Life is full of stress and today’s world economy has put everyone in a stressful atmosphere. Even if you have not lost your job, plummeting sales, increasing cost of living, angry bosses, rude people, crowds, disobedient kids and most importantly other stressed out people, can make anyone start to experience the symptoms of stress. Are you stressed out? If you frequently experience headaches, excessive sighing, shortness of breath, mood swings, unclear thinking, insomnia, bouts of anger and shouting, easily irritated, and the list goes on, you may be experiencing stress overload. You need to reduce it! Breath deeply, take a break. It is time you take matters into your own hands and find alternative ways of dealing with stress overload. There is no escaping stress in today’s modern world, but managing it will put you back into control. Lets explore how we can do that.
When you are not functioning at your best, it affects every aspect of your life including your relationships, access to opportunity, your lifestyle and makes you into a person you do not want to be. Chinese Medicine offers several ways to help your body and mind reduce stress by regulating the flow of energy in the body. The Chinese call the vital life force flowing throughout every cell “Qi”. In acupuncture, there are specific channels which flow on the surface of the body, and link deeper to internal organs. Qi is similar to the word ‘energy’, but encompasses a lot more which requires many hours of study to understand completely. For simplicity there are many types of Qi for specific functions in the body which we can explore at a later time. When Qi flows smoothly throughout the body there are no signs and symptoms of dis-ease. Everyone has some form of Qi flow impairment, so we all need some help form time to time. Chinese medicine theory is profound in its understanding of this vital life force Qi, the energy which makes your body work in specific ways. The modalities used to alter or change the functioning of Qi in the body are Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Massage, and most importantly diet and lifestyle.
Traditional Chinese Medicine helps balance and regulate the function of our internal organs so they can do their jobs efficiently. The Qi is what makes the internal organs function. When the Qi is impaired to and from organs they become either deficient or excessive in nature, either overloaded, or extremely weak. When the organs are deficient you will feel weak and powerless. When the body is in excess, you feel overloaded and sluggish. ( yes you can be excess and deficient at the same time) When the body is functioning well, the mind also reaps the rewards, and you will feel the stress melt away like magic. The loud, smelly, obnoxious person on the subway just doesn’t seem so annoying anymore!
Frequently in clinical practice I notice how people’s energy is not free flowing, and becomes stagnant. It stops moving. This causes a series of events to take place. Most often, the energy which is not moving freely causes stagnation in the body, and we call this “Qi Stagnation” When the Qi stagnates it can cause different symptoms depending on the person. Generally it easily impairs the function of the digestive system, which is responsible for making Qi or new energy. We obtain new Qi from two sources, from eating food, and from breathing. If either one of these systems is not working at peak performance, it can alter the functioning of every cell in the body. Qi stagnation attacks the digestive organs, which are responsible for the production of Qi. If the lungs or digestive organs are not functioning at their prime, we can end up with a Qi deficiency. If we become Qi deficient we can become tired, get cold sensations such as cold hands, feet, limbs, nose. We can overcome this by regulation the flow of Qi in the body, enabling the organs responsible for the movement and production of Qi to work better!
When qi stagnates it can also lead to excess heat in the body which tends to rise to the head or upwards. People with this rising heat may also have cold in the body, but may experience headaches, red faces, easily anger. If the heat is affecting your digestive system, you may be constantly hungry and have heartburn. Generally, if you have qi stagnation, you will be experiencing pain somewhere in your body. Do you have lower back pain, headaches, muscle tension? If you do, your qi is stagnated.
The best course of action is to use acupuncture to help move and unblock the Qi. When you do this, we can improve the digestive functioning which creates more qi. We can improve the functioning of the organs which rely on Qi, and we can help ease your mind which feels better when your body is working better.
To learn more, visit my website at traditionalhealingcentre.com
Jason Tarter, D.Ac