Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Anxiety And Stress Management - A Chinese Medicine Approach

By Tracey-Ann Brown, Complementary & Oriental Medicine

These days, many people find themselves feeling excessively stressed and struggling to find the balance between work, family, their various commitments, and a feeling of relaxed endeavour. This stress may manifest with feelings of anxiousness, insomnia/sleeplessness, headaches, moodiness, and in some cases low energy.
Traditional Chinese medicine offers a number of approaches in managing some of these concerns.
Herbal remedies
In traditional Chinese medicine, several herbs are usually combined to calm and settle the shen/spirit, in order to reduce anxiety, irritability and restlessness, restore healthy sleep patterns and clear thoughts. Formulas are prepared from a wide variety of herbs, shells and minerals called SHEN CALMERS.
These include:
Suan Zao Ren (Sour Jujube Seed)
He Huan Pi (Mimosa Tree Bark or 'Collective Happiness Bark')
Mu Li (Oyster Shell)
Zhen Zhu Mu (Mother of Pearl)
Hu Po (Amber)
Dai Zhe Shi (Hematite)
These Shen calmers are divided into two categories:
Substances that anchor, settle and calm the spirit - these substances have a sedative and tranquilising effect.
Herbs that nourish the heart and calm the spirit: These are used primarily in cases of anxiety accompanied by palpitations. These herbs are milder in character than the previous category and are more nourishing.
In preparing herbal prescriptions, herbs may also be added to address other accompanying or underlying health issues in order to achieve optimal healing. For example, if feelings of stress and anxiousness are accompanied by digestive problems or even hot flashes, then a formula would be prepared to address all of these issues simultaneously.
Acupuncture also offers an additional course of treatment for relief, whether alongside herbal remedies or on its own. Acupuncture points are selected from over 1,000 points on the body and gently stimulated. This in turn stimulates the central nervous system, which assists the body in restoring its self-regulating systems. The Ear Shen Men Point is especially effective as part of a treatment to ease anxiety.
Tai chi
Tai chi is a Chinese martial art that is primarily practised for its health benefits. Tai chi emphasises complete relaxation and is essentially a form of 'meditation in motion'. It is characterised by soft, slow, flowing movements.
Dietary recommendations
As with any health care programme, to resolve ill-health, diet plays an important role. A number of foods can assist in the management of stress and easing anxiety.
These include:
Grains: whole wheat, brown rice, oats
Vegetables and their juices: mushroom, cucumber, celery, lettuce
Spices: dill, basil
Teas: chamomile, valerian, rose hips
Milk (cow and goat)
Wheat germ
Foods to avoid include: alcohol, coffee, cigarettes.
Lifestyle recommendations
Daily practises that calm and nurture the spirit. Such as: prayer, meditation, silent contemplation, mantras, chanting, and various relaxed and mindful processes that promote self-reflection and quiet.

Your physical, as well as emotional environment is another key factor. Try to avoid excessive pollution or noise, harmful speech and relationships that are more of a burden than a joy.

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