Chinese Medicine Perspective
"Chi: The Life Force Energy of the Body"
On the surface, people with disease often appear to be calm and in control. Below the surface, there is usually a fear that is denied. A feeling that they are not good enough. These people feel it is not safe to express their emotions. Those that express their emotions feel weak and vulnerable. This usually begins early in life, when the person decides for survival purposes, to always be in control; to be the peacemaker; or to be the one who keeps a level head and takes care of others. This is a coping mechanism that allows the person to survive trauma.
Later in life, however, this coping mechanism backfires because it resists change, and therefore, healing. It does not mean that those with serious disease had worse traumas in their lives. It is the coping mechanism that is different. The constant need to be in control results in stress. It takes a good deal of energy to keep emotions suppressed.
How can disease be the physical manifestation of emotional energy blockages? An emotional injury that is not expressed, cannot heal. So, it becomes trapped inside the body. This is similar to a physical injury that does not heal properly.
In Chinese medicine, disease is seen as Chi stagnation. In Western terms, there is some type of immune abnormality. We know that emotional stress can weaken the immune system. So what is going on, on the emotional level, that causes a person to have a serious disease?
As we know from Chinese medicine, there are twelve major meridians that flow throughout the body. The meridians around areas of injury have problems with stagnant Chi flow. When negative emotions get trapped in the body from lack of expression, the emotional injury is denied, which causes Chi stagnation. If a person continues to live as if nothing happened, emotional healing does not take place, and the Chi remains blocked in the meridians and respective organs.
If the emotional trauma coincided with a physical injury, it will be trapped in the area of the physical injury, and will affect the meridian where the injury is located. This can manifest itself years later, as disease somewhere along the affected meridians.
These unhealed emotional and physical injuries lead to disease. In Chinese wisdom, the body speaks. We know that under stress, we get sick more often. Illness is the body’s way of trying to tell us to slow down or stop what we are doing because it is not in alignment with our nature. The immune system is compromised when under emotional stress. The body needs a strong immune system to fight disease. Over a long period of suppressed emotional stress, a compromised immune system cannot recognize and destroy cells that might be present in areas of Chi stagnation.
Emotions Make Us Human
People commonly tell themselves to “think positive” about a challenging task, yet, emotionally, they may still dread doing it. When our emotions are not aligned with getting the task done, we lack motivation and enthusiasm. This limits our creativity and insight. When this occurs, the ‘positive thinking’ mantra will rarely produce a change in negative feelings.
The intimate relationship between emotions and physiology has been expressed for centuries in song, poetry, and prose.
There is no question that emotions are accompanied by various bodily changes. This is why people often tend to describe emotional experiences in physiological terms, such as: “My heart was pounding”; “My throat went dry”; “My blood ran cold”; “My skin crawled”; “It was gut-wrenching”; and “It took my breath away”. These figures of speech have become engrained in everyday language. They show our emotional experiences are intricately intertwined with bodily manifestations.
But, what is the ultimate source of emotions—the body or the brain? Do emotions originate as bodily sensations that are then perceived by the brain; or, do they originate in the brain as a product of cognitive processes, and, only then, trickle down into the body? This fundamental controversy has formed the core of a lively debate for over a century, yielding a fascinating and illuminating progression of ideas.
We know that negative emotions can take a toll on our mind and spirit. Studies show that negative emotions can also suppress the immune system, increase stress levels, cause the heart to beat faster, blood pressure to rise, and even change the heart's electrical stability, all of which can lead to heart disease and stroke.
As vital as they are in human experience, emotions have long remained an enigma to science.
Today there is significant evidence that shows that improving psychological function and quality of life will help ease symptoms of disease. People who are emotionally healthy are more connected, and, in control of their emotions and their behavior. They are able to handle life’s challenges, build strong relationships, and recover from setbacks more effectively. For optimal health and well-being, it is important to learn how to manage and balance our emotions, both positive and negative.
Flaws, Bob. Sticking to the Point.
Sankey, Ph.D., L.Ac., Mikio, Esoteric Acupuncture: Gateway to Expanded Healing.