Managing emotional stress

In a recent blog, I wrote about the importance of managing emotional stress and I wanted to share one very powerful tool that TCM can offer, called the “Aggressive Energy Treatment”.

Before I get into that though, I want to be very clear that if there are any mental or emotional issues that are at the root of emotional stress, these issues need to be addressed, often with the help of a trained professional. The ideas I present here are a way of defusing some of the overwhelming intensity of emotional stress so that you can be functional and keep working on the issues at hand.

In Chinese Medicine, every organ system is associated with a particular emotion:

  • The Liver with anger
  • The Spleen with worry, pensiveness or ruminating thoughts
  • The Kidney with fear
  • The Lungs with grief
  • The Heart is affected by all emotions as well as by joy*.

We can use acupuncture to help regulate these emotions by needling points that are strongly associated with the organs mentioned above. There is a group of very powerful points called the “Back Shu Points” that run down the back, each corresponding to a particular organ and thereby to a particular emotion. Using these points in a single treatment is a gentle way of releasing emotional ‘stuckness’ and I often think of it as a reset button. It clears out the old, stuck energy of harbored emotion thereby helping us gain some peace and possibly new perspective on the problem creating the emotional stress we’re experiencing. Again it should not be thought of as a substitute for healing the issues at the core of the problem but can be helpful when someone has experienced strong psychological a/or emotional stress. 

  * A note about Joy:

 At first I was quite confused about why ‘joy’, which I consider a positive experience , would be listed as affecting the heart, when all the other emotions associated with the organs were more negative. With further reading, I now see this ‘joy’ as more of a manic state of hyper-excitement and excessive, uncontrolled expressions of hysteria. It is the type of emotion experienced by those who struggle with bipolar or manic-depressive disorder during their manic phase.