Common Concern: Stress

Biomedical View

Stress is the body’s reaction to a certain environment, situation, or relationship. Stress can occur in many forms either as a single entity or in combination. It may appear in a physical, emotional, and psychological forms. Stress, under certain circumstances, can be considered “healthy” as in an emergency situation where an enhanced awareness is necessary to complete a mission.

Financial problems, personal relationships and the workplace may all be common causes of increased stress levels. Prolonged stress and pressure over time can cause the individual lasting health problems, causing a great lack of energy. The feeling of being at the breaking point is a typical emotion associated with stress.

  • Some of these health problems may occur as:
  • Inability to focus
  • Low energy
  • Crying
  • Involuntary shaking
  • Insomnia
  • Chest pain
  • Increased emotional levels
  • Depression
  • Decreased libido
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased appetite
  • Digestive issues
  • Use of alcohol or drugs to cope
  • Heart palpitations…
  • Some biomedical ways to help relieve stress would be:
  • Certain medications
  • Meditation
  • Talking to a friend
  • Exercise
  • Resolving unaddressed issues
  • Change of lifestyle
  • Diet change
  • Seeing a psychologist
  • Writing
  • Listening to audiobooks
  • Reading a book
  • Playing a game

Traditional Chinese Medicine Point of View

Here at Heaven & Earth CMHC our personal observation of stress can occur when a burden is placed upon an individual, usually of a psychological nature though not always, becoming well beyond the capability of the individual to handle.

A greater demand, one that is out of the capability of that individual’s ability at the time it was set, has been put into place and begins to overtax the present resources within that person.

Effectively, when such a burden is placed upon a person, if it is not “too outside” of that individual present capabilities and reserves, and the individual effectively “rises to the challenge” by making necessary adjustments through diet, herbs, lifestyle changes and such, Stress can be used as a force to create greater positivity in a persons’ life and a means of growth.

Though, in especially extreme situations that can cause a person to go into “acute shock”, like an extreme act of violence or injury. Let’s call this a “shock-stressor” where people have been known to develop instant “superpowers”, if you will, having moments of superhuman strength.

There is a famous example of when a mother lifted the backend of a car to free her child that was pinned underneath it. Another example would be when a person was able to withstand the overwhelming heat of a building fire and was able to run in and pull someone out without fire-protective clothing.

Yet, other situations of stress can differ. If a burden is too heavy, or even perhaps, the burden is not too heavy at first, but the duration extreme, a person will become weaker because of this extended duration. Let’s call this a “long-term stressor”. In such cases of a long-term stressor, “stress” becomes a pathogenic force, and an overall breakdown of a person’s health systems is resultant.

  • Many occupations create such a circumstance, especially jobs of:
  • caretakers
  • high demand/pressure jobs [such as: doctors, lawyers, policemen, other civil service jobs]
  • retailer work
  • and let’s not forget, Chinese Medicine Herbalists!

We should also include individuals who go to university for years upon years as recipients of a “long-term stressor”.

In Chinese Medicine, the shock-type stressor can, almost instantly, consume all of the vital treasures of a person’s body. These treasures are specifically, the Yin, Yang, Chi, and Blood. Keep in mind, these treasures are exactly that: treasures of extreme worth. These treasures are the resources within your body that enable vital and vibrant health.

Think of them the way you might think of your assets, like your 401K, home (if it’s paid off!) or other bank accounts. Think of a shock-stressor as if an extreme debt was suddenly placed upon you financially—and how that would almost instantly consume what ever assets you had to liquidate to neutralize such a problem. The same thing can occur to the body during a shock-stressor.

To remedy such a situation, it is of extreme importance to replenish your body with herbal tonics to rebuild and rectify such a depletion. Without them you may end up developing chronic, long-term debilitating deficiencies that will create a plethora of intertwining problems down the road.

For the long-term stressor circumstance, the depletion often does not come until after a build-up of stagnant Chi and Blood. The idea of a person’s body becoming like a “pressure cooker” is a common analogy we use here at Heaven & Earth CMHC.

What’s interesting here, is that the Liver Organ System in Chinese Medicine is a regulator. The Liver Organ System is responsible to run and distribute evenly the Chi—much like how an efficient traffic system works within a city. When the Liver Organ System gets out of balance, a traffic jam develops. That traffic jam can then build and build, creating an extreme blockage of Chi until it effectively explodes. This is much like a pressure cooker whose valve never opens to begin relieving such pain.

Depending upon what type of stress you have, and how long you have had it, you may need a variety of formulations to regulate and restore your body. Please see below for possible solutions of excellence.

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