Shocks and burn-outs
May 04, 2020
As you may remember from the previous article on general stress, our spirit, called Shen in Chinese medicine, is housed by the Heart and is responsible for all our mental, emotional and spiritual aspects, our consciousness, our individuality. We can also look at it as our “spiritual energy”.
Generally, our Shen is remarkably resilient and, just as our body, can find its way back to the state of equilibrium despite various combinations of unpleasant events and stresses. However, when intense and repetitive emotions last over a long period of time, this can cause a profound imbalance or disease, especially if the emotion is not expressed and this has created stagnation. In this case, Shen can become blocked or “frozen” in a state of shock, causing symptoms such as instability, despair, depression or fluctuating emotional states. This is very common for a state of burn-out and the key here is the duration of exposure to a particular negative state or emotion.
Psycho-emotional blockages can arise from an internal or an external cause. When a blockage comes from an internal cause, an emotional trauma is usually the initial trigger. This can be anything from relationship problems, financial worries, work difficulties, family concerns or other unexpected shocks. External causes can include extremely harsh environmental conditions, e.g. heat stroke or frostbite, other physical shocks or accidents, intensive drug therapy or addictions to alcohol or recreational drugs.
The presence of these deep lingering imbalances in our beings can undermine or alter an expected course of acupuncture treatment, so it will not work as expected under normal circumstances or will not be as efficient. Unlike regular TCM treatments, focusing on particular imbalances or diseases, treatments for Shen blockages are more global and can be viewed as a form of psycho-emotional “detox”.
Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture that places particular priority on the health of the person’s body, mind and spirit, offers several protocols to resolve shocks and clear blockages of both internal and external origin. These involve clearing any toxic energy that may have accumulated in the body over time or using a special treatment to reset any deeply rooted negative feelings and emotions, thus allowing us to find a new perspective and perceive life circumstances in a different light.
While helping with shocks, Chinese medicine concentrates on supporting the following systems:
1) Spirit, called Shen in TCM and housed by the Heart. Shen is responsible for our moods, mental and emotional equilibrium and our sleep.
2) Kidneys, including the adrenal glands. Prolonged stress can deplete our kidney energy, causing excessive worry, anxiety, dull lower back or knee pain.
3) Balancing Heart Yin energy. Calm, cooling and nourishing, a balanced Yin energy is essential to counterbalance our more active, fiery and fast energy of Yang, as overactive Yang can otherwise contribute to our hyper-alert state, making it more difficult to relax and recover.
4) Clearing toxic heat and phlegm from the body. Primarily, toxic heat causes agitation and, over a long period of time, can turn into phlegm that can obstruct the Heart orifices, thus causing confusion and emotional distress.
Appropriate TCM treatments for stress-related conditions:
Acupressure - ✅
Acupuncture - ✅
Chinese herbs - ✅
Dietary/Lifestyle advice - ✅
Moxa/Heat lamp - ✅
Qi Gong - ✅
Tuina (meridian massage) - ✅