Anger as a Cause for Disease 

 January 12, 2017

By  Steve Hoffman

In my last post, How Do Emotions Cause Disease? How Acupuncture Can Help? I discussed a bit about how emotions can cause disease in both western and eastern medicine. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, and more specifically, in the theory of Five Element acupuncture, there are five emotions that can affect a person and those are: anger, joy, sympathy/worry, grief and fear. It may seem strange that an emotion like joy or sympathy can cause disease but once you look at them from a Chinese Medical perspective it makes a great deal of sense. Further I see these correlations in my clinic every day and once treated, physical symptoms are relieved. I will start with the emotion of anger because it probably has the most correlation with western medicine. 

Most see anger as a negative emotion. Don’t act out of anger. Don’t get too angry about things etc. And why is this. Well anger can cloud our judgement but it is also known to raise blood pressure. It really goes hand in hand with stress which can cause a whole host of diseases. Frustration can also be a part of anger. So how does Chinese Medicine view the bodies response to anger. Well, anger, frustration and stress are said to affect the Liver in Chinese Medicine. It causes the energy of the Liver to become “stuck” and then the Liver cannot perform its functions (from a Chinese Medical perspective). So, things like PMS, menstrual irregularities, severe cramping, and infertility can happen in women. Headaches and migraines can be linked to the Liver. Depression is said to ensue when the energy of the Liver becomes stagnant. Why do you think it feels good to have a drink after a stressful day? The alcohol courses the energy of the Liver! The problem is that too much alcohol creates heat leading to things like more anger, headaches and even cirrhosis of the liver itself. Abdominal pain and bloating can occur through the Livers relationship with the digestive organs. Reflux, neck pain (the meridian that runs through the neck is the Gallbladder meridian, which is the Livers paired organ so no surprise that this occurs in like 99.9% of my stressed patients) chest pain, low libido, cold hands and feet, eye problems, tightness along the sides of the body (also the domain of the Gallbladder meridian), insomnia and inflexibility are just some of the physical symptoms that are typically associated with Liver problems. It is amazing (well maybe not) how many times a patient will come in complaining of something like a migraine and they have a whole cluster of these other associated symptoms! These symptoms are real and left unchecked, life threatening disease processes can take hold. And anger, stress and frustration can either cause or exacerbate these problems. 

So, what is anger good for anyway? Well, when in balance it can really be a catalyst for change. Think about it, when you get angry enough about something, what do you do? You say “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Kind of funny but true. You make a change, in some way, so that you no longer get angry. But with many people, that anger must fester for a while before it finally blows up and for some, they just continually push it down or allow things that frustrate them to continue. This is where disharmony, dysfunction, and disease manifest. 

You know what is awesome? When I treat someone for one of these real, physical problems, most times the patient will remark in a rather surprised fashion as to how well they are sleeping, that they feel “lighter” and less stressed. Well now you know why! Call or book online for a 1/2-hour consultation and we will discuss your individual problem and let you know if and how we can help.

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

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