November's National Stress Awareness Day is a designed to raise awareness about the prevalence and impact of stress on individuals' physical and mental well-being. It serves as a reminder to address stress and adopt healthier coping strategies. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a holistic approach to managing stress and promoting overall well-being.
In a world full of daily stresses, from deadlines and workloads, to homelife and money worries, TCM may be able to help relieve some of your woes. TCM is an ancient system of medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years in China and is gaining popularity worldwide. It is based on the concept of balance and harmony within the body, and it uses various techniques to restore this balance, such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary therapy, and mind-body practices.
How TCM can help with stress management
In the world of TCM, there's a treasure trove of holistic approaches that can work wonders for managing stress and promoting overall well-being.
- Herbal Medicine
- Dietary Therapy
- Mind-Body Practices
- Holistic Approach
Acupuncture, a widely recognised TCM practice that involves the precise insertion of slender needles into specific points on the body to kickstart the flow of Qi, our body's life force. Acupuncture is celebrated for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety by soothing the nervous system and triggering the release of endorphins, nature's very own mood-enhancers that facilitate relaxation and stress relief.
Herbal medicine is another TCM powerhouse when it comes to addressing stress-related imbalances. Tailored to each individual's unique constitution and symptoms, herbal remedies are prescribed. Certain herbs like ginseng and ashwagandha, known as adaptogens, are especially effective in reducing stress and boosting resilience to its pressures. TCM places a significant emphasis on the crucial link between what we eat and our health. Dietary therapy is a cornerstone for balancing the body's energy and reducing stress. TCM practitioners often provide personalised dietary recommendations, with foods like medicinal herbs, mushrooms, leafy greens, whole grains, and soothing herbal teas being lauded for their calming and nourishing properties.
Stress-busting techniques within TCM are mind-body practices like Tai Chi and Qi Gong are ancient practices still practiced today which are designed to cultivate relaxation, balance, and overall well-being. Through gentle movements, breath control, and meditation techniques, they help alleviate stress and encourage the free flow of energy throughout the body.
TCM's holistic approach digs deep to tackle the root causes of stress and imbalance in the body, rather than merely addressing surface-level symptoms. The focus here is on achieving long-term relief and sustainable well-being. In our blog, we'll delve into each of these facets in more detail to help you harness the power of TCM for a calmer, healthier you.
4 Herbal supplements that may aid with mental health
Below are 4 different formulas which may potentially aid with stress alongside other mental health issues. Whilst TCM remedies have been used for centuries, individual responses can vary, so it's important to consult with a TCM practitioner for a personalised treatment plan, and these should complement, not replace, conventional treatments for mental health issues.
Xiao Yao San, or "Free and Easy Wanderer," is a classic Chinese herbal formula used in TCM to potentially address depression and anxiety. This formula combines Angelica sinensis (Dang Gui) and Thorowax root (Chai Hu) among other herbs to achieve its effects. Regulating the liver Qi, helping to alleviate irritability and mood swings associated with stagnant liver energy. It nourishes the blood, counteracting symptoms like fatigue and weakness often linked to depression and anxiety. Additionally, it balances Yin and Yang energies, promoting emotional stability, and contains calming and adaptogenic herbs that help the body adapt to stress, reduce restlessness and anxiety.
Long Dan Xie Gan Tang, a classic Chinese herbal formula, consisting of herbs like Cape Jasmine Fruit and Skullcap Root may aid in stress management due to its targeted effects on the liver and gallbladder. In TCM, the liver is associated with the smooth flow of Qi (vital energy) in the body, and when liver Qi becomes stagnant, it can lead to emotional symptoms like irritability and frustration, which are often linked to stress. This formula is specifically designed to clear excess heat and dampness from the liver and gallbladder, potentially helping to restore the normal flow of Qi and alleviate these emotional imbalances. By addressing the underlying TCM pattern associated with stress, this formula may provide relief and support emotional well-being.
Jie Yu An Shen Pian, a Traditional Chinese Medicine formula containing herbs such as Eucommia Bark (Du Zhong) and Liquorice Root (Gan Cao), holds the potential to positively impact mental health, alleviate stress, and improve sleep issues by promoting internal harmony. This formula primarily focuses on the concept of "calming the liver and nourishing the heart" in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It seeks to soothe the liver, responsible for emotional regulation, and nourish the heart, fostering mental tranquility and balance. By addressing the interplay between these vital organs, Jie Yu An Shen Pian may help reduce stress, enhance emotional well-being, and restore healthy sleep patterns, offering a holistic approach to promoting mental harmony and overall wellness.
Si Ni San, a classic Chinese herbal formula containing Liquorice Root (Gan Cao) and Immature Bitter Orange (Zhi Shi), may aid mental health, potentially reduce stress, and improve sleep issues while promoting internal harmony and mental well-being. Si Ni San primarily focuses on regulating the digestive system and the flow of Qi (vital energy). In TCM, the spleen and stomach are considered essential for emotional well-being and overall health. When these organs are functioning optimally, it can alleviate emotional disturbances related to stress and help with restful sleep. By addressing digestive issues and harmonising the flow of Qi, Si Ni San seeks to balance the body, reduce stress, and support better sleep quality.
It's important to note that TCM is a complementary therapy, and individuals experiencing severe stress or mental health issues should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional. Additionally, what works for one person may not work for another, so it's essential to consult with a licensed TCM practitioner to receive personalised treatment recommendations.
National Stress Awareness Day serves as a reminder to prioritise self-care and seek effective ways to manage stress. Traditional Chinese Medicine can be a valuable resource in this endeavor, offering a holistic approach to stress management that addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of well-being.