It has been a year filled with great loss for me. In April my best friend of 30 years passed away from lung cancer at the age of 58 years old, in September, my brother-in-law passed away from pancreatic cancer at 56 years old and now my mother is being taken from the hospital to go home to round the clock hospice nurses and she is 84 years old. She has cancer and also a tumor on her brain. Throughout all these illnesses, I have not only used acupuncture and herbs myself but have also treated many people faced with similar situations. I not only write this article form a place of sickness which leads to dying but also from a place of shock when others have lost loved ones in an immediate situation of accidents and immediate deaths.
There are so many levels of grief and loss and I will go on to talk about Chinese Medicine and how it treats the individual on many different levels. The Lung channel opens up to the Corporeal Soul. Loss and sadness leads to a deficiency of Lung-Qi and may manifest in a variety of symptoms such as tiredness, depression and crying. It also affects the heart qi and controls the entire upper body. There is a wonderful point on the wrist, which helps to release the effects of sadness, worry and grief. To experience loss affects many channels. The Lung rules the throat and the strength of the voice and the Heart governs the tongue and the speech. The Heart channel is very affected by shock of any kind and during treatments acupuncture can treat the “shen” which is the spirit of the Heart.
The best combination of acupuncture points would be to move the Qi (energy), calm the Mind, and lift the mood and also to calm the mental restlessness which many people experience during this time. All of these points can be used for shock, prolonged worry, grief and pensiveness which all cause stagnation of the Qi. I believe most individuals experience loss on the physical, mental and emotional levels. Physically, most people have very low energy, are not sleeping much and feel deeply depleted. Mentally many times people are very scattered and confused. Emotionally it becomes such a deep feeling and the loss of someone creates an ending and a deep feeling of sorrow.
There are many beneficial herbal combinations that address the stagnation of sitting and waiting in a day to day illness whereby it helps to break up stagnation den also gets the kidney energy moving form sitting a lot during these times. A lot of people experience stiffness and pain in their kidney area, which also has to do with the emotion of fear. With the acupuncture and the herbs the energy can be moved around and begin to circulate again. The Mind also is obstructed on an emotional level and someone can begin to feel blunted and somewhat numb. It is amazing to give treatments during this time since it is a time of great need and it helps a patient feel more grounded and more open spiritually. There is a point on the bottom of the foot that is a kidney point and there are ear points which together help the patient just be calm and present.
Losing track of time and days, not sleeping, having to deal with many family dynamics, feeling overwhelmed and being on the edge emotionally is all happening at the same time. There are many acupuncture points, which clear the mind, end the restlessness, open the heart and move the Qi. There are also herbal formulas, which can help as well in conjunction with the acupuncture. Recently I had a female patient who came in during the time her mother was ill and she felt very out of her body and almost “twisted” as she described. She has now been coming for two months since she has taken care of her mother and claims that both the herbs and the acupuncture has kept her grounded and very calm. I gave her a heart formula to calm her shen and a liver formula to move her Qi. Being the total caregiver has put great stress on her and she realizes that it is very important to also take care of herself at this time. I also recommended to her to go outside and take a walk in nature and just breathe deeply even if it’s for a short period of time.
Please remember to take care of yourselves during this emotional time and if I can be of any assistance throughout your journey I would be truly honored. To those of you who have lost people close to them, I send my heart out to you. It is a journey filled with many mixed feelings and thoughts and throughout it we can be very challenged on many levels. My sincere sympathies to you all.