What is stress in TCM
Stress can be divided into acute and chronic stress. Acute stress is short term and goes away after a certain stressful event. Whereas chronic stress lasts for months and starts affecting your mental, physical or even relationships.
TCM has understood for thousands of years that disease in the body is related to emotions, a concept called “Psychosomatic Disorder”. Your Liver is the No.1 organ that is most affected by stress and is always needs some TLC.
When your Liver is in distress, it will show symptoms to tell you that its function is becoming out of balance.
Anger is the emotion associated with the Liver. If you constantly feel angry, that is ok. Just make sure you acknowledge it, feel it and express it in a healthy manner. Are you often irritable? Do small things stress you out easily? Do you find it difficult to relax?
If yes, perhaps it’s time for some self-care or get some acupuncture!
TCM Acupuncture for stress
Don’t let the needles scare you. They are as thin as hair and you’ll only feel a prick at first then a slight dull sensation around the area. Think of acupuncture points as power points with specific functions. There are about 365 acupuncture points all lined up on a highway called “Meridians”. By stimulating specific points, it can produce therapeutic effects all along the highway, making you feel relaxed during the ride.
For homecare, you can press these 2 acupuncture points.
1. LR 3 (Liver 3) – Located on the toe, in the depression between the webbing of the 1st and 2nd toe.
2. LI 4 (Large Intestine 4) – Located on the back of hands, in the depression at the webbing between the thumb and index fingers.
Massage these points with your finger for 2-3 minutes every day to improve the Qi circulation and reduce your stress level.
TCM herbs for stress
The most commonly prescribed Chinese herbal formulas for stress are Xiao Yao San (also known as “Free and Easy Wanderer”), Chai Hu Shu Gan, Yue Ju Wan and Gui Pi Tang.
Before you take any medication, do consult your TCM physician, who will take a full medical history and do pulse and tongue diagnosis to determine the best acupuncture and herbal prescription.
Herbs and Diet for stress
Chrysanthemum Tea (Ju Hua)
Maybe you’ve drank them in Chinese restaurants. Chrysanthemum is a light yellowish flower that is sipped like herbal infusions. Drink 2-3 cups on daily basis to relax and maintain a healthy Liver. You can also try adding some dried roses for a change.
Note: Chrysanthemum is cooling. Limit consumption if you are always cold, having your menses, always have pale complexion, pale tongue body. These are usually a sign of Yang and Qi deficiency.
Jujube fruit (Da Zao)
You can find these sweet Chinese dates in dried form at supermarkets or herbal halls. It is filled with nutrients, fibre, natural sugar and it’s a blood and Qi booster. Eat 3-5 grape sized dried dates as snacks, add them in your tea or put them in your cereal/yogurt for breakfast.
Note: Jujube is warm in property. If you have heaty symptoms such as constipation, body heat or fever, red face, bad breath, cough with yellow phlegm, eat less or avoid them.
Lily bulbs (Bai He)
Usually used to nourish the lungs for dry coughs. But it’s also great for combating fatigue, irritability and sleeplessness which is often caused by stress. Add them in porridge or boil them with lotus seeds and rock sugar for a healthy dessert.
Note: Don’t eat if you have cough with thick phlegm, this may produce more phlegm.