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National Mental Health Awareness Month 2023

Mental Health and Acupuncture

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine emotions and physical health are intimately connected. This integrated mind-body approach to health and healing operates in a dynamic loop where emotions impact the health of the body and vice versa.

Everything from anger, joy, overthinking, grief, and fear can be the root cause of many physical symptoms in TCM when experienced out of balance. By treating the organ (and corresponding Five Spirit) associated with the emotion that is out of balance, we can address anxiety, depression, obsessive thinking, etc.

-The Hun (the non-corporeal spirit) is associated with the Liver qi. This spirit is responsible for benevolence (loving kindness), awareness of suffering, empathy, compassion, and tolerance; and serves as a reservoir for ideas that bring meaning into life. Disharmonies that affect the Hun may lead to anger, frustration, resentment, unkindness, and feeling "cut-off" from the meaning of life.

  • -The Po (the corporeal spirit) is associated with the lung qi and is responsible for sensation and for emotional and physical responses to circumstances; it promotes justice and fairness. Disharmonies of the Po may lead to complicated grief, sadness, a blunted affect, a tendency to overreact, or unjust/immoral behavior.

  • -The Zhi (the will) is the spiritual aspect that resides in the Kidneys. The Yang (or active) Zhi provides the motivation for self-determination and the Yin (or passive) Zhi leads one down the path to an unknowable fate. Disharmony may cause illogical fears or reckless behaviors.

  • -The Yi (the intellect) enables creative visions and proper courses of action. The Yi is associated with the Spleen. Disharmonies may lead to worry and overthinking.

  • -The Shen (the mind and the connecting spirit) is responsible for the establishment of meaningful relationships and is associated with the heart qi. Disharmonies of the Shen may lead to edginess, shyness, social awkwardness or, in extreme cases, agitation and delusions.

Acupuncture is also a tool that can be used in conjunction with other mental health modalities to help people achieve meaningful, sustainable improvements in their quality of life.

**tip: in my treatments, I like to remind my patients of ideas for coping mechanisms, such as EFT (tapping), meditation, breathing techniques, qi gong (similar to tai qi) etc. I’m certainly not a therapist, but I do know of some things that can help

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