Managing Stress with Chinese Medicine
All of us have stressors in our lives; it is how we react to that stress that determines if stress is going to negatively impact our health in the long run. One person may be able to go with the flow during major life changes such as buying a new house or losing a job, whereas, another person faced with the same life challenges may have a major melt down. Here you will learn effective self-care methods to moderate your stress response so that you can navigate life with fewer emotional swings.
In Chinese medicine, the Liver's job is to negotiate the free flow of energy in the body. Impaired Liver function can lead to energetic blockages, limiting availability of resources and sluggishness. In Chinese medicine this condition is often referred to as Liver Qi Stagnation. Stagnation occurs when the lack of Qi energy circulating becomes obstructed. This can cause sleep and digestive complaints, musculoskeletal pain, and emotional instability. Chinese herbs offer effective strategies to remedy the depressed energy and to break up the resulting stagnation, leading to better health and an improved mental outlook. Consider our organic Free and Easy Wanderer formula!
It is known that our nervous system has two functional modes; the sympathetic and para-sympathetic. We are supposed to live in the Yin parasympathetic mode that promotes a "rest and digest" response and a calming of the nerves to preserve adrenal health. Unfortunately, many of us are caught up in an unhealthy loop of emotional responses to life's every day stresses holding us in the Yang Sympathetic mode that promotes a "fight or flight" response inhibiting digestion, increasing the heart rate, constricting blood vessels, inhibiting reproduction responses, and causing our body to consume tissue for quick energy; it is easy to see how stress can contribute to any disease process. Adaptogenic herbs help to re-wire your nervous system so that you remain in the healthier parasympathetic mode when faced with stressors. Consider our organic Enlightened Emperor stress adaptogen formula!
- Apply the Metal Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Large Intestine 4
- Apply the Earth Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Stomach 36
- Apply the Fire Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Yin Tang
- Apply the Fire Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Heart 7
- Apply the Water Element Acupressure Stick to Acupressure Point Bladder 62
More Self-care Practices to Reduce Unhealthy Stress Response
- Meditation 15 minutes per day
- 1-2 mile walk 3-4 times per week
- Qi gong, tai qi, yoga several times per week
Psychological Stress and Traditional Chinese Medicine
From a Chinese medical perspective many manifestations of stress and anxiety can be traced back to the energetic concert between the Heart and Kidney energetic organ systems. In Chinese medicine the temperament of the Heart is expansive and upward. From a Chinese medicine standpoint the Heart exhibits Yang characteristics. The dynamic terrain of the Kidney energetic organ system is on the other end of the Chinese medicinal continuum. The Kidney's characteristic is fluid, inward, and contemplative exhibiting a Yin nature. If there is too much fire, we may experience symptoms of anxiety and agitation of the mind; thus, one important aspect of managing stress is to calm the mind (Shen).
Stress responses comes in a wide range of manifestations from mild worrying to more physical responses such as nausea, insomnia, shortness of breath and panic attacks. Some anxiety is a healthy response to the stress of daily life and new situations; however, anxiety that occurs randomly or excessively is a sign to take notice. Chinese herbal formulas can help balance both the mental and physical symptoms of anxiety and help to create harmony and spaciousness. Those living in a chronic state of being "stressed-out" often fail to understand the devastating effect that ongoing stress has on our physical health and how it contributes to the development of disease.
Chronic stress often manifests in to depression. It is estimated that 20% of the population is depressed at some point in their life. Common symptoms of depression include a sense of apathy, cynicism or anger toward someone or something, isolating oneself, crying spells and over-consumption of food and/or alcohol. Depression may be compounded in some people by SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a type of depression associated with the low light conditions experienced during the winter months.
While modern life has helped make so many aspects of daily living easier, many people still suffer from emotional distress. Subsequently, anxiety, increased stress, and depression are some of the most common conditions affecting individuals. Chinese medicine offers natural, effective, and safe tools to help smooth and balance situations that are challenging your emotional well-being.
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Dr. Browne's Shared Insights and Experiences
A 32 year old woman came to me for assistance in fertility issues. She had not experienced a menstrual cycle since she was 16 years old. She and her husband were very well connected in the lake community where I practiced just north of Charlotte, NC as she had an active massage practice and her husband was a personal trainer. When she conceived four months later I had a line out my clinic door with women (and some men) struggling with infertility.
Over the years I noticed an interesting co-incident between these patients; they all arrived in a state of stress and worry over their inability to conceive. Traditional Chinese medicine has a calming effect and just about the time these patients stopped fretting over conception, BANG, they would be pregnant!
All of the current scientific research tells us that stress will negatively impact our health. But, this was the clearest demonstration of the relationship between psychological stress and physical wellness I had ever witnessed.