TCM and Relationships

As an acupuncturist, I treat the mental, physical, and emotional. I have to admit, I find the emotional component to be the most fulfilling. Of course, it is always exciting to see someone's pain levels lower (or vanish completely), but I love witnessing patients make huge strides with their internal suffering. Since every organ system in TCM contributes to a certain set of personality traits, it stands to reason that our predisposition toward these particular traits affects our interpersonal relationships. I find it interesting that, when treating couples, there always seems to be a Yin and a Yang type within the pair. In this medicine, the Yin is the calm, the peaceful, the quiet and accepting. The Yang would be the fire, the spark, the person who is quicker to react and to create change. Together, the two balance each other out; it seems that opposites really do attract.

So, how can balancing things out with acupuncture lead to a stronger relationship between couples? Let's start with the Kidney. The Kidney's overriding emotion is fear. Someone with a Kidney imbalance might have difficulty creating long-term plans due to fear of the future, or trauma from the past. This is a person who might push off marriage for a long, long time...or sabotage a relationship in order to avoid facing their fears.

An imbalance of Spleen energy is linked to overthinking and overnurturing. This person could be a stage 4 clinger (bonus points if you know what movie this comes from!) The Spleen type has potential to obsess over every word spoken, to create issues where none exist. This person might also be the one to give...and give...and give...until there is nothing left. Spleen types are often motherly figures, and they enjoy taking care of others. The downside of this is their potential to be too protective or even obsessive.

The Lung is all about letting go, and people with a Lung imbalance might have a hard time moving on from the past. That person who simply cannot seem to move forward and look for someone new would be an example of Lung pathology.

The Heart relates to extreme joy, which sounds wonderful...but it also is connected to huge emotional ups and downs. This person has no middle ground: they are either deliriously happy, or completely miserable. Someone with this type of imbalance can be emotionally exhausting to be with. The highs are great, but the lows are REALLY low.

The Liver is connected to structure and control. This person has a deep need to know where they stand at all times. If they sense that control is lacking, they are prone to fits of anger.

Acupuncture can help patients to release old fears and old obsessions; it can mellow out the highs and lows so that they are not quite so jarring; it can smooth and soften. Time and again I see patients make great strides in not only pain and dysfunction, but change on the deepest, most basic level of humanity. It may sound ridiculous to suggest acupuncture for issues with finding and maintaining a healthy relationship, but believe me, I've seen it work time and time again!