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Stress, anger and anxiety

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Elizabeth(pseudonym) has been stressed from relationships between her co-workers lately. She often feels heat flaring up to her face and palpitation during meetings, which makes her hard to converse normally. Even after she comes home, it is hard for her to calm down and it takes her 1-2 hours before she falls asleep. She also experiences frequent heartburn and occasional abdominal pain


Elizabeth is currently showing typical symptoms of SNS (sympathetic nervous system) hyperactivity. SNS comes into action when we have the flight-or-flight response (aka acute stress response.) For example, we confront a bear in the woods. To fight or flight, we require a large amount of blood supply to the muscle tissues, and our heart rate goes up to pump more blood. Thus the patient experiences palpitation. Increased blood flow to the muscle tissues naturally reduces blood supply to the gastrointestinal system, because digesting food matters very little when we are in life or death situation. Thus, digestive issues arise such as loss of appetite, heartburn, bloating and acid reflux altogether with sleep problem from being very alert to changes (confronting stress or a bear) to her surroundings.


Certainly, not everyone rapidly reacts to stress like Elizabeth. We know that there is always one friend who can sleep through a fire alarm no problem. Thus, those who are hot-tempered, strongly opinionated easily develop symptoms like Elizabeth. Of course, patients who are introverted can also suffer from hyperactivity of SNS, but they will not show skin sensitivity or red face (heat flare up to the face.)





Nei Guan (Pc6) and Gong Son (Sp 4)

Point located on hands and feet that worked together to relieve stagnant sensation in the chest. (ex. Chest oppression, chest pain and heartburn)

Yin Tang

Point between the inner ends of the two eyebrows that strongly calms the mind and treats insomnia.

Shen Men (Ht7)

Point on the ulnar end of the wrist crease that regulates palpitation.


Herbal Treatment


Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis)

Extremely bitter herb that is often used calm down the hyperactivity of SNS.

Ban Xia (Rhizoma Pinelliae Tematae)

Effective herb for nausea and acid reflux. Regulates secretions of mucosal tissues.

Gua Lou Shi (Fructus Trichosanthis Kirlowil)

Excellent herb for relieving chest tightness and pain


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Stomach issues with anxiety



A patient has been visiting our clinic who has been suffering from a digestive disorder. She underwent an endoscope, but nothing conclusive was found in the results. Generally if nothing is found through the endoscope, the next step would be to assess the patient’s emotional and psychological state.


If someone has a digestive disorder, anxiety and insomnia at the same time, it will be difficult to achieve good results if we only treat the digestive system and not the other issues.


While the patient has mainly expressed concern about the digestive disorder, it is important to note that in actuality, it is a low degree of anxiety that is causing the digestive disorder and insomnia in the first place. For the best results we have to focus on calming the emotional status. Recently, medical researchers say that the stomach is ‘the Second Brain’ because the neurotransmitters and hormones that are found in the brain can also be found in the stomach. The brain does control the stomach, so by improving the patients anxiety we can in turn treat the stomach issues and vice versa; the stomach controls the brain so by improving the stomach issues we can treat the issues concerning the brain.


Patients often talk about a ‘butterfly sensation’ when nervousness or anxiety makes them feel nausea. Once such a nervousness keeps reoccurring, it can lead to food stagnation which can also cause insomnia and anxiety. When this happens it can feel like a vicious cycle.


These symptoms can be treated by ‘Fu Ling(Poria)’. I treated the patient with ‘Fu Ling’, and we saw improvement and good results. After taking herbs for 1 month, not only have the patients stomach issues greatly improved but her psychological issues have improved as well.


Acupuncture Treatment


For cases like this, the Pericardium 6 and Spleen 4 is commonly used. For optimal results patients usually require treatment for one month. In the first two weeks of treatment the patient should receive acupuncture twice a week, then once a week for the remaining 2-3 weeks of treatment.


Herbal Treatment


To relieve the patient of the ‘butterfly sensation’, herbal treatment is essential. Fu Ling(Poria) is the best herb for this type of symptom. Fu Ling has a calming effect for the stomach and is also used for palpitations and found to be very effective in treating edema and dysuria as well. We recommend a period of 1 to 3 months for this herbal treatment.



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