The Origins of Disharmony in Chinese Medicine – Seven Emotions Continued

The origins of disharmony in Chinese Medicine – 7 emotions continued

3 main factors can impact on the body:

1. The Six Climatic factors

2. The Seven Emotions

3. Way of life

Last time I introduced the seven emotions: – Anger, joy, worry, anxiety, grief, fear and fright.

“Rage causes the qi to flow upward; joy allows the qi to be relaxed; grief produces dejected qi; terror causes qi to descend; fright drives qi to disorder; and pensiveness makes qi stagnate.” (‘Treatise on Abrupt Pains’ in Plain Questions)

This week I will expand on each of the 7 emotions.


Anger and frustration are most closely linked with the liver. They cause an adverse flow of the liver qi, interrupt the circulation of the qi and blood and can cause stagnation of qi.
The symptoms associated with pathogenic anger include dizziness; headaches; flushed face; reddened eyes; bitter taste; dry throat; sensation of a lump in the throat; pain in the ribs; frequent sighing; irritability; depression; menstrual irregularities such as P.M.T, lumps and pain in the breasts.


Joy is the emotional expression of the heart. When normal this emotion benefits the body encouraging the circulation of qi and blood. Over-joy causes scattering of heart and possibly lung qi resulting in an inability to concentrate and instability of emotion
(extreme up and downs).

Anxiety and worry (pensiveness or overthinking)

Anxiety, worry or pensiveness injures the spleen causing the spleen and stomach to fail in transporting nutrients to the body, with loss of appetite a common symptom. The emotions are said to originate from the heart thus, prolonged pensiveness can cause
stagnation of both heart and spleen qi. Symptoms include: depression; anxiety;
weakness of limbs; poor appetites; abdominal bloating; restless sleep; amnesia;
palpitations; menstrual irregularities.


Extreme grief injures the lung. As the lung controls the qi of the entire body through its dispersing function grief may lead to stagnation of qi leading to a lack of functioning of all the organ systems. The common symptoms are: pale skin; difficulty breathing; sensation of suffocation; sore throat; loss of voice; listlessness; sighing; loss of appetite; difficulty urinating and defecating.

Fear and fright

Extreme fear and fright injure the kidney causing the normal upward flow of the kidney to flow downwards. The resulting symptoms are: listlessness; desire for solitude; sore lower back; inability to control urination and defecation; bedwetting; long and irregular periods; easily startled; palpitations and mental restlessness.

My next blog will discuss how the way we live can impact on our health.

Review of my week:

What did I do well?

I have started making small changes to improve my health both physically and emotionally. This week I had to:

  1. Drink more water i.e. with every meal and after I used the toilet
  2. Walk outside for at least 30 minutes a day

Next week I have to introduce another couple of small changes to add to the above. This stops me from becoming overwhelmed and makes it achievable. I’ll keep you posted.

What would I like to develop?

I am continuing to introduce EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) into my practice with some success. I am hoping to put more information on my website about EFT in the near future. I attended an EFT gathering in January which was truly inspiring and I will definitely be attending next year.

What did I learn?

I was reading the Journal of Chinese Medicine and read that acupuncture contributes substantially to UK healthcare. Based on the survey results, the authors estimate that almost four million acupuncture treatments were provided in the UK in 2009, of which 1/3 were provided in the NHS. They conclude that the primary  omplaints for which patients consult acupuncturists,(Patients most commonly consulted for low back, neck, shoulder and knee pain, as well as migraine and headache), reflect the growing evidence base for these conditions , and suggest the survey data provides a basis for future decision making regarding policy and practice. For more information refer to the British Medical Journal (BMJ Open, 2012 Jan 11;2(1):e000456.)

Speak to you soon.

Lorraine x

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