Updated: Jul 6, 2021
Stress is an inevitable part of life. However, coming into the second year of the global pandemic, we have seen people experience a higher level of stress than ever before. Lives have been taken, plans have been ruined, and our day-to-day activity disrupted. The impacts of lock-downs and isolation have taken their toll on many people.
We understand that life can be stressful and we want to help you relieve stress from a Chinese Medicine perspective. We want to help you to work through your stress and cure the root of the issue. This article aims to provide a starting point to understand your stress from a TCM perspective and help you deal with managing your stress in the future.
Stressors can arise from a myriad of places. Each person experiences their own versions of stress. The impacts of stress have adverse effects. It can hurt your digestion and sleep. Cause musculoskeletal pains and worse. Left unattended stress can manifest itself into chronic conditions which lead to even bigger health problems later in your life.
Looking at stress from the TCM point of view can provide you with a new perspective. Our article may help you to find new ways of dealing with stress that you had not considered before. Dealing with your stress proactively can you live happier and healthier. Let’s dive in!
Stress from a Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, stress affects the free flow of Qi within the body. It leads to stagnation of Qi, excessive internal Heat, and poor blood circulation. The effects of excessive and prolonged stress can destabilize the delicate balance within the body. It can trigger severe health issues in the long term. Therefore we should take a proactive approach towards relieving stress.
Stress can be manifested in the form of fatigue, headaches, restlessness, hypertension, anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, a decrease in sexual ability, acne, indigestion, poor or excessive eating, and a possible desire for sweets and desserts. Dealing with long-term stress can also lead to excessive weight loss or weight gain. Curious to read even more about the effects of long-term stress? Click here.
Stress and Digestive Health
Stress tends to impede the flow of Qi. This can affect the function of the Spleen. As a result, in the body, the transformation and transportation of digested food will be impeded. Leading to an accumulation of what Traditional Chinese Medicine terms "internal dampness". In time, problems such as weight gain may develop as a result.
Stress and Shoulder Tension
When we build up stress, our Liver-Qi flow is impeded, Our shoulder muscles tighten, becoming hard and rigid. The tension in our shoulders often contributes to shoulder pain, neck pain, and possibly the occurrence of headaches.
Shoulder tension can be caused by a multitude of factors ranging from us placing our shoulder under continuous mechanical strain, a lack of proper exercise, or the use of an improper posture whilst we're working or sleeping. Additionally, shoulder tension can be caused by emotional stress.
Tips for Treating Stress-related Conditions
Feeling stressed? Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is effective for relieving your stress through the use of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and massage therapy. Treatments from Health Wise Chinese Medicine are always catered to your unique combination of symptoms and body constitution. We work with you to fully understand the issue and treat the root of your symptoms.
Let's take a look at how to relieve stress from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective. Keep tuning in, as we will be providing you with proactive steps that you can do at home to lower your level of stress.
Creating a free flow of Liver-Qi
In TCM, the Liver helps us to regulate our emotions. When our flow of Liver-Qi is interrupted, we experience emotional disturbances such as depression, anger, and frustration. We may even experience mood swings. It is important for us to ensure that we have a smooth flow of Liver-Qi when we look to treat stress-related conditions.
Let us take a look at how we can invigorate our Liver-Qi from a TCM perspective. For decades, TCM practitioners have prescribed Xiao Yao San (逍遥散). This combination of herbs is believed to have stress-relieving properties for the user. The prescription is made of the following herbs: Peppermint (Bohe, 薄荷), Chinese Angelica (Danggui, 当归), White Atractylodes (Baizhu, 白术) and Poria (Fuling, 茯苓), Hare’s Ear Root (Chaihu, 柴胡).
There are also other common herbs that help to promote the flow of Qi. These include Hawthorne Berry (Shanzha, 山楂), Tangerine Peel (Chenpi, 陈皮), Lingzhi (灵芝), Cnidium (Chuanxiong, 川芎), Turmeric Root (Yujin, 郁金), Perilla Stem (Zisugeng 紫苏梗), and Prepared Fleeceflower Root (Zhishouwu, 制首乌).
Tonics that make use of the following herbs can also be useful for improving Liver-Qi. Himalayan Teasel Root (Xuduan, 续断), Black Sesame (Heizhima, 黑芝麻), Eucommia Bark (Du Zhong, 杜仲), Eclipta (Mohanlian, 墨旱莲), and Glossy Privet Fruit (Nvzhenzi, 女贞子),.
Supplementing the use of herbs with consistent acupuncture treatments can help to re-energize our body and improve circulation. Health Wise is a leading acupuncture clinic in Hong Kong and has been providing outstanding TCM treatment results to our clients for over 30 years, since 1990. Click here for to make a booking and see what it's all about.
Eliminate Late Nights and Irregular Eating Habits
Late nights and irregular eating habits can place us under an undue amount of intense stress. We may generate what TCM refers to as an "Internal Fire". When we leave stagnated Liver-Qi untreated for a long time it can lead to this Internal Fire condition. In TCM, the internal fire may disturb our sleep quality, suppress our appetite, and cause other detrimental disharmonies within our body.
If you find yourself often working late nights and eating irregularly, you may be suffering from stress-related symptoms caused by this internal fire. Clearing our internal fire and restoring balance in the body requires time and patience. The use of herbs can help to supplement the process.
Tian Wang Bu Xin Wan (天王补心丸) is a prescription that can assist us to remove the internal fire that is causing our stress-related symptoms. The herbs used in this formula include Foxglove Root (Shengdi, 生地), Asparagus Root (Tiandong, 天冬), Salvia Root (Danshen, 丹参), Figwort Root (Xuanshen, 玄参), Chinese Gentian (Longdancao, 龙胆草), Chinese Magnolia vine Fruit (Wuweizi, 五味子), and Anemarrhena (Zhimu, 知母).
You may be thinking, "How do I know if I'm taking the right amounts of each type of herb" or "which combination of herbs suits my body best?"
Get the best efficacy out of your treatment by visiting our clinic for a Herbal Therapy Consultation. Our experienced practitioners will give you guidance for what combination of herbs would work best for your body constitution. Click here to make a booking today.
Calm The Mind
When we can calm our mind, and our mind is relaxed, our body will return to a harmonious state. Acupuncture is one of the most effective treatments for helping with stress relief. It can help us to calm our minds and release tension in our muscles. If you're looking to make a booking for acupuncture click here.
Additionally, Chinese herbs that also help to calm the Mind are Longan Fruit (Longyanrou, 龙眼肉), American Ginseng (HuaQishen, 花旗参), Biota Seed (Baiziren, 柏子仁), Poria (Fuling, 茯苓), Thinleaf Milkwort Root (Yuanzhi, 远志), Chinese Magnolia vine Fruit (Wuweizi, 五味子), and Lily Bulb (Baihe, 百合).
Nourish The Heart
In TCM, the health of the Heart affects the Mind and can contribute to emotional disturbances creating insomnia, anxiety as well as heart palpitations. We need to maintain a healthy Heart in order to sustain our emotional balance.
Biota Seeds are used to nourish the Heart. It is commonly used to treat insomnia. They are also used to help with palpitations, night sweating, and constipation. A number of other herbs that benefit the Heart include Lotus Root (Lianou, 莲藕), Lotus Seeds (Lianzi, 莲子), Longan Fruit (Longyanrou, 龙眼肉) and Chinese Magnolia vine Fruit (Wuweizi, 五味子).
Regular exercise is beneficial. It increases blood circulation and unblocks the flow of Qi. Exercise helps to minimize the effects of stress on our mind and body.
Yoga and Tai Chi, Qi gong as well as other forms of exercise that focus on breathing and meditation also help to circulate Qi. These types of exercises help to calm the mind and promote relaxation.
In addition, the importance of sleep in relieving stress cannot be emphasized enough. Sleeping at the right time is of paramount importance for reducing stress. Click here to see the things you can do can to aid the improvement of your quality of sleep.
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