Day 39: Emotions in Chinese Medicine

Photo by Cristofer Jeschke on Unsplash

In the 5 Element theory, each of the Yin organs are associated with an emotion. Note — the Emotions cannot be separated from the physical life, but it is just one tool to consider when using Chinese or 5 Element diagnosis, albeit, a really good one, I think. They are, as follows;

Wood/Liver = Anger, and the sound is Shouting. Excess anger is obvious to all who are around it, but anger that does not show or come out will implode. The feeling that the person has could be one of being stuck or paralyzed, on edge with others, frustrated, even passive aggressive actions. Liver is one of two organs that are most susceptible to disturbances. When the Liver Qi is going in the wrong direction, it can be the result of excessive anger, or the source of it. It can cause stagnation in the channel, and we refer to that as a condition called Stagnant Liver Qi.

Fire/Heart = Joy, and the sound is Laughing. The opposite of Joy is sadness, and many songs and poems have been written about broken hearts. When there is imbalance in the Heart, or lack of Joy, there is probably also sexual frustration because the protector of the Heart, the Pericardium, is also called Circulation Sex. Trying to find too much Joy can create an imbalance, and possibly even high blood pressure because the Heart is trying to say, slow down, or I’ll slow you down.

Heart is the second organ that is most susceptible to disturbances. One of the functions of the Heart is to store Shen, the Spirit of Heart. Shen can become disturbed with excess joy by scattering the Heart Qi causing it to become muddled, and even uncontrolled. Disturbed Shen can show as mania — maniacal laughing. Scary to watch…. Shen is the Light that shines through your eyes.

Earth/Spleen = Pensiveness or worry, and the sound is Singing. Some books say the emotion is Sympathy. Having too much sympathy, worrying too much about something or someone will create abdominal or digestive issues, getting in the way of the Spleen’s function of transforming food. It can manifest as someone always LOOKING for sympathy, too, a self-absorbed over-worrying about their own needs, and vying for other’s attention.

Metal/Lung = Grief, and the sound is Weeping. Grieving is all too familiar to most of us caused by the death of a love one, but it can also be because of a loss of job, home, relationship and other reasons. Sometimes it doesn’t show up right away, but will typically show up as a Lung condition somewhere. An imbalance can show as a lack of weeping, even when the situation calls for it.

In my case, my parents died 10 months apart from each other, and I was at their bedside each time when they passed. During that time I went through my second divorce, as well. About 6–12 months later, I had pneumonia twice in a two year period, and thought I was getting it a third time because each time it started out with bronchitis. It became so bad that I was coughing up blood. Thankfully, I had herbs that I drank to stop the bleeding. This kind of bleeding can also be called Liver Scorching the Lungs.. Do you think I had grief and anger going on at that time? Would be hard to say no… I have asthma, and had lung issues growing up so there were precursors to the weakness.

Water/Kidney = Fear and the sound is Groaning. If you have watched the Titanic movie, James Cameron’s version, when the ship was beginning to sink and as it was turning upward to do its dive into the water because it was splitting in half, you could hear the metal and other parts of the ship groaning. That’s what it sounded like to me. The sound made me shudder. The photography was so superb that it made me feel the fear knowing there was no way to save anyone else by then and those left to sink with the ship knew that. Water. Fear. Groaning. And Shouting…lots of anger and fear. The earlier version with Barbara Stanwyck when I was young, and the photography was nothing like today, but it instilled a fear in me even then that I made a conscious decision I would never go on a cruise ship. I still feel that way today. That’s how deeply it ingrained in me.

Phobias of all types fall under this fear. Fear of water, fear of heights, of people, of closed spaces, etc., and it can give a sinking of despair feeling. Children, and even adults who experience great fear will cause Qi to drop, and since Bladder is the Yang action partner, may wet their pants. We’ve seen that in movies. These types of fears are more about hanging on, rather than letting them go. Logic won’t matter because they are embedded in the subconscious. Those with imbalances in Water, may moan and groan all their lives, fearing the worst. There is a spiritual saying, “Pray for the best, but prepare for the worst.” Hmmmm…..



My vocation is in alternative health therapies; cosmetic acupuncture, oriental medicine, esthetics… Subscribe for a monthly newsletter

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Mary EK Denison

My vocation is in alternative health therapies; cosmetic acupuncture, oriental medicine, esthetics… Subscribe for a monthly newsletter