Today I’m going to write about the emotions in Chinese medicine and how they are responsible for disharmony which leads to disease and illness.

In acupuncture, emotions and physical health are connected. Sadness, nervous tension and anger, worry, fear, and overwork are each associated with a particular organ in the body. For example, frustration and inappropriate anger can affect the liver and result in menstrual pain, migraine, high blood pressure, redness of the face and eyes, dizziness and dry mouth.

Once an organ that is in disharmony is identified, the unique symptoms of the patient determine the acupuncturist’s treatment approach.

Using the liver again as an example: breast distension, menstrual pain, and irritability during menses are treated with certain acupuncture points, and migraines headaches, dizziness, and inappropriate anger with redness of the face point to a different type of liver pattern and is treated in a different way.

What does the liver have to do with migraines?

Organ systems in the traditional Asian sense may include the Western medical function, but are also part of a holistic body system. The liver, for example, ensures that energy and blood flow smoothly throughout the body. It also regulates bile secretion, stores blood, and is connected with the tendons, nails, and eyes.


By understanding these connections, we can see how an eye disorder such as conjunctivitis might be due to an imbalance in the liver, or excess menstrual flow may be due to dysfunction in the liver’s blood-storing ability. Besides emotions, other factors such as dietary, environmental, lifestyle, and hereditary factors also contribute to the development of imbalances.

Here I’ve outlined some of the organs – Liver, Spleen, Kidney, Lung and Heart and their associated emotions, functions and disharmonies/imbalances:



Anger, resentment, frustration, irritability, bitterness.


Involved in the smooth flow of energy and blood throughout the body.

Regulates bile secretion, stores blood, and is connected with the tendons, nails, and eyes.

Symptoms of Disharmony:

Breast distension, menstrual pain, headache, migraine, High BP, irritability, inappropriate anger, dizziness, dry, red eyes and other eye conditions.



Worry, dwelling or focusing too much on a particular topic, excessive mental work


Food digestion and nutrient absorption. Helps in the formation of blood and energy. Keeps blood in the blood vessels. Connected with muscles, mouth, and lips. Involved in thinking, studying, and memory.

Symptoms of Disharmony:

Tired, loss of appetite, mucus discharge, poor digestion, abdominal distension, loose stools or diarrhea. Weak muscles, pale lips. Bruising, excess menstrual blood flow, and other bleeding disorders.



Fear, weak willpower, insecure, isolated, no ‘get-up and go’.


Key organ for sustaining life. Responsible for reproduction, growth and development, and maturation. Involved with lungs in water metabolism and respiration.

Connected with bones, teeth, ears, and head hair.

Symptoms of Disharmony:

Frequent urination, urinary incontinence, night sweats, dry mouth, bad short-term memory, low back pain, tinnitus/ringing in the ears, hearing loss, and other ear conditions.

Premature grey hair, hair loss, and osteoporosis.



Grief, sadness, detachment


Respiration. Forms energy from air, and helps to distribute it throughout the body. Works with the kidney to regulate water metabolism. Important in the immune system and resistance to viruses and bacteria. Regulates sweat glands and body hair, and provides moisture to the skin.

Symptoms of Disharmony:

Shortness of breath and shallow breathing, sweating, fatigue, cough, frequent cold and flu, allergies, asthma, and other lung conditions. Dry skin. Depression and crying.



Lack of enthusiasm and vitality, mental restlessness, depression, insomnia, despair.


Regulates the heart and blood vessels. Responsible for even and regular pulse.

Influences vitality and spirit.

Connected with the tongue, complexion, and arteries.

Symptoms of Disharmony:

Insomnia, heart palpitations and irregular heart beat, excessive dreaming, poor long-term memory, psychological disorders, inappropriate laughter.

Western medicine for many years didn’t acknowledge that mind and body are interlinked – what affects the mind will affect the body and visa versa. They are now realizing that there is a link. Chinese medicine realised this many centuries ago and treated people accordingly.

Until next time, take care,


For more information on acupuncture in Dublin Ireland see