Chinese Medicine and Stress Reduction
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.
It is known that our nervous system has two functional modes; the sympathetic and para-sympathetic. We are supposed to live in the 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 putting us in the 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.
Lyfestyle Practices to Reduce 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
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.
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 fiery, expansive and upward. From a Chinese medicine standpoint, it exhibits Yang characteristics. The dynamic terrain of the Kidney energetic organ system is on the other end of the Chinese medicinal continuum. The Kidneys' energetic character 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.
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.
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 - 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 herbs are effective and safe tools to help smooth and balance what can be challenging you even under the best circumstances.