Emotions. An interesting topic because for many of us we’ve become so detached from them, and that’s not necessarily our fault. We’re living at a time where we are taught it’s not ok to feel or that it’s so uncomfortable to do so, we’re best tucking them out of the way. From a young age we are told to stop crying (mostly because the noise is super annoying at times – I should know as a mother of two), to be brave, strong and fearless. All amazing qualities however there’s a time to love and a time to cry and denying ourselves of feelings only exacerbates them. They need to surface at some point. Under normal circumstances, emotions aren’t cause for illness however it’s the pent up, tucked away, excessive or prolonged emotions that can become a problem.
It’s this accumulation over time or organ disharmony that can lead to the emotions causing physical problems and manifesting within the body. It’s near impossible not to be momentarily angered if somebody’s driving skills are questionable and they nearly cause you an accident or when your date stands you up. This type of emotion doesn’t cause disease, however, when one finds themselves in a constant state of anger (for example) regarding a specific situation in their life which is long lasting or ongoing and remains unresolved over a long period of time, this can definitely disturb the mind and lead to illness.
On the flip side, emotions when in excess or repeatedly noticed, are a great clue when it comes to looking at the cause of illness. When we marry this up with what we know from a western sense about illness we can mesh the two together and really drill down on the root cause of weird and wonderful signs our body might be showing us. When it comes to skin and the emotions, Chinese Medicine has quite a bit to say. To better understand this, we must first look at emotions and what’s associated. The organs look like this;
Anger affects the Liver
Joy affects the Heart
Pensiveness affects the Spleen
Worry affects the Lungs
Fear affects the Kidneys
Today we’re talking about emotions and skin issues. Of course, unresolved emotions can cause a host of issues (not limited to skin), but let’s look at how long-term emotional upset may manifest as weird and wonderful skin woes.
Long term anger is actually quite common. Because of the stagnation, this can cause upset with the liver energy, it may be the reason behind your pesky skin issues like heat rashes or red blotches especially in the flank region of the body.
Whilst hives may certainly be a result of an allergic reaction or from an irritant, hives may also be a result of excessive stress from long-term worry or stress. This may stem from a weak spleen or on the flip side lead to the spleen energy becoming weak, it’s a matter of trying to decide what came first, the weak organ or the overacting emotion. In any case strengthening the spleen function (aka spleen Qi) may begin to remedy the symptoms.
Those black circles under your eyes, they aren’t necessarily from sleep deprivation but can be associated with long-term fear affecting the kidneys. When fear is experienced long term, it can really wear away at the kidney energy. As we age this can naturally happen too, but it’s certainly not something we should hope to see in our early 20’s.
The lungs are said to govern skin and therefore a host of issues can also be attributed to lung health. Excessive worry is said to affect the Lungs and when it comes to presenting as skin issues, there may be a host of skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, and acne to name a few.
The idea of ‘over joy’ can seem a little odd. Can somebody really be too happy? When there is excess in any emotion, including joy it can over time lead to symptoms that stem from it affecting the heart. It’s important in this instance to point out that the heart from a TCM viewpoint doesn’t necessarily translate directly to how we see the heart in the west, but more so the energy of the area where the heart resides. Excessive joy may affect the heart therefore and is said to present in the complexion – usually one that lacks vibrancy.
If you’re finding yourself thinking, “I am a worry wart and I have skin issues!” or “I’m always angry and I have a heat rash the size of a small nation on my neck,” do not despair – these are new clues you can add to your bag of tricks to help you back to better health.
It’s pretty simple really; look after the affected organ to see a shift in the recurrent emotion. If worry is your jam, addressing your spleen is a great place to start, and really for every organ, we have tea blends that are very simple to assist. Angry all the time – look at ways to aid in optimising liver function, like Liver Cleanse. We have a blend for all occasions!
There’s always a solution for every issue, and conventional methods don’t seem to be working, drawing on the wisdom of ancient methods may just provide you with the answers and solutions you’re searching for. We’re here to help you understand that a little deeper. We’re not all Chinese Medicine Doctors, but that’s why you have me. We’ve done the groundwork for you creating simple fixes for those pesky issues.
Written by Dr. Nat Kringoudis TCM.