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Emotional Health

Understanding Emotions by using Chinese Medicine

It is necessary to recognise that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has many fundamental differences to Western Science Medicine when it comes to approaching the human mind, behaviour, and emotions. The Western Science Medicine precept of mind, behaviour, and emotions is based on Descartes philosophical concept of Dualism, which holds that the Mind and body are separate.

All non-physical aspects such as emotions, thought, behaviour, personality and beliefs belong to the mind. Within the Western Medical framework, little attention has been paid to somatopsychic disorders, disorders in the emotional or mental state, which have arisen as a direct result of physical illness.

From the Chinese Medical perspective, there has never been a distinctive line drawn between Mind in addition to Body. The interpenetration and interdependence of Mind and Body is emphasised rather than their separation. In Traditional Chinese Medical thought, emotional and mental functions arise from internal organs and from interactions between the organs and the sensory orifices. E.g. In the case of an individual‚ hearing voices‚ seeing things, it is seen as a disturbance in the communication between the Heart and the sensory orifices.

A generalised relationship between the internal organs and their associated emotional states is represented in the following table.

Organ Healthy Unhealthy
Heart – Joy alert; mentally clear; well orientated; enthusiastic; happy dazed; confused; disorientated; hallucinating; unconscious
Spleen – Reflection good concentration; learns quickly; well organiser poor concentration; slow learner; sloppy
Lung – Grief loves outdoors; loves travel; optimistic; adventurous; adapts easily stays indoor; stays at home; pessimistic; dispirited; holds on to past
Kidney – Fear intelligent; determined; perseveres despite fear dull; stupid; runs out of steam; fearful
Liver – Anger initiative; creativity; effective goal setting; flexibility; good problem solving skills depressed; frustrated; poor planing; inflexible; easily angered
Gall Bladder – Fright efficient decision making; sound judgement; appropriately assertive; lacks confidence; indecisive; timid; self-effacing; low self-esteem; aggressive

In descriptions of the signs and symptoms of mental or emotional disorders in chinese Medicine, there is always a mixture of physical and mental signs and symptoms due to the lack of Dualism in its development.

The concept of integration of mind and body is fundamental and permeates through every aspect of theory and practice in Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM provides a useful conceptual framework for understanding the workings of the human mind / body / spirit as an integrated organism rather than as separate parts.

Clinical Treatment

So how are feelings of depression, anxiety, and low self esteem (to name a few of the most common ones) treated using Chinese Medicine?

In our acupuncture clinic, we use a combination of acupuncture and often Chinese herbal formulas to get the best results. We also ofter dietary recommendations and an analysis of your life style to find other contributing factors.

Treating the emotions can sometimes be a very complex process, however most of this is due to the confusion people face as to how deal with the emotions, we can also give guidance in this area if requested.

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