Thousands of years ago, Chinese Medicine began with shamanistic roots where a man (or woman, rarely but sometimes) would dance in front of a fire with a spear to scare “evils” out of the body and thereby heal.
Over millennia the evils were defined, the dance and spear became a precise method of pattern diagnosis with needle insertion, and Acupuncture as we know it today came to be.
What many people don’t know, is that illness is STILL defined in terms of “evils” in modern Chinese medicine today. The evils we refer to are internal and external factors that can occur separately or together to create various patterns of illness. They are:
They can occur at different energetic levels, in different organs, and in combination with different constitutional factors (Yin, Yang, Qi, Blood) to further complicate things. Identifying evils - also called “Evil Pathogenic Invaders” or EPI’s for short - and constitutional factors allows Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine to get to the root of illness and create long term healing.
Stress and Inflammation - Big Brother Evil
In Springtime, Wind is key because it is also knows as the “Big Brother Evil
that can pick up and carry other evils into the body. The Liver is also especially sensitive to wind externally, and can generate wind and heat internally when out of balance.
Something else the Liver is sensitive to? STRESS, and stress - we know - contributes to inflammation in the body which can be defined as heat and can create internal wind when unchecked from an energetic perspective.
By this energetic mechanism, stress can cause all sorts of symptoms, such as
to name a few. Any of those things sound familiar?
In this way, stress and inflammation are the root of many illnesses and keeping stress and inflammation managed and in check is a primary focus and concern in Acupuncture treatment, especially in Spring - the season of the Wood Element and the Liver specifically.
Finding Ways to Manage Stress
If you can only choose one health focused activity this Spring, I highly recommend you focus on stress management. The sooner you learn to manage stress, the more of the bodily evils above you will avoid and the healthier you will be long term.
Also realize that stress is something all of us encounter - we can’t avoid it, its part of human life. The important things are to:
Tips for Stress Management
Everyone has to find their own combination of what works for them around managing stress to a degree, but I can share some tips from professional experience that are proven methods for success. I encourage you to explore the options below and experiment with different combinations until you find the most potent stress and inflammation managing recipe for you:
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.