Tag: Mental Health UK

The trials and tribulations of Spring

Spring is the season of awakening. All things in nature are reborn, revitalised, awoken. The seeds break open their shells and the plants begin their journey towards the light. Birds and animals are more vocal and they start shouting and fighting to prove themselves worthy of the favours of a potential mate.

In Chinese Medicine, spring is associated with the element of Wood: green and vibrant, with the roots firmly grounded in the Earth, drawing its life-force from Water and with the branches soaring towards the Heavens and the Sun.  

Anything green growing in nature plans ahead when to start germinating and growing from a seed. It usually needs at least one cold spell before starting sprouting. A tree will first develop roots, then a trunk and only then it will grow a full canopy. The plan is very precise, the root system matches that of the canopy, so the tree will keep growing below the ground as much as it will grow above it. Every stage is carefully planned and the tree will make sure it has got enough resources to complete each stage and the resources reach all the branches and leaves without any obstacles.

The organ system most affected by Spring in Chinese Medicine is the Liver-Gallbladder. Let’s take a closer look at what Wood is about in TCM

In traditional Chinese medicine, Wood is considered the General. Just like its military counterpart, Wood in the human body is responsible for planning and regulating all the body’s activities. Wood is the one that stores the Blood, the source of all the nourishment around the body. When the body is resting, Wood stores the Blood in the Liver, its major internal organ. When the body is active, both physically and mentally, Wood uses the Liver and its functions to distribute the Blood where it is needed. Just like a General ensures all the operations run smoothly and without obstacles, Wood in the body is responsible for the smooth and free flow of the Qi, because the Qi is the moving force and the energy behind all the functions of the body, both physically and mentally.

At a physical level, the internal organs that belong to the Wood phase are the Liver and the Gallbladder. Wood governs over the joints, tendons and ligaments, the parts of our body that ensure our mobility. Just like a General, Wood is a visionary, therefore it governs over the sense of sight and the eyes.

At an emotional level, Wood relates to anger, frustration, and jealousy. At a cognitive level, Wood controls creativity, initiative, decision making and planning. The spirit of the Wood is Hun, the ethereal soul, our intuition, the part of us that outlives our body.  The virtue that keeps Wood in check is patience. 

Wood imbalances

Now let’s take a look at some of the things that could go wrong in the Liver system by looking at the Wood element in Spring.

Much like the Sun at rising point, Spring causes nature to wake up from slumber and raise. This upward movement of the energy can be seen in all aspects of nature: we enjoy more daylight, the Sun shines its light at a higher angle, the plants start to grow, the trees produce buds, the bees get busy, the birds and the animals come out of hibernation and become more vocal and more active.

Humans feel the rising energies of Mother Nature as well: we feel more energetic, more active. A healthy and balanced person will enjoy and will harness the rising energies of Spring by starting eating more green foods, drinking more water, spend more time in nature, meditate and do light exercise like stretching and practice patience and equanimity.

Failing to control this rising energy or trying to supress it will lead to symptoms and diseases that will affect the body in the long run.

When a person fails to temper this eruption of exuberant energy, the energy in their body will rise abnormally upwards, towards the head. This is called Liver Yang rising or Liver Fire.  

This can translate into:

  • hypertension
  • headaches
  • migraine
  • vision problems
  • insomnia
  • outbursts of anger, jealousy, frustration
  • dream disturbed sleep
  • OCD
  • PMDD

When a person tries to block this eruption of exuberant energy instead of managing it, the energy in their body will stagnate. When the Qi in the body stagnates, everything else stagnates: Blood, Bodily Fluids, hormones and emotions. The main symptom of stagnation in the body is pain. The main symptom of stagnation at a mental level is translated in mood, emotional and mental disorders.

When the Liver fails to ensure the free flow in the body we have Liver Qi Stagnation and various symptoms and complaints such as:

  • dysmenorrhea (painful periods)
  • PMS
  • irregular periods
  • fibromyalgia
  • muscle cramps
  • TMJ
  • IBS
  • constipation
  • emotional and mental disorders
  • improper time and money management

Wind disorders

While there is no Air element in TCM, Wood is strongly related to Wind. In Chinese Medicine, Wind is regarded as one of the “evils” that can cause disease in the body.

As an external pathogen, External Wind is most likely to attack the Lung system, our first line of defence, causing colds, flus, sinusitis, sore throat, coughs, itchy skin, hay fever, etc. All of them very specific for the spring season.

As an internal pathogen, Internal Wind is mainly related to the Liver system because the Liver is responsible for the free flow. There are many diseases caused by Wind, and they are not all related to the spring season, but they might be triggered in spring or by emotional imbalances and most acupoints used to manage them belong to the Liver and Gallbladder meridians. They usually appear suddenly and most of the times have a seasonal or migratory nature:

  • passive-aggressive and bi-polar disorders
  • arthritis pain that moves from joint to joint
  • moving pain of any kind
  • headaches or migraines accompanied by dizziness and nausea
  • vertigo, BPPV
  • tremors and shaking, essential tremors, Parkinson’s
  • muscle spasms, epilepsy
  • stroke, paralysis
  • rashes, itchy skin or genitalia

A few words about Anger

Many people say that Anger weakens the Liver. Truth is Anger is just a response, a symptom, a message that something is not right and the Liver system is not balanced. Many people may not even have very clear cut physical symptom that can be linked to the Liver. I’ve had patients complaining about not being happy about how they manage their tasks and time at the office or about how aimless their lives feel, about not being able to make decisions or not being able to go with the flow. I’ve had people complaining about feeling trapped or stuck, having nightmares or they simply complained about waking up every night between 1 and 3 am. All these are red flags for me that there is lack of free flow somewhere.

Anger is the most powerful driving force in the Universe. Anger is neither good nor bad. Anger becomes a problem when it is untamed, suppressed or repressed.   Without a bit of frustration, the seed will always remain in the form of a seed, failing to fulfil its intended purpose. Without a bit of anger, the little tiny plant that emerges from the seed will never find the power to penetrate the hard shell of the seed and push itself upward through the hard soil towards the light. Without anger and a bit of jealousy, birds and animals will never engage in the loud and sometimes violent act of finding a mate and they will never have the power to defend their chicks and younglings. Without anger and frustration we will always be confined to the same unfulfilling environment, relationship or workplace, we will never find our voice and our battle cry.

Self-care advice

At a physical level, eat appropriate foods in spring. All year round, eat foods that support the free flow of the Qi and nourish the Blood. Also, increase the time spent in nature and introduce slow exercising, such as Tai Chi, QiGong and Yoga. Walking in nature benefits both the joints and the mind.

At a mental and emotional level, spending time in nature and contemplating the vegetation coming back to life is very beneficial. Mindfulness is a must and you should try to integrate it into your daily routine, even if it’s just a few minutes a day, especially in the morning, to help with the flow of the Qi.

You should embrace activities and hobbies that support creativity, intuition and patience, such as growing and nurturing plants from seeds, painting flowers, and the practice of self-compassion.

Late summer, the season of the Earth

According to the Chinese metaphysical arts, each of the Five Elements – Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth – have a corresponding season. “How can that be?” you’re probably wondering.

The months of August and September are considered a separate season, called late summer. If you look at many of the ancient and pagan traditions, many harvest festivals begin in August. August and September are the months when many celebrated Earth festivals, a time of gathering of the crops, giving thanks to Mother Earth for the plentiful gifts and enjoying the fruits of the Earth.

In my Transylvanian homeland, 6th of August is celebrated as a Christian Orthodox religious day, however, the church actually “borrowed” the day from the pagan traditions of the land. It is called “the day when the face changes”. In the religious context it is related to Jesus Christ, in the pagan one, the face is the face of nature. The Sun still shines over the land, yet its rays do not scorch the land as it did in July. The pagan tradition says that nothing grows anymore in August, but everything that has grown already ripens and matures.

In the Chinese arts, late summer is the season of the Earth element.

In Chinese medicine, Earth governs our digestive system and all its components. Its code name is The Granary.

The main two organs of the system are the Spleen (Yin) and the Stomach (Yang)

The main responsibilities of the Spleen system:

  • Transformation: digestion makes nutrients for the Blood by transforming the food intake
  • Transformation: by combining nutritive Qi with the Qi from the Lungs (air), it produces the nutrients for all the internal organs and the Blood
  • Transportation: Spleen moves Qi upwards so that the nutrients reach the Lung Qi and the organs
  • Keeps everything in its place: just like Earth holds everything in place, Spleen holds the internal organs in their proper place inside the chest cavity, including the Blood in the vessels

Given its responsibilities, the Spleen system governs over the following areas:

  • Production and quality of Blood
  • Muscle mass and limbs
  • The mouth, the tongue and the sense of taste
  • Intellectual activities, reasoning processes, memorising, logic and critical thinking

At a mental and emotional level, the Spleen is affected by:

  • Worry. “Worry knots the Qi”
  • Overthinking
  • Obsessive thoughts
  • Excessive intellectual activities, reasoning, problem solving and memorising

The Stomach, the Yang partner of the Spleen, gives the Spleen its ability to discern between what is important and what is not, both in the case of digestion and in case of mental processes.

Regulating cures. The system can be kept in balance by:

  • Taste: sweet. Sweet foods can support the digestive system and can also damage it, if they are consumed excessively. Please note that the taste is given by the Chinese medicine nutrition theories and does not necessarily imply the taste felt by the tongue. For example, most grains are sweet in taste according to TCM
  • Smell: fragrant, sweet
  • Colour: yellow, gold. All yellow and brown crystals and stones support the Spleen
  • Movements: turning the waist
  • Sounds: singing, talking
  • Virtues: trust, sincerity, empathy

Spleen disorders

At a physical level:

  • gastritis (the digestive system chewing on its own parts),
  • nutrient excesses and accumulations: obesity, fatty liver, gallstones, kidney stones
  • nutrient deficiencies: lack of vitamins, iron, calcium, magnesium
  • lack of appetite and energy, ME, CFS
  • overeating
  • organ prolapses, heavy bleeding: haemorrhages, heavy menstruation
  • lack of menstruation, scanty menstruation
  • metabolic diseases, such as diabetes
  • muscular dystrophy
  • any lumps, cysts and phlegm accumulations

At a mental and emotional level:

  • eating disorders, addictions
  • mental fatigue, lack of focus, inability to memorise
  • brain fog
  • no desire to speak

People with a Spleen blocked by worry fail to nurture themselves, by neglecting their needs and putting everyone else first. By trying to do everything themselves, they will try to control the odds of the outcome: “If I do this instead of waiting for my partner to do it, I don’t have to worry that it won’t be done properly or on time”, “I cannot take a day off from work because they won’t manage without me”.

Sadly, a lot of our modern life has made us believe we have to be present and in control of everything at all times and many of us we feel guilty about taking “me” time to nurture ourselves. This leads to what the TCM calls Yin deficiency or the burnout syndrome.

Singing is the sound related to this system. Because the Spleen is responsible with holding everything in place, the diaphragm was linked to the Spleen and singing was the human activity that seemed to influence the system the most. At a physical level, the diaphragm keeps together the organs situated in the abdomen, and it’s a muscle. At an emotional level, singing makes the worry disappear and it helps us memorise things easier.

The virtue of this system is trust. We trust that the world will still be out there when we take “me” time to nourish ourselves. We trust our partners to do their best, we trust our children they will be fine, even when we are no longer around, we trust we will still have our jobs by the time we come back from our vacation, we trust the Universe will provide for us no matter what.

Chinese massage therapy: what is it and why you should try it

Some years ago, long before I was even considering becoming a TCM practitioner myself, I was receiving acupuncture treatments for PMDD. Apart from the regular sessions with my very own Vlad the Impaler aka Transylvanian acupuncturist, he sent me a list of things I could do myself to speed up the recovery process. Amongst them was one that read: “Treat yourself to a massage every week or every fortnight.” I thought: “Massage? No thanks!”

Truth was the only form of massage I knew was the kind of hard kneading and poking my now ex-husband insisted of giving my shoulders and upper back and I hated every minute of it.

A year later, life decided to take a different turn for me and here I was, in another country, mending my broken heart and picking up the pieces of my life with the loving help of my new partner. I had been passionate about traditional Chinese medicine ever since I was a child, so he encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming a TCM practitioner.  I enrolled to study TCM and acupuncture. An inner voice kept pushing me towards Tui Na massage. I discovered a world I never knew existed. I understood why I was screaming in pain when my ex tried his best to relax my neck and shoulders. I became enthralled even more with traditional Chinese medicine for creating this wonderful therapy!

So, what is this Chinese massage therapy?

There are many terms that describe massage therapy in Chinese language. Two of them are: An Mo 按摩, which means “press and rub” and Tui Na 推拿, which means “push and grab”. These terms encapsulate most of what we now in the West know as Chinese massage. Its techniques may seem simplistic, and, most of the times, the Westerners are surprised how these simple, natural gestures can have such a tremendous effect. 

When we hit our head, our first reaction is to put our hand over the area and rub it to make the pain go away. When we have tummy pain or toothache, we press the area with our palms. When someone is upset, we rub and tap their back gently. We instinctively use certain gestures to alleviate pain or provide comfort. We try to calm or befriend a dog or a cat by stroking their heads. Plants grow better when their leaves are touched gently. Stones become shinier and warmer when rubbed. All creatures respond to touch, and touch can both soothe and nurture, energise and invigorate. 

What are the benefits of Chinese massage?

The main purpose of the Chinese metaphysical arts is to preserve balance in all forms and, when the balance is lost, to find means for that balance to be regained.

As part of the great and wonderful family of the Chinese metaphysical arts that stem from the Tao, the Chinese massage fulfils three essential roles, all equally important:    

  • cultivation and preservation of health
  • beautification
  • therapy or restoration of health

Health is a measure of balance: when we get ill, a sign of good health is when the balance is restored in due time and without significant consequences. In other words, health is not a static concept, but the fragile and beautiful dance we perform every instance on this planet in our eternal quest for balance.

Chinese massage as a tool for cultivation and preservation of health

In China, a timely death is regarded as one of the five blessings. Ageing is a natural process that cannot be controlled. How we age is something we can control. By adapting our lifestyle to our age, sex and needs, we can enjoy a good health up to the day we die.

One of the therapies that can assist cultivation and preservation of health is massage.  A good Chinese massage course will not only teach people how to become Tui Na practitioners, but will also teach them on how to cultivate and preserve their own health by using self-massage and QiGong techniques. Cultivation of health starts with ourselves.

By working on the pathways of the meridians, acupoints and sinew channels, Tui Na

  • improves the function of the internal organs
  • lubricates the joints and tendons
  • fortifies the muscles
  • improves immunity  
  • balances the mind  

We do not have to wait to get ill to enjoy the benefits of a regular Tui Na session. In fact, people who have regular massages and self-massages are less prone to health deterioration, whether it’s physical, mental or emotional health.

Health as beauty

According to the ancient Chinese principles, beauty is a sign of good health. A relaxed face and a supple body, combined with a positive attitude, are all signs of good health. This, according to the principles of Chinese metaphysics, attracts wealth and prosperity, even a suitable partner. Beauty is regarded as free, natural flow of the Qi, it means a firm and lush skin, bright eyes that see beauty everywhere, a clear voice that sings and laughs like a clear jade bell, a content heart and a relaxed body.

Chinese massage as beauty therapy

  • improves the tone of the skin
  • helps the skin perform its essential functions of respiration and toxin removal
  • improves muscle tone  
  • accelerates metabolism
  • reduces fat tissues
  • optimises digestion

Tui Na as a medical therapy

Tui Na uses bodily manipulation techniques to fight against the number one enemy of health: stagnation.

The principle of free flow is one of the fundamental principles in traditional Chinese medicine and the rest of the Chinese metaphysical arts. The Qi must be allowed to flow freely to perform its functions and keep everything in balance. If the free flow of Qi is impaired, stagnation occurs.

Stagnation is the main culprit of any disease (dis-ease, lack of ease) and one of its main symptoms is pain: physical, mental, emotional.

By releasing the stagnation in the joints and muscles, Tui Na can improve the overall health of people suffering from a multitude of complaints:

  • arthritis
  • sports or repetitive injuries
  • muscular skeletal conditions
  • digestive disorders
  • gynaecological complaints
  • emotional distress

How does Tui Na work?

Traditional Chinese medicine operates with both matter and energy.

As a physical therapy, Tui Na uses a series of techniques to manipulate the physical body by means of acupressure, massage and stretching techniques. Physical manipulation aims to move the Qi and Blood so that the muscles, joints and tendons are warmed, lubricated and tonified.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, our physical bodies are vulnerable not only to the weather conditions or to other internal illnesses, but they can also store and become affected by our emotions and traumas.

At an energy level, the Tui Na practitioner guides the Qi using their hands and fingers into the acupoints and along the meridians to release and disperse stagnation or bring more energy into a specific area. In this respect, the practitioner’s fingers and palms act as acupuncture needles, guiding the Qi in order to supplement, reduce, or disperse the Qi in the affected areas. 

What to expect during and after a session?

Chinese massage sessions are versatile in many ways.

Because it was created to meet the needs of rich and poor alike, TuiNa can be performed with the person lying down on a plain blanket on the floor or in the field, seated on a stool or lying down on a nice and soft massage table.

Tui Na can be done with the person fully clothed, partly clothed or with no clothes on. Traditionally, the practitioner will use a white cotton sheet as a medium between them and the clients treated. TuiNa doesn’t necessarily need oils as mediums, they are rather used as aromatherapy, to increase the warming or the cooling effect of a treatment or to address a certain condition.

Depending on the aim of the sessions, the TCM practitioner will take a brief medical history of the client.

Because the techniques are designed to move Qi and Blood, TuiNa sessions may take only a few minutes in length, thus being much shorter than regular massage sessions. The sessions may last between 30 and 45 minutes.

Medical Tui Na

Medical Tui Na will take a full medical history and assess the best course of treatment for the specific situation. Most likely, the treatment sessions will also include cupping or moxibustion and therapeutic oil formulas.

The manipulations are performed exclusively within your range of mobility and comfort. While some areas might feel tender initially, you should not feel any major discomfort and the tenderness should subside.  

Expect a healing crisis after the first few sessions! This can be in the form of aches and pains becoming worse, emotional issues surfacing or feeling more tired than usual.  

It is essential that you communicate with your practitioner during and in between the sessions, even if you may think some of the symptoms and signs are irrelevant or embarrassing.

For optimum results, medical Tui Na should be performed once a week or every fortnight, with a course of treatment of 8 – 10 sessions, depending on the medical condition to be treated.  

Cautions and contraindications

As with other therapies, women who are pregnant or actively trying to conceive will receive special treatment.

Always inform the practitioner if you plan on donating blood before or after the session

Treatment will be denied to people who are

  • under the influence of alcohol, sleep inducing medication or recreational drugs
  • weak
  • very ill
  • with high fever
  • very tired
  • very hungry or fasting
  • very full (have just eaten a large meal)

Other cautions and contraindications are to be discussed with the practitioner, based on the full medical history and the type of medication and other forms of treatment received from medical professionals or holistic therapists.

It is advisable to allow the body to rest and work through the healing process before taking any other form of holistic or alternative treatments at least 24 hours before undertaking another session of any kind, including Reiki or spa treatments.

Mind full or mindful?

The choice is yours

The human mind can be a wonderful servant or a terrible master. As a servant, it can turn you into the most accomplished warrior. As a master, it can turn you into the most accomplished worrier.

One of the most successful people in the world are the ones who made their minds work for themselves instead of allowing their minds to control their pain, thoughts or emotions. If we look at their lifestyle habits, they all seem to have one thing in common: they meditate.

Are you looking to improve your life? Would you like to enjoy better health and more wealth?

The practice of mindfulness, developed by the ancient cultures, such as the Buddhist and Zen practitioners, is now available at Purple Jade Holistics. All you have to do is choose the package that is best suited for your needs (click to find out more). 

Yes, it’s all in your head!

Scientific studies have demonstrated that mindfulness and meditation do actually change the brain chemistry and how we react to stimuli.

Did you know?

The corporations in Japan have interior gardens built within the premises so that all their employees can spend time in contemplation every day. Many of them will also spend at least one week in Buddhist or Zen retreats, because they believe that mindfulness not only helps maintain good health, emotional balance and general well-being, but it also makes them more successful in their professions, leading to wealth and prosperity.

This art of contemplating the present moment, as it is, without trying to change anything about it, without judging or trying to quantify it in any way, has many benefits.

The act of gently guiding the mind to the present moment is not only grounding, but it also helps deal with an overactive mind, stress and anxiety.

Mindfulness relaxes the mind and helps it become open and aware, which improves the memory and focus.

A relaxed mind is also better equipped to handle pain. Mindfulness can be a very important instrument for people who struggle with chronic pain and inflammation, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. Also, by releasing stress, mindfulness can help with strengthening the immunity and lowering the blood pressure.

One of the first effects people notice when they start practising mindfulness is a significant improvement in their sleep patterns. Mindfulness not only helps them fall asleep faster, it also helps them stay asleep, and the quality of the sleep is much improved as it assists in the reduction of nightmares.

One of the fundamental principles of mindfulness is to explore everything with new and curious eyes. This helps develop creativity and problem solving skills. This is why people who meditate and practice mindfulness tend to be more relaxed, creative and more successful.

Another interesting side-effect of mindfulness is that people practising it seem to feel less lonely. Being present and aware of the surroundings and looking at everything with new eyes and a vivid curiosity renders one feeling connected not only with themselves, but to the world at large. Plus, by attending mindfulness group sessions, one is prone to meet like-minded people and make new friends.

Mindfulness is able to regulate the moods and the responses one has towards external and internal stimuli. A regular daily practice of mindfulness, even just for a few minutes, will prevent the stress build-up.

In a nutshell, it puts YOU in control of how YOU choose to respond to the events inside or around you.

Mindfulness can become an empowering tool by putting YOU in control of your mind and your life.

Can you afford NOT to give mindfulness a try?

Packages start from just £30 (click to find out more)

Tai Chi for Health and Well-being

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Please be advised that it is always recommended that you consult with your GP and other healthcare specialists before starting ANY Tai Chi programs

Tai Chi belongs to the great family of physical exercises designed with the purpose of cultivating and preserving the life force Qi.

With roots in martial arts, developed by the Chinese monks in order to counterattack the long time spent immobile in meditation and mindfulness, Tai Chi, alongside QiGong and other forms of Qi cultivation and preservation, presents many forms and styles, all created with the same principles in mind: the integration of body and mind by controlling the movement of the body and the breathing, thus cultivating the life force and rendering the human being in total harmony with themselves and with the Universe. 

The slow, soft moves were created to build and reinforce fitness, agility and balance, both in body and mind. The mind is present and aware of every move the body makes.

Benefits of Tai Chi:

  1. Reduces pain. From the Chinese medicine point of view, Tai Chi enables the free flow of Qi, Blood and Body Fluids. The moves are especially designed to follow the natural flow of Qi along the meridians and collaterals, thus restoring the healthy flow of Qi and the elimination of stagnant energy and pain. A good flow of Qi also leads to a good flow of Blood and Body Fluids which nourish the muscles and the joints, which means less pain and stiffness and more mobility.
  2. Promotes mindfulness. Because the mind is present and aware of every move the body makes and it focuses on the breathing at the same time, Tai Chi is in fact moving mindfulness. It makes you aware of your body and breathing in the present moment, helping you control the mind from wandering off. This calms the mind and helps you think more clearly.
  3. Reduces stress. The classes do not measure progress in any way. All the participants are there to enjoy themselves while moving within their own range of mobility and comfort. This contributes to a very a relaxed state of mind.

Tai Chi for Health programs developed by Dr Paul Lam combine Western medical science with Oriental wisdom. The programs are designed especially for medical conditions, such as: arthritis and fall prevention, diabetes, rehabilitation and so on.

It is a known fact that people in pain and elderly people are more prone to accidents due to lack of balance.

Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention contains twelve simple and easy to follow moves that have been chosen for their ability to increase muscle strength, balance and confidence in people suffering from:

  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • MS
  • Post-stroke rehabilitation
  • Asthma

Benefits of Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention:

  • Increases strength and flexibility
  • Decreases pain in joints
  • Decreases stress
  • Helps reduce high blood pressure
  • Increases a sense of well-being
  • Improves balance
  • Improves lung capacity

The program is endorsed and recommended by many international health organisations, such as CDC in America and Arthritis Care in UK.

If you are interested in joining any of the classes I teach in Tameside, please drop me a line 🙂

Your Transylvanian Tai Chi instructor and TCM coach,

Daciana

The troubles of the Mind – the Shen disorders

[…] we won’t establish peace of mind just by praying for it. Dalai Lama

 

The principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is to restore balance in the being by restoring the free flow of Qi, Blood, Bodily Fluids and Shen (Spirit).

Stagnation in the body can manifest itself on several levels and can have multiple symptoms. The most important symptom is pain. This pain can be physical pain or it can be emotional distress.

When we suffer from mental issues, this pain comes in a multitude of forms, because each individual copes with emotional distress in their own unique way.

According to Chinese medicine, there are many complaints that belong to this category of disorders of the Spirit (Shen). Some of them are:

  • Sleep disorders: insomnia, restless, interrupted sleep, dream disturbed sleep, sleepiness
  • Disruptive mental episodes: lack of focus, overthinking, lack of vision, memory lapses, inability to make decisions, procrastination, lack of creativity, OCD, psychotic episodes
  • Emotional distress: anxiety, anger, jealousy, panic attacks, traumatic events, flashbacks (PTSD), depression, unjustified sadness, hyperactivity, inappropriate language and manners, phobias, inability to form meaningful relationships, low self-esteem, lack of trust
  • Female disorders: PMDD, post-partum depression, hormonal fluctuations, menstruation complaints, infertility (some cases)
  • Addictions: alcohol, nicotine, drug abuse, over-medication, gambling, eating disorders

However, it is not just in your mind. The Shen disorders can even be felt as physical pain. This pain can be in the form of a headache, backache, stiff neck, TMJ, chest pain, tight throat, eye strain, coarse voice, vertigo and dizziness, IBS and other digestive issues, to name but a few. If the physical ailments do not seem to be confirmed by scan or test results, one can almost safely assume they are of emotional or mental origin. At the same time, certain confirmed physical ailments can be improved once the mental state of the individual is improved.

So, if just praying for a peaceful mind won’t cut it, what can we do to improve our mental balance and restore mental health?

It is always recommended to combine alternative therapies with medication and professional therapy and counselling, especially in the case of severe manifestations. Once the critical stage has been dealt with and the mind has settled, the treatment can be extended to alternative medicine, art therapy and other forms of therapy designed to help maintain an optimal level of mental balance.

Acupressure or acupuncture, combined with mindfulness and massage therapy can be a very effective combination in restoring and maintaining a healthy mental state, provided the treatment is backed up by dietary and other lifestyle changes.

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