Spirit, Shen, Stress, and Anxiety

A few years ago, I had a patient come in to my office on an almost emergency state of depression and anxiety. The patient had just gone through some of life’s major stressors and needed assistance working through. After the acupuncture rebalancing treatment the patient went to check out, looked up at me and stated, “I can see you now. When I came in for my treatment, I couldn’t see or focus, but now everything is clear.” Life’s stressors and emotions can take a toll on our Spirit or Shen.

When looking at Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Spirit, Shen, Stress and Anxiety are all intertwined. Shen is Spirit in TCM and is translated to Spirit or Mind. Shen lives in the heart and implies mental health, mental function, and consciousness. It is the greatest influence over body organ functions. The Spirit can be injured by external or internal causes. Shen draws our attention to the divine, contributes to wisdom, virtue, and calmness, and maintains our whole being in order. The Spirit can be harmed by external factors if we fail to maintain vitality through good habits, physical strength, and adequate nourishment. The Spirit can also be harmed by internal factors, mainly excessive emotions such as anger, worry, stress or anxiety. This disharmony affects the liver, which is important in the smooth flow of qi or vital energy throughout the body.

“Disharmony of the liver is the cause of 10,000 illnesses.”

When qi stagnates, blood and other body fluids do not have the energy to move. If this stagnation is left untreated, masses may form as breast lumps and fibroids. If blood stagnates in the chest, the lungs and heart will be affected. Too often today, much of life seems like a battleground, whether it’s at home, at work, or on the road traveling between the two.

Stress and Anxiety begins to build up in the shoulders, leading to shoulder pain, neck pain and headaches. The channel that runs over the shoulders, neck and sides of the head is the gall bladder channel, which is paired with the liver channel. Any stress related issues that are affecting the liver may also affect the gall bladder as well. The liver is the one organ that is able to affect all of the other organs. Some other common symptoms of stress are headaches, digestive disorders, insomnia, poor concentration and memory loss. There has been evidence that chronic stress can lead to long term health issues like hair loss, strokes, asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure and irritable bowel syndrome. Studies reveal that 60-90% of doctor visits are related to stress.

Many people resort to food when feeling stressed. Some turn to alcohol, sleeping pills or antidepressants. Antidepressants prescribed to reduce stress can only provide limited, short-term relief and often lead to chemical dependence. Whereas acupuncture can stimulate a relaxation response, which lowers blood pressure, decreases the heart rate, reduces stress, improves digestion and increases energy, as well as improves depression. As a result of acupuncture, substances released in the body regulate serotonin in the brain, which in turn affects the emotional state. Acupuncture or TCM will not change the circumstances of a person’s life. However it can relieve feelings of stress, anxiety or depression. A person that feels more confident in their ability to cope with the negative aspects of life and make necessary changes will feel the heavy mindset of stresses being relieved. This can lessen or eliminate the dependence on sleeping pills or antidepressants. It’s important to note that most of these conditions require an initial treatment protocol of 8 or more sessions. Once a significant improvement is reached, you can then move to a maintenance schedule.

Tami L. Clark is a Doctor of Natural and Sacred Medicine and an NCCAOM board certified, licensed acupuncturist in the state of Colorado, as well as a Reiki master/Teacher, a nationally certified Auricular Therapist and a nationally certified biofeedback practitioner.  She is also a mom of four great kids, a part-time ski instructor at Breckenridge Ski Resort and has lived in the county for fourteen years.

Tami L. Clark, DNM, Dipl.Ac, LAc, CBC, ACIC, 
Reiki Master/Teacher

Schedule your appointment today by calling (970)-372-1907 or book online at www.tlcacu.com.