The Seasons and Health, Essay Example
Chinese medicine has long held that there is an essential connection between the body and the universe. Furthermore, the Five Phases theory of Chinese holistic medical practices dictates that all aspects of the universe and nature can be divided into five elemental characteristics, represented by wood, fire, Earth, metal, and water. This paper will cover some of the capacities connected with each season, the part of the body connected with that season, and illnesses manifested in that region of the body in the way that each illness would be presented to a client in a manner that would help them understand the natural cycles of life and their connections to the illness. The method used to describe the seasonal gifts will be scripts as if addressing clients to educate them about each season’s features and its relationship to that client’s health.
A client comes in, reporting having experienced continual stress and anxiety, as well as problems with her menstrual cycle in the form of several missed periods, and a great deal of discomfort when she does menstruate. “Linda, we are approaching winter, and that is a season that is highlighted by stillness and rest. During this season, your energy will be saved, condensed, and stored for future needs. It is associated with water, which contains a potentially tremendous source of power waiting to be released at the proper time. You have been experiencing a great deal of stress, depression and difficulties with your menstrual cycle; these health problems are causing your water energy to weaken and potentially disappear. In the natural life cycle, water is connected with necessary bodily fluids such as hormones, lymph glands, and enzymes, so that your emotional state has affected your physical status, causing your energy source to be depleted. That means that you will need to find an outlet to express your emotional issues and things that are causing you stress,in order for your energy supplied to be restored. You need to find a way to relieve your stress and depression, and I recommend seeking help from a mental health professional. If you can find a way to minimize the pressures that you are experiencing, through talk therapy or medication, your water energy can be returned to its normal level, and you will feel better. Another alternative is to express your feelings and concerns to a family member or friends. The important thing is that you find some way to relieve yourself of the burdens that you are carrying emotionally, and that way, your energy level can hopefully resume its normal state.”
The second client comes in reporting extreme fatigue, and the lack of sexual desire in his relationship with his wife. “Bob, I know that you are having some health problems, and I’d like to help you understand their connection to the season that we are currently in, Spring. You’ve told me that you are experiencing a lack of libido, and are constantly too tired to do much of anything after work. Well, there is most likely a connection between your symptoms and the change in seasons: during spring, the element of wood ascends from the energy of water, from the winter, the way flowers grow during the rainy season. The wood energy is tremendously energetic and explosive, resulting in what we often call “spring fever” and it stimulates the drive to procreate and reawakens one’s sexuality. The energy that we get from wood is connected with a sense of youth and vitality, new growth and development. Physically, that same energy affects the movement of muscles and tissue activity. This energy needs to have free expression and the opportunity for expansion. If that expression is inhibited, it can cause feelings of anger, jealousy and frustration. For one reason or another, your wood energy is not being given an opportunity to express itself, and I truly believe that your fatigue and lack of sexual desire are connected with your inability to release that new energy. It would be helpful if you could find ways to express yourself, either through creative activities, since you told me that you are an artist and also enjoy writing, and to find people, or a place where you can express yourself freely, such as a support group. This would allow your wood energy to flow, and I have confidence that your health issues would improve as a result.”
The third client, Irene, is experiencing digestive problems, notably constipation, as well as exhibiting symptoms of depression, crying periodically and taking little pleasure in activities that had formerly been highlights for her.In addition, she reports having shortness of breath. She appears during late November, during the fall, during which season Nature, lets go of the fruits of its harvest, marking the end of the season of growth. The task is to help Irene understand the timing of her symptoms and their connection to the autumn’s purging of its creations; this causes introspection, turning away from the energy that is outwardly directed, such as when the leaves fall off the trees and return to the earth, enriching the soil and making way for the onset of next year’s harvest. The conversation with her would proceed as follows: “Irene, let me explain to you how your symptoms mirror what is happening seasonally. Fall is the season during which it is important for us to let go of thewaste, what is considered to be used up and stale, and is serving no more useful purpose and needs to be eliminated. There is negativity that remains if it is not left behind, and it blocks our receptivity to new and fresh aspects of our lives. Autumn should restore our identity, our individuality, by helping us to get rid of what we no longer need, and emphasizing the things that we keep most valuable in our lives.
“The major element of autumn is metal, and grief is the emotion of that element. When we experience a loss or separation from those that we love, the natural result is feeling grief. As difficult as it is to go through a loss or separation, it is essential to go through that process following the trauma because the result is a sort of cleansing of the spirit. When there is an inhibition of the energy of metal in us, our ability to grieve also becomes blocked and out of balance. It may become extreme and prolonged, or on the other end of the spectrum, it may be completely absent. The organs that become affected are the colon and the lungs.
“You report that you are having problems with your digestion. Well, as I have been explaining, fall is the time when we let go of waste and unnecessary things in our lives, and the colon is specifically created for the task of expelling what is toxic or wasteful from the body. That includes physical “garbage” as well as emotional baggage that we no longer need, and are, in fact, acting as obstacles to our well-being. The colon acts to assist us in letting go of allthe toxic material, physical and mental, that we no longer need and that are serving as negative, toxic forces in our lives.
“On the other hand, Irene, once we have gotten rid of all the negative and wasteful material that the colon has eliminated, there is room for new, pure material, and it is the lungs that are charged with breathing in the fresh, crisp material that replaces the old, toxic waste. The air that autumn brings is crisp, cool, and clean. The element of metal also contains the lungs, which allow us to inhale the fresh and new air, giving us inspiration as in the expression ‘abreath of fresh air,’ a new outlook on life. Traditional Chinese medicine regards the lungs as the recipients of purity from the Heavens.
“Since during the autumn, the lungs and the colon work together, one getting rid of the waste and the other taking in the fresh and pure, if they do not perform their tasks for one reason or another, the result can certainly be physical problems involving breathing as well as gastrointestinal issues. You tell me that you have been experiencing depression, shortness of breath, which certainly emanates from the lungs, and you also complain of stomach troubles, and that combination of symptoms tells me that there has been a problem in the teamwork between your lungs and your colon that needs to be corrected. If the waste in your body and mind are unable to be eliminated, the result is what we are seeing: depression, stubbornness, or an inability to let go, and isolation, none of which you are choosing to experience, but which is the inevitable result of some imbalance in your lungs and/or colon’s function. We must understand what is causing that imbalance in order to restore your sense of self-worth and physical wellness.
“When our metal energy is not functioning correctly, we are unable to perceive our own self-worth, and we may try to compensate by accumulating material things such as money, power, or status. In fact, once you accomplish acquiring these things, they still will not fill the void left by your lack of self-esteem. It is crucial that we perform the necessary tests in order to understand why you are experiencing shortness of breath, i.e., what is wrong with your lungs, as well as why you are having G.I. problems. If we can understand the cause of those difficulties, the colon and the lungs can resume working together in order to help you get rid of the toxic material that you are carrying to make way for the healthy, new air that will pave the way for a healthy body and mind.”
Tradition Chinese medicine offers a completely different perspective than Western medicine in its consideration of the universe and its impact on the body. As a result, it considers the external factors that may be contributing to dysfunctional physical and mental conditions of the human body, rather than simply addressing the presenting complaints brought in by a patient. This vision of the factors that influence one’s health status is not widely known or actually respected by physicians practicing modern medicine in the Western Hemisphere, but it certainly has its advocates in pockets of medical practices. It would be advantageous to patients. If doctors who practice traditional medicine were increasingly open to learning about Chinese traditional medicine, since it has been practiced for centuries.
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