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Qi and Blood stagnation in TCM

Qi and Blood Stagnation in Traditional Chinese Medicine

acupuncture anxiety headaches stress tcm women's health

Qi Stagnation in Traditional Chinese Medicine is related to emotional stress and the impact that stress has on your Liver organ.  The Liver regulates the "free flow" of Qi and Blood, by definition, in TCM.  

 Stress alone can cause Qi stagnation. 

If you’re stuck on one particular emotion, let's say anger or fear, the emotions stop flowing in the natural sense.  Instead of moving like tree branches in the wind, you're trying to force something to be that just *isn't.*

Medications also can cause stagnation due to their affect on your Liver. 

Poor nutrition is another potential cause of stagnation because to have proper blood and Qi flow, you need well-nourished organs and blood cells.  

Symptoms of Qi Stagnation include depression, anxiety, mood swings, irregular periods, painful periods, PMS, insomnia, headaches, pains that move around in your body, and fatigue.    

To undo Qi stagnation, make sure you’re eating enough nourishing foods.

Vegans and vegetarians may need a more blood-building foods (like leafy greens, eggs, or bone broth).  Herbs such as Dong Gui, Schisandra, Rehmannia, and Peony help nourish blood cells. A natural blood-building vitamin that’s herb and food-based is Ferrofood by Standard Process.  Also, there’s Floradix, which is a vegetarian/vegan option. 

Tension-relieving herbs like Bupleurum or Chamomile are easy to use as well. Trace minerals like those found in Alfalfa or Seaweed are helpful for relaxation.  Black current seed oil may help with PMS tension.  

Exercise regularly, even if it’s just more walking or stretching.

Make sleep a priority.

Counseling may be a good idea.  And acupuncture has been used for centuries for its stress-relieving and Qi-invigorating properties.  

In TCM, if your blood is stagnant, this is a little worse than if your Qi is stagnant.

It could be from long-term repressed emotions, injuries, or repetitive movements (or lack thereof).

No doubt, you have pain, either physical or emotional.  The saying goes, "If you have pain, you have blood stagnation, and if you have blood stagnation, you have pain."  


Step one: improve circulation.

Cold –> contraction –> pain. No matter what your physician tells you about icing your pain area: don’t do it. Use heat. The cold may help temporarily, but in the long-run will make it worse and make it harder to heal. The heat will improve circulation which can help you heal permanently.

Moxa can also help, as long as you don’t have toxic heat in your joints. An acupuncturist can help you with this.

Herbs that are helpful include: dong gui, bupleurum, cinnamon, turmeric, and boswellia (frankincense). As always, talk with a licensed herbalist before using.

Exercise is helpful as well, even if it’s just gentle stretching or working on your posture. Foam-rolling is good to learn too. Acupuncture is very helpful for improving pain conditions and blood flow.

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