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5 Emotions Related to the Organs: Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one of the oldest healing traditions, aging back thousands of years ago. (Read more about TCM history on the Journal of Chinese Medicine) In TCM, emotions are narrowed down to 5 basic feelings associated with a corresponding organ and element in the body:

Joy – Heart + Small Intestine – Fire

Joy refers to a state of agitation or over-excitement, rather than deep contentment. Over-stimulation can lead to problems of heart fire connected with such symptoms as feelings of annoyance, insomnia, and heart palpitations.
The Breasts: View on Instagram

Anger – Liver + Gallbladder – Wood 

Having excessive anger energy including resentment, irritability, and frustration can overwhelm the liver and deplete it of its energy. This leads to headaches and dizziness. In the long run, it can result in high blood pressure and risk of stroke. 

The Liver: View on Instagram

Anxiety, Grief, Sadness – Lungs + Large Intestine (Colon) – Metal 

Extreme anxiety can cause issues with the lungs causing shallow, slow, or shortness of breath. A normal and healthy expression of grief can be expressed as sobbing, allowing the breath to go deep in the lungs. Grief that remains unresolved can create disharmony in the lungs. Anxiety also injures the lungs’ coupled organ, the large intestine, as seen in overly anxious people who are prone to ulcerative colitis.

Thought, Worry, Pensiveness – Stomach + Spleen – Earth

Excessive mental and intellectual stimulation or overthinking causes worry in the body resulting in fatigue, lethargy, and inability to concentrate.

The Pancreas & Spleen: View on Instagram

Fear, Shock – Kidneys + Urinary Bladder – Water

Too much fear that cannot be directly addressed can cause risks in the kidneys such as kidney stones. In cases of extreme fright, it can lead to involuntary frequent urination.

Kidneys: View on Instagram

Urinary Bladder: View on Instagram

To read more about the connection between emotions and the body, refer to Understanding Mind-Body Interaction from the Perspective of East Asian Medicine and an article from Sakara.

The 4 TCM Principles from TCM World: 

1. Your body is an integrated whole.

2. You are completely connected to nature.

3. You were born with a natural self-healing ability.

4. Prevention is the best cure.

Acupuncture is a way to flow energy throughout the body as a means of preventative health care. Follow us on Instagram for more ways on nourishing your body! Book an appointment with our Doctors of Physical Therapy in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York. Call/Text (929) 295-6566 or email