Definition: Stress is the body’s reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional adjustment or response.

As you can see, the definition of “stress” is very generalised and can be interpreted many different ways.  So the first thing I ask patients when they come in is “what emotions do you feel when your stressed?”.  Stress doesn’t exist in Chinese Medicine, as its a blanket term, and too generalised.   Most say they feel frustration, anger or worry. This is much more specific and obviously aids in diagnosis.  Over the millennia, Chinese Medicine has associated emotions with organs, just as they have with tissues, fluids, grains etc.  Further information can be gained on my website page.  So certain organs are affected by certain emotions, and disharmonies in certain organs bring about emotional responses. Often there’s the “chicken or the egg” discussion on which came first.  In Chinese Medicine there are 5 primary emotions, which affect the body differently, as described in the table on my website.  Its also seen in many European cultures, describing an angry individual as “Livery”, which is also shared in Chinese Medicine, as the Liver’s Qi is disrupted by anger and frustration.  So depending on what the patient actually feels when they say they are “stressed” will help guide diagnosis, and help the patient get a better understanding of what they are going through.  So next time you say your “stressed”, try and go a bit deeper and ask yourself, “what are the key emotions I’m actually feeling?”