Should I get acupuncture if I’m not sick? This is a question people often ask. For more than 2,500 years practitioners of acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have emphasized the importance of preventative medicine rather than waiting until disease begins. Yang-sheng is the preventative branch of TCM, yang-sheng means to ‘nourish life’. The tradition of drinking bone broth to nourish wellbeing comes from the yang-sheng branch of TCM.
Another key concept from the yang-sheng tradition of acupuncture & TCM is emotional balance is the key to wellness and longevity. According to TCM there are external and internal factors that bring health out of balance. The external factors include environmental factors (weather, pollution, viruses, etc) while the internal factors are our emotions. The key to maintaining health is keeping our emotions in balance and not get stuck in any emotion.
Western allopathic medicine usually doesn’t recognize the role of emotions in creating illness beyond acknowledging stress exacerbates or causes 80 percent of all illnesses. According to TCM theory, specific emotions are linked to specific parts of the body: being stuck in an emotion can bring that part of the body out of balance. Acupuncture & TCM can help us stay healthy by balancing our emotions.
TCM theory identifies specific emotions that bring us out of harmony in specific ways. How did this theory develop? TCM practitioners have kept meticulous records for 2,500 years; there is a long tradition of scholarly observation and analysis of case studies. Through this long history patterns of health and disease were identified; these patterns held consistently true and thus became an integral part of TCM theory.
In one of the oldest books on TCM, “The Inner Classics of the Yellow Emperor,”compiled around 100 B.C.E., said excess joy slows and scatters qi, excess anger causes qi to ascend, excess sadness and grief weakens qi, excess worry knots and binds qi, fear descends qi and fright induces chaotic qi. The good news is each excessive emotion can be ‘harnessed,’ transformed and channeled into a virtuous emotion, which restores harmony and wellbeing. This transformation of emotions from excess to virtue is a vital aspect of yang-sheng branch of acupuncture and TCM.
Among the most common of excess emotion is the tendency of overthinking, worry and rumination; this will tend to result in digestive issues and/or fluid metabolism concerns, as well as muscular tension and pain. To transform overthinking and worry into the virtue of creativity and dynamic insight, develop a regular meditation practice, even five to 10 minutes once a day can make a difference! You will develop the discipline to redirect worry and overthinking into dwelling in the present moment more often. A quote from “The Dhammapada” (The Buddha’s Path of Wisdom) expresses this, “As the bee collects nectar and departs without injuring the flower, or its color or scent, so let a sage dwell in his village.” Notice when you worry or overthink about something, think of your thoughts like a bee. Allow yourself to collect the ‘pollen’ of your thoughts while also germinating future ideas and transform your thoughts into honey. A bee does not cling to only one flower.
Look for future articles for tips on transforming other excessive emotions and nourish your vitality and wellbeing with the wisdom of TCM.