this can be hard to do. Most parents have no help at home. People work overtime just to provide for their families. The levels of stress within our society are immense. In Chinese medicine, there are 7 major emotions that are the main pathogenic factors of endogenous diseases. They are: grief, shock, joy, worry, pensiveness, anger and fear. It must be said that under general circumstances, these specific emotions will not cause disease. It is only when these emotions become constant â€˜stimulants' that they can then instigate endogenous diseases. Through thousands of years of clinical evidence, acupuncturists know that specific emotions will effect different organs.
Anger and the Big, Bad Liver
This is one we all have seen before: the college frat boy stumbling out of the bar after a few too many drinks. Someone says to the boy: â€˜you look nice tonight.' The boy completely misunderstands the compliment and rages into a massive fit, thinking the person said he looks like Vanilla Ice tonight! This is a great example on how a certain emotion can stem from an organ imbalance. Opposite to this, anger can also cause a liver imbalance. So emotions can be caused by an organ imbalance or can cause the imbalance themselves; either way, this often leads to self-perpetuating cycles. Other emotions associated with the liver are irritability, depression, and mood swings. When a bout of anger occurs, the circulation and Qi will rise to the head, resulting in red eyes, headaches, and sometimes dizziness. When someone has repressed anger, the circulation and detox pathways in the liver become â€˜stuck' and this can cause depression or menstrual disorders.
The Kidney Is Scared!
Fear is related to the kidneys. When you were young, do you remember being terrified at that monster under the bed? In children, this can manifest as bed-wetting, which most psychologists have regarded as signs of anxiety. Just to clarifyâ€¦ there were never any monsters under my bed!
The Grad School Student's Pensive And Worried Spleen
I'm currently over-thinking as I write this blog post. As a result my spleen is not too happy. The spleen controls the level of our intellect and thus when we overthink or worry excessively, the spleen will be impacted. Because the spleen's major role is instigating the breakdown of food and its nutrients, when the spleen is injured, symptoms such as fatigue, loose stools, poor appetite, and bloating after eating will occur.
I'm Shocked You're Such a Killjoy!
Sorry to say, but even joy in excess can cause endogenous problems. The disorders from this emotion are normally caused by the imbalance that comes from too much stimulation or excitement, or even sudden good news that can cause a shock to the system. Have you ever heard of the person having a heart attack upon realizing they has won the lottery? Upon moments of shock, the fight or flight response is regulated by the adrenal glands. The excessive release of adrenaline will stimulate the heart to palpate faster. Over a period of time, it is obvious that both shock and excessive joy can cause further medical issues.
A graduation or marriage is obviously a happy occasion, but also a source of stress. Someone who is always â€˜on the go' living a life of excess can eventually develop heart imbalances such as anxiety, insomnia, and palpitations. So try not to get married every week and graduate every other week!
Grief And The Lung
The famous Deepak Chopra discuses how asbestos and grief affect the body in similar ways on the quantum level. The feeling is of a dense and heavy sensation in the heart ribs and lungs. Many patients feel grief as physical sensations. Aside from the feeling of heaviness in the chest, patients notice painful rib-cages, frequent sighing, or a lump in the throat. In Chinese medicine, grief is the underlying cause for most chronic lung problems and it is quite common for symptoms to appear within the first year after losing a loved one.
Kristien Boyle L.Ac.,MSOM.,Dipl.O.M.,Dipl.C.H.,Dipl.Ac. runs The Holistic Wellness Center of Charlotte. Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Herbology services are available.