Grief and Sorrow

Worry and Overthinking/ Anxiety- This is directly related to the functions of the paired organs of the stomach and the spleen. Most of us can relate to the idea of our digestive functions or appetite being affected by the potential of something going wrong. We even say that we have a “sinking feeling in my stomach that...” This indeed causes the stomach to fall and damages the transformative functions of the pancreas and related digestive functions which we would refer to as the Spleen. Once this is set in motion, and the stomach and spleen have become less functional, the proclivity to worry and over think may take over. This can be the wellsprings of anxiety disorders, especially if it goes on long enough to affect the functions of the kidneys as well. It is also related to insomnia, as the inability to shut off this constant sense of loss of control will make it difficult to shut off in order to go to sleep at night. I have written many related articles including: When Your Stomach is Down, You're Down; A Sinking Feeling in Your Stomach; The Swamp Inside Us; and Emotions and Your Health.



            Mainly, there are two great divisions in insomnia. The first is difficulty in going to sleep and the second is going to sleep but waking in the middle of the night and having a hard time getting back to sleep.

            The first case involves prolapse of the stomach (see articles: When Your Stomach is Down, You're Down; A Sinking Feeling in Your Stomach and Insomnia). When the stomach is in this disposition, we are unable to turn off on concerns that you may have. As you lay there, your stomach may begin to ache a little, either in the center of the solar plexus or on the left under the ribcage. This is because is the center of worry and over thinking and with the displacement of the stomach our thinking is cloudy and unable to turn off.

            In the second case, if the liver is stagnated and over congested, we will routinely fall asleep, but then wake up again sometime between 11pm and 3am and have a difficult time getting back to sleep until 4 or 5 o'clock or so. When we wake, our muscles will feel tight,  perhaps especially on the right side, as if they will never be able to stretch out. We will probably be frustrated with our inability to go back to sleep, which only makes our condition worse. See article: Your Right Side, Your Liver.

            If we wake up early in the morning, before we want to, it is usually linked to a problem with the gallbladder.

            If we can't go to sleep because we are too weak and cold, we may have to raise the yang energy  and heat up the body just enough to allow you to go to sleep.

            One of the things we discover when doing Nesshi Therapy (see article: Nesshi Therapy), is that after a long period of stress or shiftwork or burning the candle at both ends, or just couch potatoing for some length of time, the body/mind is in some kind of sleep state or fog most of the time. The maxim is that to the extent that you are awake during the day, you will sleep at night. If you are functioning during the day at a 60% alert level, your sleep will be about the same (60% deep), until you can wake up the mind completely, which can be one of the main functions of the Nesshi Therapy itself.

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Sadness of Spirit and Overjoy

Sadness of Spirit and Overjoy- This certainly describes being in love, doesn't it. The heart soars with elation and dies with despair and as an energy finds both of these forces hard to control. We all know someone like this, who is both up and down with great zeal. One minute you will see them excited and elated because all is good and something exciting has just happened. The next time you see them, their whole world may have just caved in. This type of roller coaster ride is very hard on the heart spirit. In the long run they may become weakened and a little bit susceptible to a type of nervousness and lack of confidence. Under stress of performance, meeting new people or performing in business, they may sweat easily, under the hairline, the hands and feet or the armpits and possibly even the groin area. When they sleep, they may begin to suffer from dream disturbed sleep and possibly undergo nightsweats. What is important to remember here is that this is a deficiency. So often the problem is exacerbated by western drugs that try to treat this as a mania of sorts which is an excess problem. In the long run this may indeed make the patient hotter and lead to a true mania. In this case we must consider the yin energies and the restabilization of the heart and kidney energies while calming the Liver. See the articles: Heart Yin Deficiency and Depression.

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Grief, Sadness and Longing – One of the strangest organ/emotional systems to me is the lung. In Chinese Medicine it is given the term, metal, which emotionally can be quite a hodge-podge of things that are not only disjunct in my mind, but hard to piece together. One of the things that is inescapable to me, however, is the link between lung function and grief and sadness. When someone dies or an entity that identifies our life ends, the lung can suffer if the identity is too strong. In those cases where an older couple who were very tight in life partnership ends in one of them dying, the grief becomes so strong that the bereaved person finds it difficult after a time to even take a breath. Lung people tend to look at the “good old days” wantonly, with a sense of melancholy and longing and grieve its loss with a true depression of spirit. The connection between the lung and the kidney is very strong. They have a very strong interdependence as the kidney energy is needed to pull the lung energy down and revitilization of the kidneys is somewhat dependent on the type of energy the lungs can bring in. This failing of function  certainly engenders a fear of the future and longing for the past. This kind of feeling and in the presence of such a person, one can actually feel the disparity and darkness of their spirit closing in. The late fall and into winter can be a very difficult time for a person such as this to survive. Take a look at such articles as: Our Lungs, OurFatigue; Kidneys in Support of Everything; Emotions and Our Health and Depression.

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Fear- We become fearful when the vicissitudes of life exceed our capacity to deal with them. This is when our base level of energy is low, or as we say in Chinese Medicine, the Kidney energy is low. This always represents a deficiency and so the progress of the condition from a person who is dynamic to one that is low in energy and fearful, may be subtle and go without notice until it overwhelms us. Usually, accompanying symptoms will be a low backache and morning stiffness. The knees and the ankles may suffer as well. Our sense of loss of willpower or will to get things done may be the last straw. In the extreme, our fear may progress to the level of outright panic and may couple with a weakened stomach or spleen energy to allow for the onset of “panic attacks.” In the short term, we may become easily startled or afraid to face each coming day. If we are kidney yang deficient, we will be cold during the day and if kidney yin deficient, hot at night. The worse time for the kidney energy to remain strong is in the winter, and kidney yang deficiency overcome by the fear of cold, is often presented as SAD syndrome (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Often, the person starts with one condition and progresses to the other eventually. To read more on the general nature of the kidney energy read: Kidneys in Support of Everything. There is also a small article expanding what I am saying here called: Anxiety and Panic Attacks. You might also read the article: Emotions and Your Health and Depression.

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Anger, Resentment and Frustration- This is tied to the functions of the Liver or Gallbladder. In fact, in the annals of literature the tendency to be peevish our easily upset is termed as being “liverish.” Through stress affecting the liver, we say that the energy of the body becomes congested and stops moving. We get this feeling that our ribcage is closing in on us and that we are becoming mentally and physically compressed. We may try to take deep breaths or sigh to relieve this constriction. Of course many people will turn to alcohol or some other to “relax” the nervous system, but in the long run may do more damage and put off the actual solution. Liver people are bad sleepers, waking in the night or even sleeping lightly or just barely sleeping, which also keeps the situation turning on itself. It is important to break the cycle, get back to deep sleep and control the triggers that make us react to our environment with anger or resentment. See articles: Your Right Side, Your Liver and Emotions and Your Health.

Lakelands Acupuncture,  221 Martin St. ,  Penticton, British Columbia V2A 5K2,  (250) 492-2224
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The Mind and Body Are One


      It is amazing to me just how accurately the progenitors of Chinese Medicine have tied together the emotional and physical bodies. For years I thought this was a moot analogy, but now realize that the physical dysfunctions of the body closely follow our emotional manifestations. In time, as these become physically inset in our selves, the proclivity to stay in a particular emotional set becomes entrenched and comes out more than we like. Below we explore some of these relationship and although none of us are totally one particular set, by cross referencing the physical and emotional selves, we begin to see a real correlation how we feel and our more basic dysfunctions.