In a first session, it is wonderful to begin the session in a seated therapist-to-client format to have the opportunity to attune to each others' nervous systems and to introduce the Somatic Experiencing® stabilization tools and techniques. It is in this way that we can discover together what may be most helpful for your unique nervous system to feel more settled and be able to move into self-regulation. This creates the foundation for increasing capacity and building resiliency in the nervous system that allows us to go deeper into the work of healing trauma.
The Liver and Gall Bladder Meridians of the Wood Element make up the Land of Hun according to Chinese Medicine. While the Gall Bladder Meridian is traditionally associated with decision making, the Liver Meridian controls planning. When both are excessive, we become easily agitated and angry. "Excessive or chronic anger is injurious to Yin in general, and to the Liver in particular." The Liver has the "functions of a military leader who excels in his/her strategic planning," and when in an extreme state, we may have difficulty making decisions and carrying out our plans. We may experience frequent anger, irritability, impatience, headaches, and moodiness.
The Kidney and Bladder meridians make up the Land of Chih in Chinese Medicine. Chih is the aspect of the psyche responsible for strength of character, power of personality, vitality, enthusiasm, and sexual energy." It is the seat of resolution. It is the psychic force which give us the energy to move through and around obstacles to our growth, to being our real Self." The image is WATER, a universal symbol for the unconscious. The Kidneys and Bladder literally have a water function, as they regulate water metabolism. When the Kidney meridian is deficient, our energy levels plummet and we are liable to feel fearful, timid, inadequate, and inferior. We may experience fatigue, hypersensitivity to cold, ear problems or tinnitus, dizziness upon standing, hair loss, knee problems, menopausal hot flashes, night sweats, low back pain, brittleness of bones, and decreased sexual desire.
P'o corresponds with the Metal Element and the Lungs & Large Intestine organs in Five Element Theory. P'o influences our general life energy on a fundamental level. The extreme emotions of P'o are grief, sorrow, or anguish. The conceptual thought of this Metallic Land is to embrace our instincts, holding onto what feels good to us, and letting go of that which no longer serves a purpose.
The synergistic state of P'o, or the Lungs, is openness, receptivity, and non-attachment. The deficient, or hypoactive, state of P'o is hypersensitivity, deprivation, self-pity, dejection, despondency, and oppression. The excessive, or hyperactive state of P'o is stoicism, defensive pride, selfishness, greed, jealousy, and envy. Let's look at how these chronic emotional states create imbalances in these meridians according to Chinese medicine.
A hyperactive Spleen Meridian in Five Element Theory is characterized by over-thinking, brooding, worry, anxiety, obsessions, and obsessiveness. Chronic worry causes depletion of the body energy, physical weakness, and stagnation of the ch'i. With the Stomach as its yang partner meridian, Spleen meridian imbalance may present physical symptoms of indigestion, muscular tension, appetite imbalance, weight problems, abdominal pain, or menstrual difficulties. Worry can become an obsession or even a hobby for some.
"When we have a problem, one thing we can always do is worry about it.
Worrying is somehow comforting--perhaps because it feels like we are doing something about our problems when we worry about them.
Worry provides the ILLUSION of useful activity."
-Iona Teeguarden, The Joy of Feeling
In our most recent Five Element Theory blog Anxious Heart, Disturbed Shen, we discussed how anxiety and stage fright cause imbalance in the Heart Meridian. Here in the second series of Five Element Theory, we will be discussing the Earth Element, which corresponds with the Spleen-Pancreas meridian. Our focus will be on the hyperactive emotional state of over-thinking, worry, and obsession, its effects on our bodies, and how that translates in Chinese Medicine.
What if we had a map to our psyche that helped us guide our feelings and emotions? Taoist philosophy has one such map, as used in acupressure theory, consisting of five inner lands called Shen, I', P'o, Chih and Hun. These five aspects of the psyche represent how we interact with our lives. Each inner land corresponds to particular meridians, organs, body fluids, and certain body parts or tissues and is influenced by certain acupuncture points (acupoints). These acupoints release physical or emotional tension and help us connect to our innate self.
Specializing in Trauma-Informed Somatic Bodywork, Thai Yoga Massage, & Jin Shin Do® Acupressure