Anger – Misunderstood and Underrated

When you argue, are plates thrown? Do fists fly? Do you make killer statements that end the conversation? Are you sorry later for what you said? In the west, anger is often considered to be a dark and difficult emotion. We associate anger with negativity, violence and relationships gone awry. Often, we believe that by using positive thoughts and affirmations we can transcend anger and not have to go there. Perhaps we are missing something important. Anger can be a purposeful.

Anger is the force of change. It is the spark that drives all creative processes, include birth, growth, personal development, transformation in relationships and political change. Without the spark of anger, everything remains the same.

If you think that expressing anger only leads to hurt, you might have a point. When we become stuck in anger, we either implode and turn it inward upon ourselves, or we explode with rage and fury. Both implosion and explosion can be damaging to ourselves and those around us, because we haven’t successfully communicated our point of view or needs. Darkness falls upon us and all in our paths.

Anger can be a positive and creative force; it gives us the push we need to overcome the difficulties and obstacles in life. Personal growth, artistic processes, human rights battles, scientific innovations, and even work itself is often fueled by anger. It drives the artist or musician to work endlessly towards a vision. Difficult challenges and personal development require a certain amount of discomfort. For most of us, change that accompanies growth is inherently difficult.

The Chinese say, emotions should change like weather. Each of the five emotions – anger, joy, sympathy, sadness and fear are important to our health. Each emotion has upsides and downsides. Ideally, each emotion is a note within a song. Getting stuck on one note or emotion is problematic. Too much or too little of any emotion is a sign of imbalance.

Anger can be overwhelming. The person who is yelling all the time is stuck – anger shuts out other experiences. Conversely, the person who is always whispering can’t assert themselves or fight for what is important. In either case, anger can lead to frustration and ultimately into despair.

What value or purpose could anger have? In Chinese medicine, anger is both the source of and the force of change. When spring arrives, shoots sprout up from the ground and rapidly become plants. In Chinese mythology, when spring arrived the fish exploded from the water into the air to become a bird.

It is easy to to forget that we are living organisms just as much affected by the the season, weather and time of the day as other animals and plants are. We breathe, evolve and fight for survival just as other other creatures and life forms do. Five Element Acupuncture utilizes our connection with nature in treatment. The inherent role that seasons play in our health is considered when diagnosing and treating mental and physical maladies.

If there is inadequate rainfall in the spring, the dry earth produces a poor crop in the summer and a meager harvest in the fall. Each season plays a vital role in the earth’s cycle.

Each of the five elements correspond to a season and an emotion. Wood is one of the five elements that relates to the spring and also to anger. An excess or deficit of wood energy adversely affects the health of an individual and shows a wood imbalance. The Five Element Acupuncturist looks for and treats the source of this imbalance.

The wood element also corresponds to the liver and gallbladder meridians. In Chinese medicine, each meridian is related to a specific organ, but also relates to both mental and emotional function.

Physically, the liver meridian relates to the liver, but it also relates to the tendons and eyes. Emotionally, the liver relates to anger, or it’s absence. Mentally, the liver relates to strategic planning. When a person is unable to make plans and go forward in their lives, there is often a wood imbalance. Substance abuse overloads the liver’s capacity. People who abuse alcohol or drugs are often unable to make or keep plans.

There are important natural cycles that affect all life on this earth. Our emotions, hormonal changes and energetic patterns are affected by the changes that occur within each day, season and lifetime.  Five Element Acupuncture utilizes our connection to these cycles by viewing symptoms within the context of our environment, history, relationships, work and to nature.

Ideally, each of us has a balance of all the elements: wood, fire, metal, water and earth. In Five Element acupuncture, we work to restore this balance and support the health of the body and also the mind and spirit.