Grief, Mourning, and Traditional Chinese Medicine
Based on the Buddhist reality of impermanence – we all will someday die; it is also quite true that we all will suffer from loss, grief, and mourning when others we care about die. The typical stages in this process are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. There are many psychological approaches used to support a healthy grief and mourning process. However, most approaches ignore one of the oldest healing systems known to world history – Traditional Chinese Medicine. In TCM grief and loss process involves energy flow and its quality. In TCM lung chi/qi, large intestine energy flow, the color white, and the sound of sssss are all associated with the grief and loss process. Furthermore, since breathing anchors our central nervous system, it is also involved in energetic flow in our bodies. Positive and negative energy flow has strong influence on our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
In the following TCM treatment for grief and mourning the exchange of life-sustaining oxygen and toxic carbon dioxide is important in the process. The lungs, the color white, and the sound of sssss are all involved in harmonizing the emotional energies of grief and mourning. It all begins with calm, deep, slow abdominal breathing. TCM for grief and mourning also includes dietary applications as well as acupuncture possibilities. Here we will deal only with using the breath and imagination.
See the steps noted below.
- Sit in a calm and comfortable spine-straight meditation posture.
- Complete several calm, slow, deep diaphragmatic breaths.
- Once you feel relaxed, complete ten more calm, slow, deep diaphragmatic breaths.
- Using your strong imagination, imagine that on each inhalation you are taking in healing white light. This healing white light enters all of your body organs and cells. Repeat for ten breaths.
- Using your imagination, on each exhalation imagine that the toxic pain and suffering leave your body as carbon dioxide. Repeat the in-breath and out-breath cycles ten times.
- Continue to breathe in this fashion, but now as you exhale make the sound of sssss. Do this ten times.
- As you continue to breathe, make images of the healing white light moving around in your body, and the suffering and pain leaving the body. Repeat this for ten complete, full breaths with the sound of sssss.
- Now slow down even more and simply notice the quality of your feelings.
For more information refer to Dr. Mark Wiley. Managing grief: Ancient practices that heal. www.easyhealthoptions.com . Retrieved April 27, 2016. See also Jahnke, R. (2002). The Healing Promise of Qi…Chicago, IL: Contemporary Books, pp. 39, 212-213. And Cohen, K. S. (1997). Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing. New York, NY: Ballantine Books, pp.219-241, 237-238.
By Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
Author of Mindful Happiness
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