heart beat chicago acupuncture stress and anxiety

Stress, Anxiety, and the Heart

When we say stress and anxiety, those things can be different for each of us. For instance, some people’s stress goes to their stomach, some people get headaches, some people can’t sleep, and more.


The emotions in Chinese Medicine hold special significance. They are not viewed as a separate process from your physical health but are in fact an integral part of your individual ecosystem.


Each organ system has a series of attributes in the physical body as well as the natural world because each reflects the other. This can be why certain things have a seasonal quality to them, like lung illnesses in the Autumn.


The Heart organ and channel is one of the main systems that gets hit by anxiety and stress. It can be considered a full, empty, or combination pattern. The heart’s emotion is Joy and there can be too much or too little, which we will see in the symptoms below.


Palpitations are one of the hallmarks of a Heart pattern, whether full or empty. These can be felt as a flutter or tapping in the chest, one or two strong feeling beats, or discomfort when lying down. Shortness of breath can often accompany palpitations as well as a feeling of pressure or sharp pain. These are also some of the hallmark signs of a panic attack, which can often be confused for a heart attack.


Some symptoms that are considered an empty pattern include insomnia, dreams that wake you up, poor memory, mental restlessness, fidgeting, tiredness, dizziness, and a tendency to be startled.

The full patterns have some overlap, but also have weeping and crying, depression, mental dullness, lethargy, mania, violent behavior, shouting, muttering to oneself, and a flushed face.


So, you can see the symptoms range from mild to extreme, from empty to full, from not enough joy to too much joy. How can you have too much joy? Easy, it’s called a manic episode. Almost like you can’t get off the ride even if you want to.


Stress and anxiety are part of the plagues of modern life, and it is NOT fun when it becomes panic attacks, insomnia, or mania. But the good news is that Chinese Medicine has been observing this in human beings for thousands of years, you are not alone, and we have the tools to help.

So, if the above symptoms sound familiar to you, schedule an appointment to get your joy back.

Jennifer L Fockler, LAc


Chicago Acupuncturist