A lovely description of the action of flower essences is the comparison to the physical effects we can feel when we hear a moving piece of music, or seeing an inspirational work of art. While neither the music or art is physically “touching” us, our body is still experiencing some kind of reaction. We can call this a soul/spirit/energetic/qi response based on our personal belief system. Flower essences fit nicely into the healing modalities of acupuncture and massage as it also seeks to adjust and tone the energetic levels of the human body.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and to honor that, this post is about how Traditional Chinese Medicine understands our mental and emotional selves. Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can be very useful therapies to treat common mental health conditions, especially in conjunction with psychotherapy and pharmaceutical medication (when appropriate.) Common mental health conditions we see in our clinic include anxiety, depression, post-partum depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and eating disorders.
The inspiration for this particular blog post is the reality of what I see on a daily basis in clinical practice as a natural medicine practitioner. Unfortunately, many of my current patients suffer from mental/emotional disorders to various degrees, and one of the most debilitating and common mental/emotional disorders I see is clinical depression. First off, it is important to understand that clinical depression, or major depressive disorder, is different than a temporary, fleeting feeling of being down and out, or what people refer to as the blues. It is actually a normal reaction to feel and express such temporary emotions when things are going wrong and we have a really bad week. Rest assured, we all go through this at times, and it does not mean something is wrong with us just because we feel so bad. When someone has clinical depression, simply playing a song for them that they like or taking them to the movies or an amusement park will not solve the problem like it might if it is simply just the “blues.”
If you have had acupuncture before, you can probably attest to the relaxation response that can be elicited by an acupuncture treatment. But acupuncture does more than make your body feel relaxed - medical research has shown that acupuncture can actually change how your body responds to future stressful events.
If you don’t know where you want to be, how can you figure out how to get there? This time of year, of course, lots of people are setting New Years Resolutions. But here is the thing – how many New Years Resolutions have you ever actually kept?
Therefore, as effective and, in fact, necessary physical exercise is for moving our qi, so too can we exercise our emotions/mind. Qi stagnation closes things down, tightens things up, and slows things down. In the mind, qi stagnation manifests as stress/anxiety, irritability or anger, overthinking, excessive worry, depression, an inability to let things go, to name a few. We can see in these examples that the ‘stuckness’ of the flow of qi through ourselves impacts the way we perceive and interact with the world.
Meditation does not end after getting up off the cushion. It should be brought with us moment to moment.