Stress has long been the subject of much research and speculation. It is common knowledge that certain stressful events affect how we feel physiologically. Drs. Holmes and Rahe of the University of Washington have devised a scale of stressful events, where hundreds of persons of varying ages and backgrounds ranked the relative amount of adjustment required to meet a series of life events. The events ranked as most stressful were divorce and death of a spouse. Change to a different line of work, and change in number of arguments were ranked at different levels. Change, according to this study, be it good or bad, causes stress to a human being, leaving him or her more susceptible to disease.
Chinese Medicine is one of the most effective methods for treating stress related problems. Some of the health problems caused by stress include ulcers, hypertension, impotence, incontinence, colitis, reduced resistance to infection, possible tumor promotion, amenorrhoea (lack of menstruation), stroke, heart attack, skin disorders, migraines, insomnia, heart palpitations, depression, irritability, chest pain, and much more.
The Chinese Medical view of stress is that excessive emotional stimulation or suppression sets up an imbalance of the basic life force energy called “Chi”, thereby injuring the body and producing disease. The emotions involved in stress to which Chinese medical theory gives special attention include: anger, depression, overexcitement, sorrow, fear, shock, brooding and anxiety. In Chinese medical theory, anger and depression affect the liver. Overexcitement affects the heart. Sorrow and grief affect the lung, while fear and shock affect the kidney. Brooding and worry and excessive thinking affect the spleen.
Thus, it is not hard to understand why people who express or suppress anger or depression are prone to liver disorders, which include hypertension, headaches, skin eruptions and insomnia. People who experience overexcitement or “broken hearts” are prone to heart disorders such as heart palpitations, strokes, heart attacks, depression and insomnia. Sorrow and grief leads to lung disorders such as bronchitis, sinus infections, colds and asthma. Those who experience fear and shock are prone to kidney disorders, such as incontinence, back and knee pain. Finally, people who worry and think too much get spleen disorders or digestive problems.
However, it is not all quite this black and white. Every person’s response to stress is in some ways unique. The most frequent type of debilitation that people experience with high degrees of stress is a consequence of an interaction between the weakest link in their genetic constitution, and the emotion which they are most frequently experiencing or suppressing. For example, two people may harbor anger as a response to their stress. One may have a genetic tendency to have liver imbalances and therefore may have migraine headaches. The other individual, as a consequence of the genetic tendency towards kidney deficiency, will have back pain instead.
Whatever the reaction, it my be modified and attenuated with Chinese medical treatments. Then, the individual can express their emotions without being overwhelmed, while feeling calmer and focused enough to deal with their problems.
As the treatments help to change the physiological imbalance that the stress created, the person’s psychological reaction to stress is naturally changed, so that both the body and mind are restored to proper homeostatic balance. The individual feels able to cope with problems and is encouraged to make any changes in the lifestyle that decrease the stress in their lives. These changes become much easier that before, because the combines acupuncture and herbal treatments have affected both physiological and psychological changes in the person’s body and psyche.