Kim Cattrall and Grief

“It was like a 250 pound gorilla sitting on my chest, I couldn’t get it off me, it was always around 3 am… I didn’t know how to get if off. It was almost a feeling that if I slept I would have to deal with the grief underneath it… coming to terms intellectually of my dad passing…and the emotional loss…”

These were words spoken by the actress recently whilst being interviewed by television presenter Piers Morgan when she talked about the death of her father. She seemed baffled by these feelings and I thought if she had some knowledge of Acupuncture, she could make more sense of what happened to her. Acupuncture theory can elucidate what she was experiencing physically and emotionally regarding her heartache. Let me describe how.

Western medicine does not ascribe emotions to each of the major organs of the body they only attribute a purely physical function to them. In contrast acupuncture concepts believe there is an emotion linked to specific body parts, for example, the heart is the seat of joy, the liver assertion, the kidneys vigilance and arousal and the stomach and spleen hold thoughtfulness.

The Lungs are responsible for connection and loss also referred to as grief. This ties in with where she felt the gorilla’s weight, where the lung organs are situated in the “chest.”

Another contrast between eastern and western medical belief is that acupuncture philosophy works with a 24 hour clock which places a two hour peak of performance in a 24 hour cycle to each organ. How interesting that Kim always woke at “3 am”, because this is the specific time when the two hours of peak of lung performance starts. It makes complete sense to an acupuncturist that this is always a time when she felt her “intellectual” and “emotional” loss most keenly.

In summary, Kim feelings were in complete harmony with how acupuncture views the physical and emotional workings of the body. Were she to have an understanding of the concepts involved with the mechanisims of the lungs she would gain peace of mind about the weight on her chest and the 3 am awakening.

Cluster Headaches/Ancient healing wisdom

On May 5th 2017 BBC Breakfast news reported on an item entitled ‘Cluster Headaches’. Apparently, there are approximately 130,000 sufferers in the UK and they are acute, excruciating attacks of pain on one side of the head. Pain described as worse than that experienced by migraine sufferers. One afflicted person describes how the torment is so bad that he deliberately finds a hard surface on which to bang his head, and sometimes knocks himself out to gain relief!

During the footage two statements made by contributors to the programme especially alerted my attention. The first was by a victim who said, “I suffer every spring and every autumn without fail.” The other was made by a researcher working on a study project about the condition at Kings College Hospital, pointing at a picture of the brain she commented, “this is the posterior hypothalamus also known as the internal body clock which we think is linked with cluster headache attacks.”

These comments made me reflect on my knowledge of acupuncture and two of the guiding principles employed in diagnosis and treatment. In Ancient China patients didn’t go for acupuncture treatment when they were ill, they went at the change of season’s to have their energy tuned to the season about to occur. For example, in the spring and summer, the energy is rising and active (Yang). In the autumn and winter, the energy is withdrawing, becoming passive and inward (Yin). This was preventative medicine keeping people in balance with the rhythms of nature. I can guarantee that when the season’s change I will see patients (who are new to Five Element practice), be ill with colds, especially if they work in air-conditioned offices.

For thousands of years acupuncturists have understood that the body has a 24-hour clock. In layman’s terms each organ of the body has a peak two hours period of activity in a 24-hour cycle. For example, the gall bladder is at a peak between 11 pm and 1 am, the liver between 1 am and 3 am. Twelve hours later the organ has a two hours resting period so between 11am and 1pm next day the gall bladder is enjoying, or trying to enjoy a tranquil phase, similarly, the liver between 1pm and 3 pm.

Patient’s who have digestive ill health find it interesting that the stomach and spleen are at their peak between 7 am and 11 am so any food we send down between those hours they break down to the best of their ability and we derive the most nourishment from them. Consequently, between these hours in the evening they are resting and any food they are asked to deal with is not handled effectively and we can suffer symptoms like acid reflux. I don’t know the origin but there is a saying, ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and supper like a pauper’. Chinese medicine has understood this for centuries.

When taking a new patients case history I always ask if their symptoms are worse/better at a particular time of day or night, and likewise during a particular season.

Back to the BBC report, without any shadow of a doubt the fact that the lady always suffers in autumn and spring is significant. The research project would benefit from knowing the principles behind Eastern medicine and the 24-hour body clock. I often come across items in the media that are detailing new medical research, new prescription drugs, new ‘scientific’ study and find myself wishing that western medicine/science would look to the ancient systems of healing and their understanding of what creates health/ill health in an individual and not reinvent the wheel!

The Internal Causes Of Disease

Do you ever wonder why you developed frequent ‘migraines’ in your forties when previously you hardly ever suffered from headaches? Or, why in your thirties you start having ‘asthma’ attacks for the first time?

For over 2000 years Chinese medicine has understood that some physical health problems originate from emotional causes.

Let me explain, the Chinese call this The Seven Internal Causes of Disease. These are the emotions of overthinking, shock, fear, excitation, sadness, oppression and anger. These seven emotions encompass all feelings. For example, anger can include frustration, depression, resentment, irritation, bitterness and rage.

In health it is natural to express emotions as a response to a certain situation. If, however, these emotions are not fully acknowledged and expressed they might become a cause of disease that will impact our biological health. Unlike Western medicine the major organs of the body have an emotional as well as a physical function. Unsurprisingly, the heart is joy, the kidneys vigilance (arousal), the stomach and spleen emotion is thoughtfulness, the liver assertion (surging), and the lungs connection and loss (grief). To illustrate how this may generate physical symptoms, overthinking predominantly affects the stomach and spleen and may cause poor digestive health in a patient.

It is not uncommon when taking a new patient’s case history to reveal that their asthma symptoms which developed in their fifties are as a result of the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one ten years earlier. At the time of loss they didn’t express their grief but kept it bottled inside. Unexpressed emotions don’t vanish into the ether they sit inside us and can become a cause of physical illness.

In summary, not all bodily health problems start at the physical level. The root cause of some issues can be traced back to a pent-up, unresolved feeling that has been inside someone for as little as twelve months to as long a period as forty/fifty years or more. In my experience acupuncturists not infrequently diagnose one of the Seven Internal Causes of Disease as the root cause of their patients bad health.

Pam Everitt
Lic.Ac., BA (Hons), MBAcC