Just about every person in the world today carries some anger. Anger hurts not only oneself but even more so our loved ones. It destroys health, traumatizes families and relationships, jeopardizes work relationships and jobs, and perpetuates negativities and unhappiness in one's life. Chronic anger can erode one's self-esteem, generates self-denigration and deep guilt. But, the cycle of anger and violence can stop with the intervention of an effective therapy such as Chinese medicine. The link between body, mind, and spirit is well established in the 3,000 year old Chinese medical philosophy. The treatment for anger and other emotional disorders in Chinese medicine is not new, not uncommon, and has been proven effective.
Chinese medicine regards anger as neither a personality trait nor a reflection of one's character, but a health disorder. It thus, provides treatments -- giving hope and healing to fragmented families, hurt individuals and relationships. Chinese medicine recognizes anger as a physiological imbalance treatable with acupuncture and herbs. Knowing that anger is physiological in nature helps us stop judging others and not reacting to the source(s) of anger. It also allows us to be more compassionate toward ourselves and others.
In Chinese medicine, the common physiological causes of anger are:
- Chronic or acute stress resulting in energy stagnation especially of the liver.
- Excessive accumulation of heat.
- Constitutional deficiency of yin leading to aggravation of yang energy.
- Stagnation of energy (qi in Chinese) and blood around menstrual time.
- Hormonal and physiological decline in middle-aged women and men leading to yin deficiency, often accompanied by heat.
- Long-term illness or treatment procedures such as chemo/radiation therapy that deplete the yin, blood, body fluid, and qi leading to relatively heightened level of heat and volatile yang.
- Dietary and lifestyle habits such as the excessive consumption of spicy foods, excessive salt intake, chronic smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and lack of exercise --- all of which can lead to yin depletion, qi stagnation, accumulation of heat, and aggravation of liver yang.
The core focus of anger treatment is to subdue the volatile energies. Thus, the combined use of acupuncture and Chinese herbs is very effective for controlling anger due to their powerful ability to ground energy. Take herbs in tea form as much as possible as they have stronger grounding effect than pills.
If you or someone you know has an anger problem:
1. Recognize Anger as a Health Issue that is Treatable: If you or someone you know suffers from anger, first recognize that anger is a health condition and is treatable the natural way. This awareness allows you to be a more objective observer, especially of another person's condition. This also makes it easier to not take their anger personally.
2. Get acupuncture treatment: Find an acupuncturist to begin therapy immediately. A lot of people experience relief as early as the first week of treatment. With the support of acupuncture and herbs, a person does not react emotionally or physically with raging intensity when confronted with external provocations. My patients reported that they experienced a sense of detachment from a situation or person--the mind remains rational and observant while the emotion is non-responsive, as if one has on a Teflon surface. Other patients reported that they still felt some emotional trigger but the intensity was so significantly diminished that no harm or damage was done to self or others.
3. Meditate Daily: Commit to daily meditation. Meditation has a powerful effect on grounding one's energy. Practice meditation every day to keep your energy grounded so that it continues to stay grounded in a potentially heated situation. Meditation is also a very effective way to de-stress. This is important in controlling anger for you must be able to regularly discharge the pent-up energy from your system so that it is not allowed to ever build up to a boing point.
4. Exercise: Commit to a serious exercise program at least 3 days a week. Aerobic exercises help to circulate energy, discharge heat out of the body via sweating, and disperse pent-up energy. Yoga is another good exercise that helps to circulate as well as ground the energy.
5. Get Counseling: If you're already undergoing counseling, continue this while getting acupuncture treatment otherwise find a good therapist to work with you. This is especially important if anger is related to abuse, trauma, drugs or alcohol addiction. Counseling by itself is not sufficient to control anger in many cases. But, a combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy, and counseling offers the best outcome for anger management.
Are you struggling with anger management? Find an Acupuncturist to learn how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help you!
About the Author: April Bui L.Ac. is a graduate of the American College of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine in Houston, Texas and has been in practice since 2008.