Today I have a very special blog post by Laura Burns, Registered Acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner. I was first introduced to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in my late teens when I was feeling helpless struggling with my health. At that time I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, along with other physical health complications such as hormonal imbalances and digestive issues. TCM helped me understand my body in a way that I hadn’t before, and greatly helped me during this time. Since then, I turn to TCM and Acupuncture when I feel that I need some extra support to balance out my body. For the past few years Laura has been my Acupuncturist and has helped me a lot so you can only imagine my excitement when she agreed to write a little blog post sharing her wisdom. Without further delay, here is Laura!
Acupuncture & Emotions
by Laura Burns
I was out with a friend the other night, telling him about this amazing medicine that I practice. He asked what kinds of conditions I have been treating in clinic, so I proceeded to list the ailments that have shown up in clinic lately, from back pain to constipation to anxiety. My friend stops me right there and asks, incredulously, “ You use acupuncture to treat anxiety?”
Though he was surprised to hear that acupuncture could be used to treat anxiety, this was more of an eye-opener moment for me than it was for him. His question made me realize that I need to get the word out: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is not only used for conditions that affect our physical health, but it is also very effective in working with imbalances that affect our mental-emotional health.
According to Chinese Medicine, our spirit and our emotions cannot be separated from our body. Each organ is seen as a whole system rather than just the physiological function of the organ, and each organ system has its own associated emotion. With this in mind, it is an important piece of information for a practitioner to know how a patient feels on an emotional level as well.
Emotions themselves are not harmful. They are natural and healthy and beautiful guides in our life, as long as they are moving through us and do not become ‘stuck’ or overstay their welcome. Fear, for example, is necessary because it alerts us to dangerous situations and causes us to act accordingly. However, an excess of fear that won’t leave us alone can cause serious disruptions in one’s quality of life – possibly even affecting our ability to leave the house or do daily activities. Chinese medicine looks at the organ system that this emotion is tied to, and works on the body from that perspective.
The ﬁve main organ systems in Chinese Medicine and their associated emotions are as follows:
Lungs – grief, sadness, loss
Spleen/Pancreas – worry, overthinking
Heart – over-excited, excess joy, anxiousness
Liver – anger, frustration, depression
Kidneys – fear, shock
As you can see, these emotions cannot be separated from their organs systems. Experiencing an emotion affects its associated organ system, and an imbalance in an organ system affects its associated emotion. It’s a two-way street: working with emotions can help balance organ systems, and working with organ systems can help balance emotions.
Chinese medicine looks at the entire being, in a holistic manner. There are various acupuncture points for both our organs and their spirits. For example, a commonly used acupuncture point on the wrist for settling anxiety is translated as “Spirit Gate”.
Including our mental-emotional health is just one of the ways Chinese Medicine earns its holistic title (emotions not sold separately!). Give it a try… see how you feel.
Laura is a Registered Acupuncturist & Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner, practicing out of two clinics in downtown Toronto. Laura found her way to traditional medicine through a personal quest to improve her well-being (physically, emotionally, spiritually) and deepen her connection to the natural world. Now, she is fuelled by a desire to empower others in improving their own health and vitality. She has a particular focus on treating digestive conditions, women’s health concerns, stress and anxieties. For more info: www.lauraburns.ca
Thank you so much to Laura! I really urge you to visit Laura’s website to learn more about her and her practice. If you have never tried acupuncture I suggest you try it out, you may love it as much as I do!