Emotions and Internal Organs

Acupuncture theorists address emotions and internal organs in the same fell swoop. Dr. Andrew Weil reports on a British study showing the success of acupuncture for depression, and adds his own positive opinion based on his experience.  http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/WBL02371/Acupuncture-for-Depression.html  So, how does it work?

Thousands of years ago, the Chinese discovered a specific interaction among the five major organs that is still unrecognized in Western medicine. The Law of Five Elements refers to particular interactions between the major ‘solid’ organs: heart, liver, lung, pancreas and kidney. Each of these is paired with one of the ‘tube’ organs (like intestines) and each pair feeds the next pair in a certain order. If there is excess energy in the stomach causing heartburn, then there is a single point that can pull this excess energy into the lungs/large intestine if they are deficient and cold. The same energy that wreaked havoc in the stomach can now benefit the deficient lung or intestine. Thus we eliminate two problems with one treatment!

When the major organs are balanced among themselves they work together in harmony, as the ultimate example of Wholistic health! But when out of balance, they can then lead to emotional obstructions and these can result in blockages, pain, inflammation and overeating from stress.  If a patient has severe trauma, extended depression, anxiety or other emotional stress, this damages the major organ systems. So we see that treating the whole body affects both mind and body.

In Chinese medicine, each major organ has it own related emotional symptom, but it is a two-way street. There is a feedback loop between the organ and the feeling. The mind can affect the organ, and the organ can affect the mind. Excessive grief damages the lungs or, if the lungs are weak, then melancholy may appear.  Obsessive thinking and over-eating damages the spleen; and excessive fear damages or can develop from the kidneys. Excessive worry hurts the liver and likewise, if the liver is toxic then anger or depression may develop. Liver disharmony can also cause some of the “triggers” that lead to cravings and compulsive eating.

So the body is, in fact, more ‘whole’ than most people realize. The internal connections are astonishing.  An acupuncturist can work simultaneously on the physical symptoms and the emotional issues using the same few points.  Mental, emotional, and physical issues all addressed in the same session.  One stop shop!

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