How Chinese Medicine Can Help a Broken Heart
Updated: Jan 14
We all know what heartache feels like. The feeling like the world stops and you are sitting there all alone. Once we get older and wiser and have gone through it time and time again shouldn't it get easier? Sadly, this is not the case. Each heartbreak comes with its own new set of pains. The pain of heartbreak is very specific. Helen Fisher's, Ph.D., Ted's Talk: The Brain In Love explains it chemically and explains that when the brain doesn't get what it wants "life's greatest prize" it craves it more. I think we can all relate to this at one time or another.
As a Chinese medicine practitioner, I believe acupuncture and herbs, an ancient healing modality, can be truly helpful through modern romantic heartbreak.
Getting through an emotional time using TCM.
They say "time heals all wounds' and yes it does, but in the moment that is not what we want to hear. The time that needs to pass is full of so many ups, and downs on an emotional roller coaster. The time that must pass seems to drag on. Fisher describes that obsession can become even greater after you’ve been dumped, since the brain becomes more active when you need to work out why you can’t get what you want. So although it doesn't sound very romantic, a lot of your feelings are chemical.
While Western medicine tends to repress symptoms like pain, acupuncture and herbal medicine use them to accelerate the healing process. When we are dealing with heartbreak, our mind loops over and over again on the same obsessive thought in what's known as a maladaptive feedback loop. With acupuncture, the person has an opportunity to start to mend a destructive thought process.
Clinical studies show that the needles can help release feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin—the same ones released when we fall in love. When we are in love, when our system is over flowing with these "feel-good" hormones, we then associate those strong emotions with the other person, which can teach our bodies that we need that person to feel good. Once these same hormones are released with acupuncture, we are subconsciously reminded that it is possible to feel good again without our loved one. Using this technique we can train the mind to move on slowly but surely.
When choosing acupuncture points we use one's that will help release stuck energy in the heart and tonifying Kidney points which empowers willpower. Herbs with similar functions are also helpful.
How to combine acupuncture and herbs with other effective healing methods.
Other things that are helpful after any loss include therapy, being around supportive friends, self-care, a balanced diet, and books, (I am currently reading The Spirit of Intimacy by Sobonofu Some). Be on the positive side of any heartbreak, it happened for a reason to help you grow into the person you are today and continue to grow into. For me, the broken hearts in my history have opened me up to look at the many pieces and surfaces of my heart. To truly look at myself and grow and become the best being of myself for me and that is who is really important.
If you too are dealing with heartbreak, here are some thoughts to keep in mind:
1. Yes, this hurts, but not forever. You are allowed to be sad for a few days and then pick yourself up and do something you enjoy, for you!
2. Everyone is different and heals in their own way and in their own time, don't compare yourself to anyone else. Your experiences make you who you are.
3. Be positive and hopeful for someone new to come along, however, do not cling onto someone new right away to help yourself get over this pain.
4. Know that you may have many relationships that will teach you a lot before you meet your life partner. All relationships serve a purpose for your growth and healing. Honour the lessons that you will learn from your relationships and even your pain.
5. Use your energy to develop new habits. Make positive changes in your life, and let go of the habits that don’t serve you. This is a great distraction!
6. Anything that reminds you of them, tuck it away in a closet so you won't have a daily reminder. Social media can also not be great.
7. Plan a trip!
8. Get to know yourself better.
9. Through this evolution of self, you will recognize that you deserve the best, and you will vibrate and attract that. Maya Angelou said, "Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option."
10. Make a ritual with yourself to honour yourself and make the relationship with yourself sacred. Sobonofu has enlightened me since I am not in a romantic relationship to do so with myself. Because you will always no matter what have the relationship with yourself first.