“The mind and the body are like parallel universes. Anything that happens in the mental universe must leave tracks in the physical one.” -Deepak Chopra
Physical health and emotional health are not two separate systems but are intimately intertwined, known as the mind-body connection. This connection is the link between a person's thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors and their physical health.
Chinese medicine philosophy recognized over a thousand years ago that suppressed emotions put stress on various body parts which in turn create disease symptoms and ill health. Here are examples:
· Anger: Liver, right mid back pain/stiffness, feeling like your rib is out of place.
· Sadness: Heart area, chest, palpitations.
· Grief: Lung, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
· Fear: Kidney, lower back pain, UTI.
For most of us in the modern world, healthcare tends to be about responding to crises. We wait until we’re in pain, until a problematic medical issue has appeared, and then we go to the doctor’s office and do our best to manage the symptoms with targeted drugs or surgery. There is no doubt that Western Medicine is an incredibly valuable system, since surgery and medications have become life-saving tools when serious issues arise. The problem comes when we begin relying on these tools as a first-response rather than a last-defense.
A lack of awareness about our bodies and a reluctance to focus on prevention can lead us into situations where our health is seriously at risk. We are, in effect, driving our cars around without heeding the warning lights on the dash, or even stopping to refuel the gas tank. We don’t have to live this way. We can choose to optimize our health, making decisions that keep us running strong and managing potential problems before they even manifest. Acupuncture and herbs along with good diet, sleep, exercise and acknowledging our feelings is a powerful combination for keeping your mind body connection at its best.
And remember: smiling, joy, and happiness are antidotes to unexpressed emotions that are causing physical discomfort. When you notice discomfort in your body, try a simple smile for 10 seconds. Even just turning the corners of your mouth up will work if you don’t feel like smiling. Notice your discomfort decrease a bit. Do that several times a day and make an acupuncture appointment to put your body back in balance.