This week is midterm week, so many students are feeling a bit
stressed. Fortunately, we have come to appreciate the calming
effects of AOM treatments and therapies. During this time of the
trimester, we often use points for aiding in the ability to study,
stay focused, and remain relaxed.
Some of these points include si shen cong, which are four points
at the top of the head, DU20 at the vertex of the head, and yin
tang, a point on the face in the center between the eyebrows. Si
shen cong and DU20 are displayed in the picture. A combination of
points often referred to as "four gates" is also very powerful at
reducing stress that tends to occur during midterm week.
Auricular points are also very popular for reducing stress. My
favorite auricular point for reducing stress, feeling centered, and
staying focused is shen men, which is pictured.
Since we study this medicine, we know what points to use and
when to use them. We know when they might be contraindicated due to
other diagnoses present. The nice thing is since there appears to
be an infinite ability to choose and combine points, there is
always a way to use acupuncture to reduce stress.
In addition to using acupuncture to stay relaxed and focused,
herbal formulas are very helpful in promoting stress reduction. Two
of my favorite formulas that help reduce stress depending on
Chinese medicine diagnosis are xiao yao pian (pictured) and Chai hu
jia long gu mu li tang.
In AOM, a big result of stress is a pattern called liver qi
stagnation. In short, that means a blockage of qi flow primarily in
the meridian (liver) that deals with frustration, depression, or
feeling overwhelmed. This can lead to many other problems in other
channels. The spleen channel deals with anxiety, so many times it's
useful to treat the liver and spleen channels together depending on
how the patient presents in the clinic.
Xiao yao pian harmonizes the liver and spleen meridians, among
other actions, which greatly aids in reducing stress and promoting
concentration. Chai hu jia long gu mu li tang works to sedate and
calm the spirit. It also creates a very calming effect.
In addition to acupuncture and herbs, many of us use Tai Chi, Qi
Gong and yoga to keep ourselves centered and balanced. These
modalities combine breath, movement, and visualization to promote
healthy qi flow. This aids by bringing our mind, body and spirit
into a place of balance and well-being.