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Henry McGrath Dip.Ac Dip.TCM ND MTh

Bristol based – Worldwide web consultations
Acupuncture – Chinese Herbal Medicine – Naturopathy

Emotional & Mental Problems

26th February 2010

It is obviously normal and healthy to experience the full range of human emotions. However, sometimes we can get stuck in one particular emotion, or it can come to dominate our lives for years on end.

Chinese medicine is very good at moving “stuck” emotional patterns. It has been traditionally used by Buddhist and Daoist monks to help them remove mental obstacles on the road to “enlightenment”!

Emotional and mental problems, if not resolved, will lead sooner or later to physical problems. In Chinese medicine, each emotion affects a certain organ, as follows:

  • Over-joy heart
  • Grief lungs
  • Anger liver
  • Fear kidneys
  • Worry digestive system

Unlike Western medicine, Chinese medicine always looks for the root cause of any illness.


This is a very common problem in our society. Chinese medicine recognises many different root causes of insomnia, including:

  • Lack of rest
  • Over – exertion
  • Stress
  • “Blood deficiency” (often a nutritional deficiency)
  • “Yin deficiency” (usually a hormonal imbalance)

During the consultation you will be asked questions to determine the exact cause of your own insomnia.

Acupuncture is very effective at treating insomnia due to stress and worry, as it stimulates production of endorphins in the brain, which cause a feeling of deep relaxation.

Certain Chinese herbs act as natural sedatives, without making you feel sleepy. Others can nourish the “Blood” and “Yin”: in modern Western terms, they can help the hormones to balance.

You may be given relaxation and breathing exercises as part of your treatment.

Anxiety & Panic Attacks

A certain amount of anxiety is normal, particularly around stressful times such as during exams or relationship problems. However, anxiety can get out of hand and have a very negative impact on one’s life.

If untreated, anxiety can lead to panic attacks, an increasingly common problem seen in clinic. It is good to seek treatment at an early stage, before things get really out of hand. It is always easier to treat imbalances at an early stage than at a later one.


In Chinese medicine, this is often due to repressed anger or unfulfilled desires. An important part of treatment is usually to address such underlying issues.

However, talking is often not enough, and acupuncture can be a powerful tool to get things moving.
Problems with medication

Sometimes medication is necessary, particularly when one is losing control. However, many people come to rely on medication in the long term, which can often have unhealthy side – effects.

Chinese medicine can offer a safe and gentle alternative, but please bear in mind that:

One should never stop taking or reduce the dose of prescribed medication without consulting a doctor.

However, in consultation with the patient’s G.P., Chinese medicine can often help people to reduce or come off their medication. It has certainly allowed many people to avoid taking it in the first place!