“The person suffering from anxiety with a Heart disharmony will appear flustered and somewhat ‘haunted.’ They will be restless and fidgety and they will tend to move in rapid movements. There will be insomnia, and . . . if there is Heart-Blood deficiency the person will tend to feel sad and cry.” —G. Maciocia
- anxiety, dread, restlessness, palpitations when nervous, upset or fatigued
- easily confused or disoriented, mood swings (laughs easily, cries easily)
- insomnia when nervous, worried or excited
- restless sleep, vivid dreams, nightmares
- cravings for cool drinks, or hot, spicy foods
- sores of mouth and tongue
- easy blushing of face, chest, neck, and ears
- burning of/ greater sensitivity of mouth, tongue, urethra, sexual organs
- frequent urination or bowel movements from nervousness
Palpitations, tightness, and oppression of the chest often indicate a dysfunction of heart-qi. While there are many other possible diagnoses that affect the flow of Heart-Qi, the symptoms above all point towards this diagnosis. It is very common for people suffering from heart-qi deficiency to have gone through a full battery of tests, and be told: “there is nothing wrong with your heart, all your tests came out normal”. While such a statement is medically speaking reassuring, it doesn’t explain, or resolve, any of the symptoms and the emotional turmoil these patients feel. In fact, it often makes things worse. It leaves patients wondering: “if Western medicine can’t figure out what is wrong with me, what am I supposed to do?” This, obviously increases their anxiety; which is at the root of what they are struggling with. This can lead to a snowball effect to unravel.
Thankfully, acupuncture can be a very efficient method of treatment in such a case! Because acupuncture is a wholistic medicine, it inquires about the whole person, not just the symptoms. When asked about the beginning of their symptoms, clients will often reveal that the level of stress was beyond their ability to cope. Or, that a specific event happened which stressed them out a lot, and “since then, I’ve never been the same”. Often a “ah-ah” moment will be experienced. Clients will to connect the dots. “Could this be the cause? There is not doubt this has been a rough time. That would make total sense!” Finally, a sense of relief and hope is experienced!
Indeed, intense stress and living in a state of constant arousal are often the genesis of this diagnosis. Either the stress level compounded beyond their ability to cope, and/or a specific event was just too much for them to adapt and remain resilient. It is useful to know that from a Chinese medicine perspective “palpitations” can simply refer to an uncomfortable subjective sensation of the heart beating, or a feeling of tightness in the chest. It does not have to show on an EKG. Such a sensation has nothing to do with the speed, or the rate of the heart.
When Western medicine doesn’t find what is wrong with us, it just means that help is to be found elsewhere. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Remembering that Chinese medicine has been around for more than 4,000 years, and that it is a holistic medicine can be helpful. It’s wisdom and knowledge is for us to tap into, and to take advantage of.