The story appears on

Page B2

February 15, 2011

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature » Health and Environment

When stress strikes, it's time to listen to the body

MOVING into a new environment, working between cultures, integrating the family into a new life, finding new friends, handling economic turmoil - all these things can cause feelings of stress.

But it is not only the big things that can make our palms sweat or cause difficulties eating and sleeping. Once the small things start bothering you, your body tells you to slow down.

Western medicine describes stress as an emotional reaction to events, a reaction that involves a series of chemical reactions, such as excessive release of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, and tension in the nervous system.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the symptoms of stress are explained as qi (energy flow) stagnation. The flow of qi in the body ensures the normal functioning and nutrition of all organs. This qi energy consists of the prenatal qi, which is produced and stored in the kidneys, and the postnatal qi, which is produced and stored in the spleen (meaning the digestive system.)

Qi stagnation (stress) can manifest itself in different areas of the body. In the beginning, patients suffer from an imbalance in the spleen system. The spleen cannot transform food into sufficient energy so that either cravings for instant energy (like sweets) arise or the hunger feeling disappears. Other symptoms of this stage are stomach ache, belching and acid reflux.

If the deficiency of energy in the spleen system develops further, it affects the heart (spleen-heart deficiency). Additional symptoms are anxiety, panic, insomnia, and over-emotions.

Some patients might suffer from a lung deficiency caused by the reduced transfer of fresh qi energy into the lungs. Symptoms are shallow breathing, chest pressure, headache and fatigue.

In general, stress is not an illness that you need to be afraid of in the short run. However, prolonged and chronic stress can lead to migraine, hair loss, impotence, depression, asthma and high blood pressure.

Of course, everyone knows a healthy lifestyle can help reduce stress. The question is, how to start? How to cope with the daily challenges in a hectic, breathless city? The first step is to take a deep breath and to realize that the body started talking to us a long time ago. And now it's asking for help.

An herbal remedy can calm the soul and increase energy; it reestablishes equilibrium. Acupuncture removes stagnation and relaxes the senses.

Reanimate your self-healing strength by using any opportunity to move. Use the stairs, walk the last 500 meters to your office with vigorous steps. Think twice before you get angry. Stress management starts with little steps and should be undertaken consistently.

(Doris Rathgeber is the founder of Body & Soul Medical Clinics.)

For more, check


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend