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Mental Health and TCM

Community Acupuncture - How, What, Why Now? #1

Author: Rian Scott

Living in Canada with four very distinct seasons has a significant influence on our mental health. Winter months are a time of introspection, however, the cold, and lack of sunlight can be very challenging for people in our communities, often giving rise to feelings of loneliness, sadness, and depression. Summer can be equally challenging for others causing increased feelings of anxiety, irritability, and anger. As this season embodies outward expression, we appreciate its beauty because we know how fleeting its vibrancy is.


Our mental health influences our physical health. Some main factors that contribute to imbalances in our mental health are our lifestyle, unresolved trauma, societal factors including socio-economic conditions, and how we innately manage stress.


From a Taoist understanding there are three essential components to every human being. Our (Jing Qi) essence which determines our mental health, vitality and lifespan; our (Qi) energy, which is our vital force circulating through our body allowing for it to function; and our mind-heart (Shen) which can be understood as a manifestation of our Spirit. When we are assessing the state of one’s mental health, we primarily look at the state of one’s Jing-essence and how this influences their Shen.


Summer is the season of the Heart. The Shen resides in the Heart. During this season, imbalances in our mental state might present in a variety of forms such as anxiety, depression, heart palpitations, digestive disorders, insomnia and vivid dreams, indicating treatment for the Shen would be supportive. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine provide effective ways of working with the Shen to bring balance to our mental health. At Six Degrees, our focus on personalized care within a community acupuncture setting is to treat the Heart-Mind by moving energy and clearing blockages while calming ones Mind. This has a profound effect on our emotional state, further supporting us to process our emotions with a clear and focused mind.


My personal approach to mental health focuses on supporting others to develop greater insight and clarity into patterns that structure our core belief systems. When we are empowered through self-directed insight we can learn to manage our emotions, shift our patterns and release unresolved trauma.