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How our emotions cause illness and disease according to traditional Chinese medicine.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), emotions are one of the possible causes of disease. TCM theory holds that emotional states such as stress, anger, grief and fear can affect the body’s energy flow and lead to imbalances that can contribute to illness.

TCM views the mind and body as interconnected with emotions and physical health having a reciprocal relationship. For example, chronic stress can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue and digestive problems. Similarly, physical imbalances can cause emotional symptoms such as anxiety, depression and irritability.

Each emotion is believed to affect different organs and meridians (energy channels) in the body. For example, anger is thought to affect the liver and gallbladder meridians, while worry and overthinking are thought to affect the spleen and stomach meridians. TCM practitioners use this knowledge to diagnose and treat emotional imbalances and related physical symptoms.

Emotional traumas can have a profound impact on the body and can leave lasting effects on both physical and emotional health. The experience of trauma can activate the body’s stress response, triggering the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Over time, chronic stress and trauma can lead to changes in the body’s nervous system, immune system and other physiological processes.

In addition to these physiological changes, emotional traumas can also become “stuck” in the body’s tissues and organs, affecting the body’s energy flow and leading to imbalances and blockages in the body’s meridians (energy channels). Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) views these emotional traumas as “Qi stagnation,” where the free flow of energy in the body becomes blocked, leading to a range of physical and emotional symptoms.

For example, emotional trauma related to fear may be associated with blockages in the kidney and bladder meridians, leading to symptoms such as frequent urination, low back pain and reproductive issues. Similarly, emotional trauma related to anger may be associated with blockages in the liver and gallbladder meridians, leading to symptoms such as headaches, digestive issues and menstrual irregularities.

It’s important to note that while emotional traumas can affect the body in profound ways, it is possible to release these blockages and restore balance to the body’s energy flow. Working with an acupuncturist can help identify and address the underlying imbalances that may be contributing to physical and emotional symptoms.

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