A unique aspect of traditional Chinese medicine is the idea that each organ has not only a physical manifestation, but also a mental-emotional aspect. Emotions influence the organs and also the organs can give rise to emotions – a circle of interaction. This is one example of the of mind and body connection.
As would be expected, there are many connections in traditional Chinese medicine between emotions and gynecology. Emotions and stress have a huge influence on menstruation, pregnancy, labor, and menopause.
Stress directly influences menstruation by affecting the correct movement of Qi and Blood. A popular classic in the vast literary history of Chinese medicine from around 1742, the Golden Mirror of Medicine, discusses in medical detail how the emotions disrupt the healthy balances of the body especially in regards to gynecology.
Emotions only become causes of disease when they are particularly intense, held onto for long periods of time, unacknowledged, or unexpressed.
There are some straightforward associations between organs and the “seven” so-called-negative emotions: anger, joy, worry, pensiveness, sadness, fear, and shock. These seven are really broad ideas that encompass what you might consider multiple emotions.
We say anger is associated with Liver, but its not that all angry people have liver problems, or that a liver problem will directly cause anger. It gets complicated. Regardless, there ARE some generalities that we can use.
As far as generalizations go, we can say that emotionally, the Lungs are associated with grief, sadness, and attachments. Sadness and grief specifically deplete Heart and Lungs.
In women, sadness may sometimes affect the Liver directly leading to amenorrhea, late or scanty periods, depression, and feeling aimless.
Grief that is expressed and resolved is strengthening to the mind-body, but repressed grief causes the lungs to contract. Over time, chronically held attitudes/emotions solidify themselves as unconscious habits and also as physical muscle structure. Ultimately with prolonged grief, this leads to congestion of some kind. Many people with Lung or bowel problems have some deep sadness or grief.
It is said in traditional Chinese medicine, weak lungs can make it hard to let to of attachments. People with strong lungs hold onto principles, keep their commitments, but also are able to let go of relationships or objects when the time comes, while feeling the sadness or grief that is associated come and go.
Its nice to know that the organs can be helped by emotions, and that was can learn to influence our emotions for the sake of healing. Here is a link to an article I wrote about a qi-gong exercise specifically for the Lungs.