Sadness, Grief, Anger, Resentment – How Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Help

In life there are many genuine reasons to grieve, to feel sad, to get angry or to feel resentful. The death of a loved one, the loss of a job, being disregarded in your work or personal life, the ongoing challenges of the material world that we live in, not feeling fulfilled, dysfunctional relationships, broken relationships, the loss of a pet… the list is almost endless.

What makes the situation even more difficult is that in today’s society we are often under so much stress that the emotion is not given permission to vent or surface properly, which can lead to other difficult emotions and stronger feelings of sadness, grief, anger etc. and it is a self perpetuating situation.

A Look At Sadness, Grieving & Western Medicine

If you are sad or grieving and you live in a "western civilised country" then you may consider going to a doctor. Friends and family may be supportive, but as the emotion/s persists you and your support group may feel there is no better option. In many cases, depending on how the patient expresses these emotions, the doctor may decide to prescribe anti-depressants to help them.

There may be some cases where as a temporary measure this can appear to help, and unfortunately many other cases where it is the slippery slope to a dependency on prescription drugs.

Of course there are also doctors who may recommend counselling or some form of talk therapy, to give the patient the opportunity to deal with and vent the emotion/s.

Regardless of the route that is chosen, Western medicine does not recognise that certain emotions are linked to specific organs, and can therefore have either a detrimental effect or a balancing effect, depending on the degree and type of emotion experienced.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Recognises Relationships Between Emotions And Organs

However traditional Chinese medicine does recognise the relationship between emotions and organs, and it is an integral aspect of how both traditional Chinese acupuncturists and herbalists practice.

Even if you have no interest in going to a traditional Chinese medical practitioner, I have found that even by observing shifts in general well being, when you understand the inter-relationships between emotions and organs, can give some helpful indications of how to begin re-balancing these imbalances.

For example, doing something creative that you enjoy can give you these type of signals. Walking in nature can also do the same, as can reading something enriching. These are only a handful of examples of potentially balancing activities. Please note that although these are helpful, it would be highly recommended to visit a good practitioner who will help you re-balance thoroughly.

In traditional Chinese Medicine there are 7 emotions which are:

1. Anger

2. Anxiety

3. Fear

4. Fright

5. Grief

6. Joy

7. Pensiveness

Each of these is associated to a different organ or organs. Let’s look very briefly at what these are.

1. Anger which encompasses anger as we know it, as well as resentment, frustration and irritability is linked to the liver.

2. Anxiety is connected to the lungs.

3. Fear or perceived fear is linked to the kidneys.

4. Fright is a sudden experience that will initially affect the heart but over time as the fright converts into a conscious fear, then it will also affect the kidneys.

5. Grief has a direct connection to the lungs and if it passes the stage of normal initial grief and manifests into chronic grief, then it may weaken the lungs.

6. Joy is related to the heart. In traditional Chinese medicine the emotion of joy refers to an agitated overexcited state.

7. Pensiveness in TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) refers to over thinking or too much mental stimulation, which relates to the spleen.

These short snippets barely touch on the relationships, which are rather complex and also encompass the five elements (wood, earth, fire, metal and water). However my intention is to introduce the subject at this time, and to examine it in terms of the difficult emotions of sadness and grief, which is illustrated in the following case study.

A Case Study – Grief, Sadness, Stress, Anger And Resentment

A patient of Dr. Jingduan Yang, who is a fourth generation doctor of Chinese medicine, a board certified psychiatrist and a contributor to the Huffington post, is a good case study of grief, sadness, anger, resentment and stress.

This patient, whom he calls "Nancy", a woman of 30, had been suffering with lower abdomen pain for 3 months, which got worse after drinking cold drinks or eating oily food. A doctor she had attended had prescribed her medication which attacked the symptoms but not the cause, after not being able to discover any physical signs of infection, cancer, inflammation or other tangible condition.

However upon attending Dr. Jingduan Yang, it became apparent that her symptoms were indeed her friends and were desperately trying to tell her something important. "Nancy" had been ignoring the grief of losing a long term friend, which was combined with five years of stress of almost constant relocation and professional pressure.

A difficult routine, eating habits that were not conducive to a balanced life and health, married with grief, sadness, anger and resentment were brought back into balance by a combined holistic approach, which incorporated a course of acupuncture, herbal remedies, meditation, qi gong, and improved dietary and eating habits. This lady was helped to re-balance, as well as understanding the messages which her symptoms were giving and taking part in practices which gave her back more responsibility over her own health.

Grief and sadness are recognised in Chinese medicine to weaken the normal energy flow (qi) of the lungs as well as the large intestines.

Anger and resentment (a form of anger) are recognised to create blockages of energy (qi) and blood in the liver and gallbladder channels. In turn this can result in pain, mood swings, indigestion, insomnia and dysmenorrhea.

This is one case study of hundreds of thousands of studies that traditional Chinese practitioners have all around the world. Even if you feel sceptical about trying TCM, remember it has, and continues to help millions of people deal with the root cause of their imbalances and not just the symptoms. It is a great way to maintain a healthy body, mind and spirit. It can help you understand and deal with your emotions before they become chronic, and can help you re-discover parts of yourself that became drowned in pools of stress and chronic emotions.

If you have been feeling any or some of these emotions, it can be a great relief to deal with them with the aid of a good practitioner.

Introduction To Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) involves the use of Chinese herbal medicine, Acupuncture, Moxibustion, Qi gong, Tuina (Chinese massage), and a medicated diet, and is one of the world’s most ancient medical systems, with its own principles, diagnostic methods and therapies. It has become very popular in the west.

Meridians and Collaterals

TCM views the meridians and collaterals networks using Zang-Fu, which categorises tissues and organs in an organic whole. Each Zang and Fu organ transports Qi and blood, and regulates Yin and Yang, maintaining the functions and activities of all parts of the body. This system guides the diagnosis, treatment and application of all the branch subjects of TCM.

Yin and Yang

TCM also holds as its central belief that health in all parts of body is due to the relationship between Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang theory is the general principle used to classify in TCM’s holistic approach to health and disease, and also offers a clinical guide to preventing and curing disease.

Diagnosis

TCM’s diagnosis depends merely on the doctor’s sense organs to acquire clinical data. It mainly consists of the four techniques of diagnosis, namely: interrogation, inspection, auscultation (listening) and olfaction (smelling), pulse feeling and palpation.

Treatment

TCM has three basic components: Chinese herbal therapy, Acupuncture and Tuina (Chinese massage) therapy, and Diet therapy.

Chinese herbal therapy

This is based on the principle that good health depends on achieving optimum vitality and balance – a balance described in terms of the polarity of Yin and Yang.

Chinese herbs come from nature, and include flowers, stems, leaves, roots and barks. Each herb has its own specific characteristics. Their different characteristics are employed to treat disease, rectify the hyperactivity or hypoactivity of Yin or Yang, and help the body restore its normal physiological functions – consequently, curing the disease and restoring health.

Chinese herbal administration (herbal dosages and powder forms) usually depends on your condition, your constitution and age. It should be larger for serious emergencies and stubborn problems with a young and strong patient, smaller for mild problems, and with the aged, the frail, and with children and pregnant women.

The doctor will carefully select different herbal dosages or powder forms to treat you as your treatment starts, and closely monitor your progress through regular consultations. As your condition change, the treatment will be altered accordingly.

Acupuncture and Tuina therapy

These are two practical therapies in TCM. They are to regulate the meridians or channels of the body, to unblock the stagnation of Qi and blood, and balance Yin and Yang, maintaining their function, via the extraordinary points, scalp points, auricular points, and other special points by needle (in the case of Acupuncture) or by the fingers, hands and limbs of the Tuina therapist.

When using Tuina for infant and prenatal care, some special points exist besides the acupoints on the 14 meridians and extra-points. Manipulation using pushing, kneading, rubbing is mostly used.

measuring the waistline

Diet Therapy

Each food (vegetable, fruit, meal, nut, etc.) has its own specific characteristics. We can guide you to the best foods to treat your condition, in accordance with the actual condition of disease, the characters and functions of the foods, and therapeutic requirements found through the doctor’s consultation.

Other treatments

Moxibustion, Cupping therapy, Ear authority, Electrolysis, Electrotherapy (without needle) are often used. All of them work by same principles of acupuncture therapy.

What does Chinese Medicine treat?

TCM treats your mind and body as a whole, not just the condition. Using the principles of TCM, a very wide variety of conditions, and any age can be helped, including:

1.Common Internal Diseases

Anaemia, Asthma, Arthritis, Cerebral Thrombosis, Cold, Colitis, Constipation, Constipation, Cholecystitis, Coronary Heart Disease, Digestive Ulcers, Diabetes, Diarrhoea, Oedema, Flu, Gout, Headaches, Hypertension, Hyperlipoproteinemia, Hay fever, Irritable bowel syndrome, Malabsorption, Nephritis, Neurosis, Neurasthenia, Thyroid, Pneumonia, Pancreatitis, etc.

2.Women’s problems

Pre-menstrual syndrome, Painful periods, Menopausal syndromes, endometriosis, Sterility, Morning sick, Pelvic Inflammation, etc.

3.Men’s problems

Ejaculation Praecox, Hypertrophy, Low Steam Court, Impotence, Prostitutes, Sex Drive Problems.

4.Skin problems

Herpes Zoster, Contact Dermatitis, Eczema, Urticaria, Neurodermatitis, Psoriasis, Acne Vulgaris, Alopecia Areata, Resaca, etc.

5.Muscular, neurological, skeletal and vascular problems

Arthritis, Back Pain, Frozen Shoulder, Gonitis, Hemiplegia, Lumbago (lower back pain), Neuralgia, Omalgia, Sciatica, Stiff Neck Stroke, Sprain, Sports Injury, Tennis Elbow, Trigeminal, Tendon Injury, etc.

6.Mental and Emotional Problems

Anxiety, Depression, Stress, Panic Attack, Insomnia, Palpitation, etc.

7.Ear, Nose, Throat and Ophthalmic Problems

Conjunctivitis, Optic Neuritis, Myopia, Obits Media, Sore Throat, Hay Fever, Halitosis, Pharyngitis, Rhinitis, Sinusitis, etc.

8.Oncology

Liver Cancer, Lung Cancer, Gastric Cancer, etc.