Chinese Medicine and Emotional Health

Today humans have advanced to extreme heights in the realm of technology.  We have rectangles in our pockets that can connect us with people around the world, give us information on anything, take pictures, listen to us and give answers and more.  It is truly amazing.  Yet our advancement in our emotional and mental health has not kept pace.  In fact our technological advancements has created more mental and emotional problems.  This is good news for drug manufacturers.  It should be noted that as patents expire on a current generation of drugs (such as what is happening to many ssri drugs), manufacturers look to create new drugs whether the previous generation worked or not. This is done to create financial growth via newly patented drugs for their company and its investors.  It appears that drugs based on ketamine will be the 4th generation of anti-depressants.  The current generation of ssri drugs can take over a month to begin to work and drugs based on ketamine work immediately.  But I digress...

Our society's current answer to the question of depression (or mental health) is chemical and it is a one size fits all answer.  This answer is based on the idea that the chemistry of the brain of a sick person is off and needs to be adjusted.  There are no physical tests that can be done (that I know of) to verify that the brain chemistry is off.  Verification is done via whether or not a person responds positively to the drug. 

There are alternatives which I will discuss in this post and others to follow.  Please note that I am not saying to not use prescription drugs nor should anyone get off of their prescriptions without consulting with their doctor (especially ssri drugs which can cause serious withdraw effects if not weaned off slowly and under the care of a competent doctor). 

Chinese medicine (CM) has dealt with mental health problems for centuries.  Let's look at health as a coordinate graph.  The zero point is perfect mental/physical/emotional health.  Deviations from the center point are noted through questioning the client, observation (complexion, tongue etc), palpation (pulse, abdominal palpation etc), listening and smelling.  Through these methods the practitioner develops a map of the disharmony of the client.  When the health of the client is mapped, therapies such as acupuncture, herbs, and cupping are used to bring the person closer to a state of homeostasis.  As a simple example, let us say that a client has signs of a red face, loud voice, is easily angered, pulse is very strong and rapid and the tongue is very red.  He is very angry and also deals with a lot of anxiety.  When all this is mapped on the coordinate graph we would see that he is showing signs of excess heat which is disturbing his "spirit."  Acupuncture and herbs would be used to clear the excess heat and calm the spirit.  It is a logical and effective system. 

CM also regards each of the major emotions to have their basis in the organs of the body.  The heart is related to joy or the lack thereof, the liver is related to anger and frustration, the lungs are related to sadness and grief, the spleen is related to worry and the kidneys are related to the emotion of fear.  Often when a client has problems with a certain emotional state they also have patterns of disharmony related to the pertaining organ.  When the physical health of the body and organ system is restored, the emotional system also comes into balance.  Abdominal palpation/needling and breathwork are often very useful to restore the full functioning of a organ system that is not working efficiently.  It should be noted that often the effects of breathwork, palpation and acupuncture can show up later on in the day or week.  As blocks are removed and deficiencies are strengthened, long buried emotions may arise very strongly.  This can be a rough time but the knowledge of this potential can help a person to ride it out as their body regains harmony.   I will discuss all of this more fully in other posts. 

I have experience in working with clients to help their body/mind/emotional systems return to zeropoint.  The stress of living in NYC is higher than anywhere else I have lived and I am happy to have my services and experience aid you on your path to zeropoint.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like to set up a session. 

Thank you. 


"Comparison is the thief of joy."  T. Roosevelt. 


Andy Maher