How Emotions Affect our Health
Most of us are aware of how certain illnesses are caused by stress such as hypertension, ulcers, back and shoulder pain, migraines and headaches; but many of us do not realize that virtually every physical illness has a strong emotional component,. Chinese Medicine considers the fact that every disease can arise from and/or affect one’s emotional state.
In fact, there are 5 emotions to which Chinese Medicine gives serious consideration and they correspond to the 12 energy channels of the body. These 5 emotions are:
- Fear, fright and shock, which causes kidney and bladder meridian disturbances
- worry or over-contemplation, which cause stomach and spleen meridian disturbances.
- Sadness or grief, causing lung and large intestine meridian imbalances
- Anger or frustration or depression, causing liver and gall bladder meridian imbalances, and
- overexcitement, causing heart and small intestine meridian imbalances.
It is so important to realize that Chinese Medicine recognizes that one’s emotional state can cause disease, and yet one’s disease can also cause a certain emotional state. What is even more interesting is the ability of Chinese Medicine to handle severe emotional states, such as manic depression, nervous breakdown, depression, psychotic states, schizophrenia and many others.
Many of the acupuncture points and herbs are so named for their ability to nurture the heart and pacity of the spirit. Their effect is much more soothing than a sedative, because they do not make the patient severely drowsy or have undesirable side effects. For example, one of these points is called Shen Men, which means, “Calm the Heart and Spirit”.
Chinese Medicine discriminates between two classes of sedatives. The first are stronger sedatives or tranquilizers which are usually minerals such as oyster shell or hematite which more effectively calms the mind. The second classification consists of mild sedative herbs which usually possess strengthening properties, such as ziziphus and polygala. They calm and nourish the heart and are better suited for weaker types and less acute conditions. These herbs which can be used in psychiatric disorders can vary in intensity, and are strong enough to be used to avoid hospitalization in a psychiatric ward.
However, it is essential that these herbs be used in a balanced formula, depending on the nature of the person’s disorder. For example, 2 individuals with acute anxiety states may need both oyster shell and dragon bone, but one may have accompanying symptoms of back pain and night sweats and the other may have extreme fatigue, indigestion and anemia. These patients would get precisely different herbal formulas and acupuncture points. The first would get a kidney, heart strengthening formula and the second would get a spleen, blood, heart strengthening formula. It is precisely this type of individual specificity allows Chinese Medicine to be so amazingly effective in treating mental disorders.
In conclusion, Chinese Medicine offers a unique alternative to conventional Western treatment methods for stress and mental disorders, because there are no side effects, the herbs are non-addicting and the rest of their accompanying physical symptoms are also treated very successfully.