In Traditional Chinese medicine, one cannot differentiate physical suffering from psychological, emotional or spiritual suffering. In classical texts, they say a superior doctor will treat the spirit first and the body will follow.As an acupuncturist, treating psycho-emotional pain is common. Our approach of looking at ones Essence, Qi, and Spirit – known as the Three Treasures – is to restore balance and harmony to the mind and body and to help those who are suffering. Pathology in the body means that something is unbalanced.

The Five Spirits (Wu Shen)

    1. Shen – Mind/Spirit
      Shen is part of your personality and how you express yourself to the world. It shows through your face, eyes and movements. It governs the 5 senses and how you take the world in through your eyes, ears, and nose.Shen is important for sleep. If not nourished or anchored then sleep becomes difficult. Sleep is needed for healing. Many people have issues with sleep – getting to sleep, staying asleep, nightmares, dream disturbed sleep. Acupuncture helps to calm the spirit and mind which helps to anchor your spirit.

      Shen is the lead spirit of the 5 spirits. It allows us to fully express ourselves and governs our emotional life. Shen helps us to use emotion as a tool for growth, develop consciousness around emotional experiences and allows them to have value.

      If Shen is disturbed the other 4 spirits are affected too. If Shen is anchored, can handle disturbances better in the others spirits. Pathologies or disturbance of the Shen includes: memory problems, sleep disorders, mood disorders, anxiety, depression, cognitive disorders (aphasia, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, learning disorders, relationship disorders (cannot make connections with other humans).

    2. Po –Corporeal soul
      Po is the spirit that is an expression of our soul in a physical form. It helps the body perceive and express physically the way that we can move in the world. It is how our spirit and soul experiences the physical form. Po allows us to feel the energy of the world around us.Pathology happens when Po is unable to handle the internalizing of changes in the world around us. We are left feeling stuck due to not wanting change and change is a threat to our survival. This can be seen in addictions, eating disorders, compulsions, hypersensitivities, fibromyalgia and auto-immune disorders.
    3. Hun – Ethereal Soul
      Hun is the spirit that allows the Shen to have movement. It allows us to move with ease and creativity, in the world of thought, imagination, symbols and dreams. It governs our planning and projects and allows us to see our dreams. Hun follows the Shen, but is less integrated into the body then Shen. If Shen is not conscious, Hun will wander.People who are inflexible and hang onto a belief with ferocity are showing a pathology in Hun. Pathology is also shown by a detachment from reality and logical thought, as dominated by single emotional experience. When Hun is wandering, constrained or agitated one will see mood swings. Hun when unhealthy will rationalize and deny emotional states.
    4. Yi – Thought
      Yi is one part of our mental faculties. It has a strong relationship to Zhi (will power) in terms of how our brains work and gather information. Yi is our intellect, our generator of ideas, and allows us applied thinking, studying, and concentration. It is our memory and recognition, allowing for a mental response to experiences.
    5. Zhi – Will power
      Zhi is the other part of our mental faculties. It is our ambition, drive, and capacity to move forward. It is associated with memory as it stores memory events and accesses it automatically. It also gives access to our true nature and constitution.

Together Yi and Zhi create a capacity for clear conscious thinking and use of thought, cognition, and intelligence to move forward in life. They have the ability to direct our attention to certain ideas and remembering in an intentional way; giving us the capacity to ponder life and information and see where it fits into our lives.

Yi grasps experience and holds it. Zhi moves us forward, while Yi gives us the intention to move forward. Together they work together to support change and growth. Yi makes connection and intention, Zhi collects the knowledge that Yi is bringing forth with thought. They help us keep heads on right to avoid emotional excess and stay grounded.

Pathology shows as reduced mental acuity, confusion, disorders in growth and development, and disorders in digestion affecting thinking and concentration. Depression symptoms of apathy, lethargy and lassitude are common. A lack of stability, and being easily overwhelmed and not feeling grounded shows possible unbalance in Yi and Zhi.

Is it time to get some help for your spirits? You are not alone. I am ready to provide you a safe, private, judgement free zone to discuss your emotions, treat your spirits, and help you on your journey through life.

Information Credit: Diagnosis and Treatment of Psycho-Emotional Pain by Yvonne Farrell

[photo credit: Darren Kirby]

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