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.
I am always astounded by the amount of massage therapists that do not address the sternocleidomastoid, known as SCM for short, muscle in the neck. The SCM is one of the largest and most superficial cervical muscles and it divides the neck into anatomical anterior and posterior triangles. Responsible for flexing and rotating the head, it is named by the anatomical origin and insertion points, being Sterno- (refers to the sternum), Cleido- (the clavicle, or collarbone), and -Mastoid (the mastoid process, a bony knob behind the ear).
When this muscle is really tight and produces "active" trigger points, which are irritable localized spots of exquisite tenderness that refer pain, the SCM can cause moderate symptoms. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, ear pain, postural imbalance, jaw and sinus pain, teeth hypersensitivity, stiff neck, chronic cough, and sore throat.
Originating in China in 1978, TDP, or “Tèdìng diàncíbō pǔ” (特定电磁波谱), Lamps or “special electromagnetic spectrum” lamps first developed as a result of studies conducted on the workers that worked in a rural black clay plant. Researchers were surprised to note that despite treacherous work conditions, the employees remained healthy and rarely fell sick. The scientists discovered the clay contained 33 minerals that happen to correspond with 33 essential minerals in the human body. They also discovered that the far infrared light emitted by the kiln contained special healing properties when combined with the unique mineral composition of the clay. When this mineral rich clay is sufficiently heated, it radiates far-infrared energy exactly like the human body.
As a practitioner working in the field of Specific Injury since 2010, certain therapeutic massage techniques have been found to help speed the process of recovery. Acute injury is a sudden, sharp, traumatic injury that causes pain, such as a fall, strain, sprain or collision. When the body experiences an acute injury, there is an acute period of healing, generally lasting 48-72 hours, which typically involves pain and inflammation.
The four cardinal signs of inflammation are known as redness, swelling, local heat, and swelling. During this time, massage would be contraindicated as an effective technique while the body's own immune response is stimulated and begins its job of healing.
Specializing in trauma-informed somatic bodywork services, acupressure, and holistic health