Background on mental health, acupuncture and Chinese medicine
May is mental health awareness month. The American Hospital Association shares that “May is a time to raise awareness of and reduce the stigma surrounding behavioral health issues, as well as highlighting the ways how mental illness and addiction can affect all of us – patients, providers, families, and our society at large.” One of the many things I love about Chinese medicine is that in Chinese medicine, an emotional or mental event is just as important as a physical one.
The organ systems and emotions
There are 12 primary acupuncture channels in the body where “qi” or energy flows through the body. These channels follow a structure much like the cardiovascular or the lymphatic system. The channels are classified as yin or yang channels depending on the organ they are associated with. The liver, heart, spleen, lung, liver, and kidney are five of the primary acupuncture channels. They each have a set of energetic properties, including an associated emotion.
These are the emotions associated with each of the yin organs:
- Liver: Anger, also seen as frustration, irritability
- Heart: Joy
- Spleen: Worry, also seen as overthinking, ruminating
- Lung: Grief, also seen as depression
- Kidney: Fear
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments for mental health
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine focus on identifying where the body’s energy flow needs support. A primary goal is to help restore the optimal flow of energy so the body can heal itself. This includes supporting mental health. When designing a treatment plan, my goal is to help restore the proper balance of energy in your body and address your specific concerns. Every person is unique and receives a treatment customized specifically to their needs.
Most often, the treatment includes acupuncture needles. The needles stimulate points in the body where “qi” or energy gathers and help direct and balance energy flow. They are a quick and effective way to balance energy. Additionally, acupuncture needles release endorphins as reported in many research articles, including this one in Neuroscience Letters journal and this one in Science journal.
Some treatments include ear seeds. An ear seed is a small sphere. It stimulates an acupuncture point on the surface of the ear. Ear seeds attach to the ear with adhesive tape that looks like a band aid or clear surgical tape. They work by exerting a gentle pressure on the acupuncture point. Patients can wear ear seeds for up to five days. I love to use ear seeds because they are a great way to continue the treatment at home. You can read more about ear seeds in the All about ear seeds and auriculotherapy blog.
Want to talk about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can support your mental health and well-being? I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-4269.
About the Author
Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine where she provides acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca.
About HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in Wilmington, NC
HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine is an acupuncture and Chinese medicine practice located in Wilmington, NC just minutes from beautiful Wrightsville Beach. Click this link for contact information and directions. Click this link for a listing and description of services offered.