Anxiety is not just limited to the thoughts in a person's head. It's very much a physical issue as well. Just ask anyone who has problems with teeth grinding or muscle tightness as a result of anxiety. As it turns out, there are many physical signs of anxiety, according to Chinese Medicine, proving these physical ailments have been linked to stress for a long time.
Originating in ancient China, Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) refers to the use of herbal medications and mind-body practices to treat health conditions, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. It's a wide-ranging discipline that includes practices such as acupuncture and tai chi.
"In TCM anxiety is the inner response to outside reality," as Elaine Katen, program director of the Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation, tells Romper. Experiencing anxiety means you are out of balance in some way. "All this is based on a deep understanding of balance which the Five Element Chart shows us. From that, we see how energy flow is impacted by emotions." These emotions affect the Liver, Stomach, and Kidney, and strengthening them can help people process anxiety more easily, as Katen further explains.
To learn more about the specific physical symptoms of anxiety as understood in TCM, Romper spoke with Shannon Lawrence, MATCM, L.Ac, who is on the faculty at Yo San University. "Bringing harmony and balance to the Mind (Shen / Spirit) are the main components in TCM, as well as treating the root cause of all illness, whether physical or emotional," says Lawrence. Anxiety is a disruption of this harmony.