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TCM emotional anatomy

illustration by @giuliajrosa


According to TCM, emotions are linked to specific organs. When emotions become imbalanced, this may lead to organ disharmony. On the other hand, organ disorders may also lead to emotional disharmonies. Keep in mind that references to organs here pertain to the energetic organs and their relative functions under TCM theory and not the actual organs themselves (unlike as understood in Western Medicine).


🖤 Fear and The Kidneys

The kidney is associated with fear and fright. Fear causes your Kidney Qi to descend, and because the Kidney governs the lower orifices, you might have temporary loss of urinary control.


💚 Anger and the Liver

The liver is associated with anger. Anger causes the Liver’s energy to rise to the head and result in headaches, redness in the face, or dizziness. When Liver Qi is unable to flow smoothly, one may experience irritability, depression and sudden outbursts of rage.


❤️ Joy and the Heart –

The heart is associated with joy which, in excess, may result in injury because it scatters Heart Qi and disturbs the spirit (or Shen) (神). Excess joy manifests as agitation or over-excitement and may cause heart palpitations, repeated agitation, and insomnia.


💛 Worry and the Spleen –

The spleen is associated with worry or pensiveness and overthinking. Excessive thinking, rumination and studying will cause injury to the spleen which may result in lethargy, fatigue and inhibit the function of digestion.


🤍 Grief and the Lung –

The lung is associated with grief, sorrow, melancholy, anxiety and loneliness. Grief will stagnate the Zong Qi (中气) in our chest, and weaken the function of both heart and lung. This will ultimately cause weakness and stagnation of Qi and blood throughout the body. Unresolved grief therefore may impact one’s qi (life force).


Seeking Treatment to Balance your Emotions

When visiting your TCM practitioner, be prepared to discuss your emotional health. An effective course of acupuncture treatment will depend on an assessment of both your physical and emotional anatomy.


Content originally by loreacupuncture