- Anna Lunaria, L.Ac.
Acupuncture & Emotional Wellbeing: Psychoneuroimmunology & Mind-Body Medicine
Did you now that according to Acupuncture/Eastern Medicine theory, which is more than 2,000 years
old, there are external and internal causes of dis-ease. The internal causes of disease are all linked to getting ‘stuck’ in an intense emotional state(s). It’s normal and healthy to experience a broad spectrum of feelings. Imbalance and disease results from getting ‘stuck’ in an emotional pattern. When we become stuck in any emotional state has a ‘toxic’ effect leading to disease.
Modern medicine has begun to catch up with Acupuncture/Eastern Medicine with the emergence of integrative specialties such as, PNI or PsychoNeuroImmunology, sometimes also known as PNEI, or PsychoNeuroEndoImmunology. These modern medical models help us understand the profound connections between our psychological states and the functioning of our nervous, endocrine and immune systems. These integrative fields are of study are also the foundation of the modern Mind-Body Medicine movement. 75-90% of all doctor visits are often for stress related or stress exacerbated health conditions.
Long before emotions cause disease they affect the flow of our Qi. In this context, it is most helpful to interpret Qi as energy flow, even though it’s more complex than this and can also be understood as metabolism, cellular function, thought process, intelligence and ability to both reason and be inspired and creative.
What’s the best way to help us keep from getting ‘stuck’ in toxic emotions and returning the proper flow of Qi? Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine (which might include: herbs, meditation, nutrition, meditative movement: tai chi, qi gong, yoga. There are specific acupuncture points to ‘release’ us from and liberate our Mind-Body from toxic emotions and restore health!
Worry or rumination weakens and causes dis-ease of:
Stomach, Spleen, & Pancreas
Muscular weakness & chronic pain
Digestive function: linked to chronic diarrhea & food allergies
Immunity: low white blood cell count
Blood: impaired flow and/or low red blood cell count (anemia) Insulin & blood sugar
Before chronic worry causes these conditions; worry depletes our Qi. Imagine a hamster on a wheel: you’re expending all you Qi going nowhere. Those who worry constantly tend to have very low energy. This makes it hard to change habits. Those who get stuck in toxic worry tend to seek sympathy from others, they often express disgust, tends toward complaining and have a root ‘wound’ of abandonment which gets re-triggered by each perceived emotional slight.
Acupuncture points along the Stomach and Spleen meridians can free us from chronic worry and instead shift the mind to positive and productive mental executive function. Imagine how much you could accomplish if you could have more energy and apply your mind in a positive direction!
Grief weakens and causes dis-ease of:
Lungs & Large Intestine
Respiratory diseases and propensity to catch colds/flus
Before chronic grief causes these conditions, grief scatters our Qi which can make you feel like you’re unable to gather any momentum and sometimes can make you feel as insubstantial as a ghost: this makes it easy to get stuck in the maze of grief.
Those who get stuck in the toxic experience of grief will often feel invisible to others or ignored/forgotten by others. They’ll tend to express disdain, make snide comments, feel easily insulted, and tend to get stuck in dogmatic, rigid views.
Acupuncture points along the Lung and Large Intestine channel helps us heal from the grieving process; gathering and boosting our protective(immunity) Qi. These points return our vitality: they can help us shift from merely surviving the loss of a loved one to once again thriving. Acupuncture can restore the will to live. If your world feels ‘blah’ and you’re merely going through the motions because you got stuck in grief, acupuncture can help you regain your zest for life.
Anger weakens weakens and causes dis-ease of:
Liver & Gallbladder
Fatty liver disease
Inability to digest fats
Connective Tissues Disorders & Chronic pain
Before anger causes these conditions, anger makes our Qi stagnate. Stagnate Qi is the biggest cause of most pain, tumors and gallstones (and other forms of ‘phlegm stagnation; including ‘plum pit Qi’ a sensation that something is caught in the throat but being unable to completely clear it). Anger zaps our ability to plan and erodes our courage to act in the world.
Those who get stuck in toxic anger get most caught up in feelings of resentment, prone towards passive-aggressive behavior, experience the injustice of the life with a seething frustration.
Acupuncture points along the Liver and GallBladder transforms anger into inspired vision with the sustained energy and courage needed to manifest this vision into reality. If you want to accomplish BIG things in this lifetime - and anger seems to keeping you stuck, acupuncture is your path to manifestation!
Anxiety & Stress weakens and causes dis-ease of:
Heart & Small Intestine
Thyroid & Hypothalamus: Temperature regulation
Memory & Cognition
High or Low Blood Pressure
Heart irregularities & palpitations
Abdominal pain two hours after eating
Absorption of nutrients
Before anxiety and stress lead to disease, these chronic emotions disturb our ability to enjoy a calm, focused, alert state of mind. We might experience an inability to focus, a chronically distracted state of consciousness, forgetfulness, memory impairment, and an inability to sort the ‘pure from the turbid’ - meaning its hard to differentiate between those things that are helpful and heathy for us and things that are toxic and ‘bad’ for us.
Those who get caught in toxic anxiety tend to have a core wound of betrayal and the resulting bitterness. They are often to prone to sarcasm, teasing and lying: all defensive mechanisms attempting to circumvent future betrayals.
Acupuncture points along the Heart, Small Intestine, Pericardium, and Triple Warmer (also known as Triple Burner or San Jiao) meridians help to quell anxiety and stress by calming the mind and regulating our ability to shift from the sympathetic nervous system (the fight, flight or freeze function) into the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest, digest, and restore function). These points help us dwell in the Present moment and let go of the future.
“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious, you are living in the future.
If you are at peace, you are lvingin in the present.”
Fear weakens and causes dis-ease of:
Kidneys & Bladder
Low back pain
Spinal column issues
Fluid filtration, balance, and elimination
Before chronic fear causes disease, fear makes our Qi sink. When Qi sinks, we lose inspiration, creativity, and faith. We lose hope. It’s hard to imagine a positive future. We loose our connection to something greater than ourselves and feel lost, alone, isolated. This makes is challenging to ask for help or to see beyond the ‘filter/blinders’ of our fear.
Those who get stuck in toxic fear need constant reassurance, often experience paranoia, keep secrets or feel afraid that others are keeping secrets (conspiracy theories), feel impotent but then may lash out with behavior meant to intimidate others.
Acupuncture points along the Kidney and Bladder meridians have the ability to restore the flow of Qi, reinvigorating our drive to live by revitalizing our faith that our life has a purpose and our experiences/action have meaning. If you long to have a feeling of inner peace, anchored by a sense of destiny and directed by a deep connection to innate wisdom, acupuncture is a key to restoring this connection.
There’s a special Acupuncture treatment along the Bladder meridian on the back of the body called an Aggressive Energy (AE) treatment. The treatment itself is quite gentle and it helps us let go of and eliminate the toxic or aggressive emotions that cause dis-ease: grief, anxiety, anger, worry, and fear while restoring the ‘virtues’ of: benevolence, wisdom, integrity, clarity, and propriety.
Receiving acupuncture regularly helps us keep our emotional Qi flowing by improving our ability to discern the nuances of our emotional experiences while simultaneously liberating us from getting stuck in the quagmire of toxic emotions.