Part Two: Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine for Grief
Using movement and acupuncture for grief
Here are my best tactics for combating grief using Chinese Medicine lifestyle changes, acupuncture, movement, and nutrition. For part two of our series, we’ll start with the movements that stimulate acupuncture points to help relieve emotional pain.
(If you missed Part One of this article series you can read it here: Part One: Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine for Grief)
It’s vital to remember that grief is a process and it takes time to heal. You cannot rush it but you can help to alleviate its pain. One of the most thoughtful things we can do as grievers is to concentrate on the present moment; be present in your life and grounded in your body.
Movement has been used to cope with loss and grief since the dawn of humanity.
For me, personally integrating my mind, body, and spirit through movement is genuine and life-altering, and I’ve used it to cope through times of sadness, depression, and the painful emotion of grief. Dance, yoga, qi gong, forest bathing, or other types of exercise can be an empowering intervention that allows you to connect and express feelings.
Dance Movement Therapy
The quote, “words fail to express what the body cannot,” is said to have been made by Martha Graham, the founder of modern dance in America.
Dance movement therapy is the use of movement to help people heal and reconnect. The therapeutic power of dance and movement as a creative and emotive means of communicating deep-seated emotions is significant.
The efficacy of dance movement therapy, which was based on a small number of studies, has shown treatment effects that are comparable to other psychotherapies.
Dance has allowed me to understand and explore my own grieving process non-verbally. I had a lot of unresolved grief with my divorce and I learned firsthand in an ecstatic dance class called Trance Dance that this type of movement can affect the lung meridian, in charge of grief. By stimulating this metal element while dancing, I was able to breathe deeply and let the free flow of music overtake me, allowing me to fully release.
According to a blog on Psychology Today, laughter has healing power with death and grief.
It may appear strange, but it’s true. Laughter and humor are two excellent methods to deal with death and sadness. Most people believe that hospitals are places of sadness, yet they may also be a place of humor, which might help patients feel lighter in hopeless and difficult situations. We all know that laughter therapy reduces stress and makes you feel better.
Humor is also essential at this time. When we are devastated by the loss of a loved one, it is the only instrument that allows us to laugh again. In fact, there are several bereavement groups that encourage members to share hilarious memories about their lost loved ones. Or maybe join a laughter yoga club or grief yoga class. This makes it easier to accept death as a natural step in life’s cycle.
I was first introduced to qi gong in acupuncture school. It was amazing for my neck and shoulder pain and many use it for pain management. It was exciting to me that qigong stimulated the five elements.
Qi Gong is a healing ancient Chinese technique that predates acupuncture that is used for overall health and longevity and has a profound effect on stress hormones. Qi refers to energy, and Gong means practice.
The three primary focuses of Qi Gong are as follows:
- Movement, and,
All of the exercises involve gathering ambient energy or Qi all around us and channeling it into our bodies. Simultaneously, we release bad unproductive Qi, such as pain and sadness, to make room for the incoming supply.
- Breath: natural breathing with presence and focus allows you to match the breath with movement.
- Movement: movement that focuses on flowing movements of your arms and hands, legs and feet, torso, neck and head. If standing is impossible, perform the exercises sitting down straight or away from the back of the chair.
- Imagery: Qigong masters are so skilled that they may alter the course of events by their thoughts alone, demonstrating just how powerful our thoughts can be. When we’re grieving, it’s especially useful as we frequently find ourselves overwhelmed by our negative perceptions and emotions.
During the pandemic, being in nature soothed my soul. I sat on beaches, hiked mountains, and quietly walked labyrinths.
Many people advise getting out in nature as a method of coping with grief. Studies have revealed that spending time in nature helps to improve one’s mood and reduce tension, which are common symptoms of grieving.
The term “forest therapy” refers to a relational approach that encourages a deeper connection with natural places. And, of course, one of those natural places is our natural or authentic self; it’s a practice that might reunite us with the seed of who we really are, as well as what we were born to be, and how we’re supposed to serve the world.
Forest bathing is not a workout, it’s a work-in. Getting slow and present provides a variety of health advantages, including increased immune function, improved cardiovascular and respiratory health, attention restoration, and a reduction in stress and depression.
Other forms of exercise
Physical activity does not necessarily cure sadness, but it can help people cope with grief by alleviating stress and adapting to loss. When we exercise, endorphins are released that relieve pain and raise our spirits. In our recreation, we essentially, “re-create” ourselves and become someone new.
Summary of Part Two:
It’s critical to remember that grief is a dynamic, ongoing experience. It’s a process. One of the most considerate things we can do as grievers is to focus on the present moment. Concentrate on your life right now and be rooted in your body.
By using Chinese medicine techniques like acupuncture, movement and nutrition, we can bring relief and help alleviate some of the pain.
For the shock and numbness that many people experience following a traumatic incident, such as the death of a loved one, acupuncture can be an effective therapy. Some don’t realize that acupuncture can also aid in the common symptoms of grief such as insomnia or sleep disturbances, low appetite, reducing stress, and even helping to protect the body by boosting the immune system.
Acupuncture and acupressure are excellent tools for coping with grief, but they should be combined with a nutritious diet, ample rest, and an active lifestyle. That’s why, in the next blog posts of this series, I’ll go through your best bets for go-to acupuncture points, food therapies, and exercise: Part 3: Nutrition for Grief.