This is the first entry in be a series dedicated to different psycho-emotional issues that can be ameliorated with Chinese Medicine.
More Than Just Pain
Public Education about Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is something very near and dear to my heart. If the general population doesn’t know about the full scope of our medicine, how can we expect them to take advantage of it? For most people, when it comes to knowledge about the benefits of Chinese Medicine, the treatment of physical pain is usually the first thing that comes to mind. While it’s true that Acupuncture is extremely effective when it comes to treating musculoskeletal conditions – to say that physical pain is our ONLY focus really misses the point of this healing system.
Chinese Medicine is a holistic form of healing, which means that practitioners don’t make a separation between a person’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. All factors of the patient are taken into account when formulating a treatment with Acupuncture or Herbs. The main goal of this system is to not just chase symptoms, but to get to the real root of a problem. For example, a headache is rarely just a headache – it can often be accompanied by other symptoms such as irritability or mood swings, feelings of heat or flushing of the face, high blood pressure etc. This “pattern” of symptoms indicates a deeper imbalance of the body’s organs. Physical pain can take a toll on mental health, and poor mental health can lead to physical pain. If the underlying root imbalance is corrected the patient will see improvements in not only their chief complaint, but their overall health and well-being.
The Heart of the Matter
Chinese Medicine can be a useful tool in treating a myriad of mental health conditions. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc. – can be reduced with either Acupuncture or Herbs. In addition to treating Western Mental Health diagnoses, Chinese Medicine can also assist in areas that are a little less obvious.
TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) can also help people to process emotional traumas, move through difficult phases in life, feel more grounded and calm day-to-day, boost self-worth, increase drive and ambition, and the list goes on! This system of medicine attributes emotional qualities to the physical organs of the body. For example, the chief emotion of the Lungs is Grief – so by targeting this organ system we can assist our patients in grieving the loss of a loved one. The Kidneys correspond to the emotion of Fear so by targeting this area/meridian we can help people with things like overcoming phobias. The Spleen is closely related to pensiveness or overthinking, so if you’re someone who lies awake at night constantly replaying scenarios in your head – it may mean that the Spleen needs to be addressed.
What I’m essentially trying to get across in this article is that Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can be a beneficial tool in areas of your life beyond just the physical body. Don’t get me wrong – Western Medicine is amazing at what it does. It keeps us alive. It targets dangerous, life threatening conditions like cancer. Acupuncture sure isn’t going to fix your broken arm. However, so often, patients feel as though there is something lacking when they visit a Doctor. They don’t want to be viewed as “just another patient.” If you’re looking for a system of healing that acknowledges your entire being; if you are searching for a way to lead a more balanced life – physically, emotionally and spiritually – then this is just the modality you need. I truly believe that patients achieve the strongest results when they incorporate the best of both worlds (Eastern and Western Medicine).
Stay tuned for blog updates which will dive into different mental health issues in more depth. (Anxiety, depression etc.)
by Jon McDonell, R.Ac