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Stress, Emotions and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Stress is an emotional disorder

How do you handle stress?

Traditional Chinese Medicine considers stress to be an emotional disorder which has physical effects on the body and the mind.  Sometimes, when the internal organs are imbalanced (such as Liver or Heart weakness),  the body becomes unable to handle stress. Therefore it is is vital that we learn how to balance our emotions and maintain Heart and Liver health.

Main symptoms of stress include:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • easily upset
  • very emotional (eg teary, irritable etc)
  • insomnia
  • vivid dreams and/or nightmares
  • lack of energy
  • loss of interest in activities
  • headaches, stiff neck and shoulder
  • increased memory loss and/or inability to focus
  • altered bowel movements
  • lower libido and/or impotence
  • serious effects include suicide and violence towards self and others

2. Stress affects the Heart and Liver

According to Chinese Medicine, emotional issues are strongly associated with certain internal organs. Liver and Heart are the main organs which dominate emotional issues. Long-term or acute emotional issues can damage the function of these organs. You may then experience some or all of the symptoms above.

3. Suggestions to reduce stress during the holiday season


Avoid vigorous and fast paced exercise. Gentle and calm exercises are more beneficial for Liver and Heart balance and dealing with stress. For example, walking, slow swimming, Wu Tao, tai chi, yoga and slow cycling. Exercise in the outdoors with sunshine and a green environment, as the colour green nourishes the Liver.  Nothing wrong with a walk in the forest or on the beach no matter what the season. Best way to receive the healing benefits of nature.

Listen to gentle music

While you are driving or doing housework, have gentle music in the background which the body will absorb and obtain passive relaxation.  We have some lovely elemental music with and without meditations to support your relaxation here.

Suitable diet

Eat the following foods more often: coriander, green tea, peppermint tea, lemon, celery, orange, carrots, Chinese white radish, spinach and banana. They are balancing for the Liver and Heart. For additional diet advice please read Dancing the Elements.

Rearrange your timetable

Simplify your timetable so you aren’t constantly on the go. Make sure you have quiet time – make time for yourself and have breaks in your daily activities. Changing your daily routine (or mixing up your daily routine where you can), can assist with reducing stress.

Deal with Emotional Issues

Everybody has emotional issues in their lives, if you are having difficulty maintaining balance there are many support options available. Find a counsellor or clinical psychologist. Have some bodywork and most importantly find a Wu Tao class! Wu Tao can really help us process difficult emotions.

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