Chinese medicine recognizes that the body is much more complex than simply physical symptoms. When patients come to our office seeking relief for one condition, they are always questioned about their entire health and well-being-it is important to know if you are sleeping well and drinking plenty of fluids! As a practitioner of this energetic medicine, it is interesting to see how emotions are stored in our physical body. I see patients every day that come in for health problems that result from stress: headaches, neck pain, anxiety and digestive disorders. For some, we store symptoms in our musculoskeletal system and acupuncture can release the muscles that become tensed up from a stressful situation. For other people, stress is stored in their energetic channels, which often leads to chest tightness, digestive issues, insomnia or more.
So what to do? There is a beautiful concept within Chinese medicine that is based upon turning emotions into virtues. Chinese medicine recognizes five emotions that correspond with different energetic channels: The heart is associated with joy, the liver, anger, the lung, grief, spleen, pensiveness and the kidneys fear. The five emotions become the five virtues by turning joy into propriety, anger into compassion, grief into justice, pensiveness into faith and fear into wisdom. In this manner, it is healthy for people to experience many different emotions on a daily basis but when we find that we become “stuck” in one emotion, this concept of turning an emotion into a virtue is most helpful and helps us gain a new perspective.
By turning my unhappy emotions into virtues, I am able to help myself stay calm and happy–not only in difficult situations but also in every day life. Believe me, if you try it, you’ll see!