Calm your Mind by using your Body: the Mind-Body Connection of Chinese Medicine

mental health is important in Traditional Chinese medicineOur mental health is extremely important to ensure that our physical bodies are functioning well. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) identifies all emotions as having the potential to disrupt our mental health and become pathogenic. Everything from anger, joy, overthinking, grief, and fear can be the root cause of many physical symptoms in TCM when experienced out of balance.

mental health TCMMost people will seek health advice from a professional to address the physical concerns that they are experiencing without even realizing the mental connection. And while a quick cure (usually in the form of a prescription medication) might take those physical symptoms away temporarily, they are likely to keep recurring until the root cause is dealt with.

How can Acupuncture help?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each emotion is said to resonate with a specific organ in the body. To address the mental imbalance, Chinese medicine can use herbs that work with the organ or acupuncture to treat this root cause. For example, to help treat insomnia due to over thinking late at night, TCM diagnosis would look for an imbalance with the Spleen. Another common example is stress-induced indigestion: TCM diagnosis would look for an imbalance with the Liver.

This table displays further organ and emotion connections:

our organs and our emotions are tied together

Let’s further explore the relationship between anger and the Liver to understand the interaction of emotion and the body.

First off, excessive anger, whether it be situational or repeated outbursts, injures the Liver, which leads to symptoms of either Liver heat or Liver yang rising.

These symptoms can include dry, red eyes, red face, dry mouth, heart palpitations, and insomnia (as the Liver directly interacts with the heart). On the other hand, a liver imbalance can also show up emotionally as “being short” or becoming irritated very easily.

Regardless of whether the problem starts as an emotion or as an organ imbalance, acupuncture and herbal treatment can help to balance and correct the problem.

liver-heart connection

With TCM and acupuncture, there is no question as to whether to treat the mind at the same time as the body: their connection is vital in the results of a treatment. And while the body may often feel the effects of mental imbalance, the ability to use the body to heal the mind should not be overlooked.

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Cheryl Lee

About Cheryl Lee

I'm a Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor and Acupuncturist in Calgary at the Healthy By Nature clinic. I draw upon techniques and a methodology from a time-tested, 3000-year-old practice to bring your body back into balance with its health. I also write for the Acupuncture Calgary blog, here on the site. You can read more about me here.

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