One of the deficits of modern medicine, at least in the West is its primary focus on the disease rather than the whole person. This has lead to the emergence of holistic health centers across the country, and for good reason. Most of us have experienced some form of emotionally driven heath effect in our lives or at least observed it in others.
Oriental medicine has a different take on disease, and sees it as a manifestation of forces within the body Westerners may at first tend to doubt. But it’s a fact that Chinese herbal medications have produced results for the Chinese for some 5000 years, so it’s hard to dismiss the results out of hand.
The Chinese herbalists believe that all disease is caused by the interruption of the “Chi” (also spelled “Qi.”) This results from imbalances in the yin and yang which in turn is caused by excesses. These excesses may be of a variety of natures, heat and cold, full and empty conditions, internal and external forces and the topic of today’s article, excesses of emotion.
Holistic herbal remedies focus on counteracting excesses including the seven emotional excesses of Joy, Anger, Anxiety, Brooding, Sorrow, Fear and Fright. It is believed that each emotion is connected to one of the five Chinese elements and a specific body organ. The five elements are used to define inter-relationships between the organs, and are also outside the scope of this simple article.
Excessive joy is thought to affect the heart. Anger stimulates the liver and Anxiety the kidney. Brooding affects the spleen and Sorrow the lungs. Fear and Fright both affect the kidney, like anxiety.
Over the eons, Chinese herbal medications have been identified that can calm the nerves, help us sleep, and raise our spirits. These holistic herbal remedies take into account the emotional state of the person as part of their diagnosis, and then add into the equation the interactions as indicated by the five elements, yin and yang etc. So while the emotions are not the entire basis of evaluation, they are a central element that has lead to successful treatments of hundreds of millions of patients.
Understanding these inter relationships and the role of the patients emotional state seems to be a critical part of the equation and one of the reasons for the emergence of holistic herbal remedies in the West as well as the East.