Mental health, the Pandemic and Traditional Chinese Medicine
A patient came in to see me yesterday and he said “The last two years have been like a paragraph with no punctuation”. It was the most accurate way I’ve heard to describe the aimless amount of time we’ve spent together, wondering when our lives will return to “normal”. There have been few or no exclamation points like trips, parties, weddings and celebrations. Work, tasks and chores seem like a run-on sentence with no period and no end in sight. Many patients I have seen have put their lives under a microscope and made ground breaking shifts like getting married, breaking up, having a baby, going through IVF and fertility treatments, moving cities, moving jobs and redefining their close circle of friends and family. Families and best friends have fought tirelessly about what it means to live in and take part in society. It seems everybody has gone through a collective grief of their old sense of security and at the root, once we dig down deep, I see a lot of fear. Fear for one’s own health, their families health and personal rights and freedoms. As a TCM Doctor, I put my personal opinions aside and look at how we can collectively heal to come together as a community and how we can be an active participant in optimizing our own physical and mental health. This situation can be compared to when we are already at the stage of disease. It's not helpful to scrutinize every past decision and action. The past can help inform the future however the focus needs to be on decisions we can make today.
In TCM specific organs are associated with different emotions. An individual can correlate their own emotions with the corresponding organ system. For example if there’s anger we look to balance the liver. Fear we look to the kidney, worry - the spleen, grief - the lungs and anxiety - the heart. Typically there is a spectrum of all of these emotions so we can look deeper into what other symptoms are showing up that associate with each organ system. For example eye twitching we look to the liver, low libido or infertility - the kidney, bloating and loose stools - the spleen, sore throat and cough - the lung system. There is a lot more detail that goes into a proper TCM diagnosis like looking at the state of the tongue and palpating the pulse to see what state the body is in. The summary above can give a simple example of how we relate the emotions to our body. It can be empowering for a person to simply make this connection so they can look further into their health either through their own reading or with a registered TCM practitioner.
A very effective and reliable at home treatment I have been prescribing my patients when they cannot come in for treatment is at home acupressure ear seeds. They are extremely effective for calming the mind, helping take the edge off anxiety and they can address specific organs that are mentioned above. These seeds are available for purchase on our website www.thenestclinic.ca The ear is a microsystem of the body, similar to foot reflexology and can have an incredible impact both on the emotions and overall health. Other at home methods include acupressure massage, TCM dietary therapy and of course seeing your local TCM practitioner for acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. The more we know about how we respond to stress and situations that are beyond our control, the more we can be empowered to help ourselves through natural and effective methods. The better we feel individually, the better we do as a community.
By Dr Tedi Fisher, R.Ac