The treatment of stress in Chinese Medicine covers all the organ systems in different ways. What happens during the time of stress is that the Qi (energy) either gets trapped somehow or gets somewhat twisted and out of sorts. The idea in Chinese Medicine is to keep the Qi smooth and flowing. However, when there is stress involved, the energy becomes stagnant and begins to have an affect on the organs. To begin with, we can discuss different organs and their individual responses. The Lung organ is in charge of breathing and the emotion involved with it is grief. In a situation where someone is caring for a loved one who is older and not doing well, there is a deep area which gets very depleted and over whelmed. I have seen this recently in several of my patients who are caring for their elderly parents and the responsibility becomes very intense. I have two patients now who are in similar position and they both come in for weekly treatments and herbs and they are able to handle things much better. They are given a combination of liver herbs to smooth the energy out and heart herbs to calm and center their spirits. They both claim that they are calmer and can handle things much better. The Lung energy naturally has a descending motion but in this case the Qi does not descend and people have trouble breathing or can have a slight asthma reaction.


Another organ which is affected by stress is the Heart. During intense times of stress the Heart houses the Mind and Blood in Chinese medicine and because of this, mentally someone can go through emotional and mental turmoil, bad dreams, and an unbalanced emotional state that is devoid of joy. The patient can also experience heart palpitations and an energy weakness as well. Since the Heart houses the blood it is important to have the blood flowing smoothly so it can nourish the heart and the body. If the Heart Qi is strong, the blood vessels will be full and regular. If the heart Qi is weak, the pulse will be feeble and irregular. The state of the blood can also be reflected in someone’s complexion. If the blood is strong and flowing the complexion will be rosy. It is very common for someone to begin forgetting things when their heart Qi is running so low. This can also be reflected in mental restlessness as well.


The Liver energy has a lot to do with courage and anxiety. The Liver organ stores the blood and has it go to the sinews and bones and also opens up to the eyes. It is a self-regulating organ, which is co-coordinated with physical activity. In many ways it is best to make sure one’s Qi is moved by physical energy so that it does not get stuck. When the Liver operates well and with nourishment…the feet can walk, the hands can hold and the fingers can grasp. In a situation of depletion the body will become extremely tired and will not be able to fight off exterior pathogens. The individual can become easily ill, the muscles can begin to cramp, the eyes will begin to hurt and the emotion will be filled with anger. I have gotten tremendous results in relaxing and nurturing the Liver energy so that it flows downward and is smooth. This organ can actually be responsible for depression on top of a stress reaction towards life. I believe Chinese medicine can get immediate results with even one treatment.


The Spleen and Stomach meridians can be grouped together in order to understand the effects of stress. They are the two organs responsible for transforming and transporting food. The Spleen energy has to do with worry. The Spleen and Stomach direct Qi downwards so in times of stress, the energy or Qi of these organs can move upwards causing belching, acid reflux or indigestion. The Spleen is in charge of holding the blood together in the vessels. When a patient is over-worrying or over-thinking, this alone can throw the digestive system off. Things are no longer digested, go through the system and then are expelled. Instead, the system begins to shut down and not only can constipation occur but food will not be digested properly and nutrition will not be absorbed by the system. The Spleen and Stomach together create a “lifting” experience and when they are not working properly there could be a form of prolapse occurring. The Spleen is the residence of thought so meditation would help to create a calmness and clarity.


These are some of the organ systems that are hampered from stress. All the organ systems work together in Chinese medicine to create balance and in times of stress it is important to see if you can get a couple treatments to help you through the hard times. I have seen remarkable results in just one or two treatments with acupuncture and herbs together. If you are in a situation that you need some help, please take of yourself first so that you can take care of situations with a greater amount of ease and harmony. This will help transform your experience of difficult events and times.



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.