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Chinese Medicine is based on the principle that mental, emotional and physical wellbeing are intricately intertwined. 

Chinese Medicine is an integrated form of healing whereby the mind and body is intimately connected. This integrated mind-body approach to health and healing operates is a dynamic loop where emotions impact the health of the body and vice versa. It is important to note that Chinese Medicine delves far more deeper, beyond the surface level of a presenting pain condition.  

For example, a stressful week juggling family, cooking and work commitments can result in an emotional uproar of irritability and anger. In Chinese Medicine this can effect the Liver, and result in multiple signs and symptoms including painful menstrual cycles, breast distension, headaches, dizziness, red eyes, dry mouth or a red/flushed face. Alternatively, an imbalance with the Liver can result in an uproar of stormy mood swings. 

Hence, when we say Chinese Medicine Acupuncture delves beyond the surface level, we mean that it is believed that emotional imbalances can act as both symptoms and causes for physical issues. Additionally, mental health conditions are linked to specific physical ailments of key organs in Chinese Theory. Organ systems in Chinese Medicine may include Western Medicine physiological functions, however they are always viewed as a part of the integrated, holistic 'whole' body system - meaning the entire mind and body may be observed and evaluated during your treatment to improve a specific health condition or concern that you might have. 

Emotions are linked to five basic feelings that are associated with a specific organ and element in the body, as seen below: 

  • The Wood element, is associated with the emotion of Anger, which corresponds to the Liver organ.
  • The Water element, is associated with the emotion of Fear, which corresponds to the Kidney organ.
  • The Fire element, is associated with the emotion of Joy, which corresponds to the Heart organ.
  • The Metal element, is associated with the emotion of Sadness and Grief, which corresponds to the Lung organ.
  • The Earth element, is associated with the emotion of Worry, which corresponds to the Spleen organ.

Understanding the 5 Elements and the effects on Emotions - How to spot imbalances 

Because we have mentioned the Liver (Wood element), we will start with explaining what it does and the importance it has on the body before moving on to the other elements. 
Liver - The Wood Element

Emotions: "Flying off the handle", reactive, impulsive, anger, resentment, depression, frustration, irritability and bitterness. 

Functions:Involved in the smooth flow of energy and blood throughout the body. The function of digestion and processing of nutrients are the primary functions, including the regulation of bile secretion, it stores blood, and is connected with the tendons, ligaments, nails and eyes.  


Lung - The Metal Element 

Emotions: Sadness, Grief, Detachment. 

Functions: Breathing/respiration brings energy/oxygen from the air into the body and removes carbon dioxide, and distributes fresh oxygen throughout the body. The Lung works with the Kidneys to regulate water metabolism, an is an important organ for immune function and resistance to bacteria and viruses. The Lung opens to the skin, the pores, and regulates the sweat glands and body hair, providing moisture to the skin. 


Spleen - The Earth Element 


Emotions: Ruminating thoughts, obsessive thoughts, overthinking, focusing too much on a particular topic, excessive mental work such as worry. 

Functions: The Spleen plays an important part on the body immune system, acting as a blood filter, removing old blood cells, bacteria and any impurities. The main function of the Spleen is the Transformation and Transportation of fluids in the body, aids digestion and nutrient absorption, helping to create blood, a strong Spleen keeps the blood in its vessels. It is connected to the muscles, lips and mouth and essential for memory, learning/studying and thinking. 


Heart - The Fire Element 

Emotions: Mental restlessness, depression, insomnia, despair, lack of enthusiasm and vitality. The heart is linked with the emotion of Joy; an imbalance of joy is expressed as either too much (agitation and restlessness) or too little (depression).

Functions: The heart pumps blood throughout the body; thereby regulation the blood circulation and blood vessels, it is responsible for heart palpitations and regular pulse. It influences/nourished the shen (mind), vitality and spirit. It is connected with the tongue, arteries and facial complexion.


Kidney - The Water Element 

Emotions: Insecurity, weak willpower, aloof, fear, being fearful, isolation. In Chinese Medicine Kidneys are linked to Fear, which can manifest as chronic fear or anxiety. 

Functions: The key organ for sustaining life - responsible for reproduction, growth and development and maturation. The Kidneys remove waste and excess fluid to make urine, they link wiht the Lungs to regulate water metabolism and respiration. The Kidneys are connected with bones, teeth, head hair and the ears. 


The Five Element Theory in Chinese Medicine plays an Important role in regulating the health and wellbeing of a patient.

The body is always telling or showing up subtle signs or symptoms - It is up to us to look inward, reflect and notice these signs and symptoms. By doing so allows us to use Chinese Medicine, or ourselves, as tools and strategies to enhance our wellbeing, live optimally and understand what we need to regain balance and control of our lives. 


If you have any questions regarding how Acupuncture could be a strategy to support you - contact us via our contact page, or schedule in a session online