In Chinese medicine, physical and emotional symptoms are never separated. Each organ harbors a part of your consciousness (for example the will power lives in the kidneys) and each organ tends to get hurt by a particular emotion (for example grief impacts the lungs).
We consider that there are seven essential emotions (七情) that cam affect the health of the five major internal organs (五脏), namely joy, anger, worry, longing, sadness, fear, and shock.
In this article, we will try and analyze eye conditions with their possible emotional significance. Maybe this will ring a bell for your personal journey !
The eye-brain connection
The most important organ of sight is the brain.
Our eyes and brain are even made from the same type of tissue. Our sensitive eyes react even to the least possible chemical changes in the brain, including those that arise because of certain emotional or mental condition.
What is seeing?
Perception: the light-sensitive cells receive information about the outer world through the rays of light – about one billion bits of visual data per second.
Selection: the mind cannot deal with all the visual information coming to the eye, and therefore directs his eyes only to a certain number of data.
Understanding: where selected visual information is registered and interpreted in the brain.
Your brain changes your vision : the upside-down experiment
Physics tells us that images we see through our lens and retina are turned upside down. The brain is the one that processes the visual information and turns it around. Here is a fun experiment that proves how big the power of the brain over vision is.
A group of pilots was given special glasses that made everyone around them saw upside down. After a few days, their brains corrected the vision, and were able again to see normally, even through those glasses.
Two weeks later, they stopped wearing the glasses, and then without those specs, they saw everything around them upside down. Some of the pilots have actually lived through a nervous breakdown. However, over time, everyone came back to normal vision without using glasses.
Vision as a metaphor
"In my clinical experience at least 80 percent of all degenerative eye patients have some major unresolved issues" (Dr. Andy Rosenfarb, L.Ac)
Your eye condition might be trying to tell you something. Ask yourself the following questions to see if there is a hidden insight at a more subtle level.
Red eyes: Do you have anger issues? Are you "seeing red" ?
Tunnel vision (retinitis pigmentosa): Are you forgetting to look at the bigger picture? Are you too attached to details?
Loss of central vision (macular degeneration): Are you loosing motivation or lacking purpose? Are you distracted, overwhelmed and stretched out too thin?
Floaters: Is your life cluttered with incomplete things floating around?
Increased eye pressure (Glaucoma) : Is pressure building up inside? Are there unexpressed dilemmas?
Near sightedness: Are you trying too hard or being too critical?
Far sightedness: Do you need more space and independence? Are you focusing too much on the future instead of the present moment?
Cataracts: Are you feeling stuck? Uncertain? Do you lack flexibility?
The 7 emotions and your sight
Anger: blinded by rage
"The two most common emotions that I have observed to be associated with vision loss are fear and anger" says Dr. Rosenfarb, L.ac and specialist in acupuncture for ophthalmology.
Anger affects the Liver, causing the Qi to rise. The knotted energy flames up to the eyes (the Liver and the eyes are connected in Chinese medicine), which are then burdened with excess pent-up fire. This damages the blood vessels and other structures, causing severe tissue damage and reduced function.
Fear causes the Qi to sink and affects the kidneys.
When the energy of the body sinks, Qi, Blood, and fluids are literally drained away from the top of the body. The opposite action of anger, fear results in too little nourishment reaching the eyes. When the Yin energy of the Liver and Kidney become substantially depleted, conditions like macular degeneration develop.
Worry & overthinking: take the focus off of yourself
Worry causes the Qi to knot and jam up. The eyes are vascularized, so circulation is a fundamental key to healthy vision. Worry less, and take more action.
Worry affects the Spleen and stomach, which in ophthalmology reflect in the eyelids. You might end up with styes (read more here)
Over-Stimulation (over-joy): unplug
The emotion known as "joy" in Chinese medicine does not describe happiness. That would mean that being happy is bad for eyes! Rather, excess of joy can be interpreted as over-stimulation, and over excitement. This can disrupt the circulation of blood, the Heart Qi, and finally the Heart Yang. When the Heart grows weak, it slowly deprives the eyes of vital nourishment.
Joy affects the heart
Fright & Shock
Fright scatters Qi and disrupts the normal flow pattern of Qi and Blood.
This disruption will impair the circulation and nourishment to the eyes. The effects of such emotion are usually sudden.
Many people with PTSD for example end up with vision disorders that have no observable cause and no matter what prescription they are given, still cannot see clearly.
Grief & Sorrow
Grief and depression consume Qi and affect the lungs.
Energy consumption impairs a persons ability to heal. Grief and depression can also cause a congestion of the Qi of the lungs, which can cause cataracts.
A recent study found that there was a significant link between self-reported visual function loss (not loss of visual acuity), and depression.
Acupuncture for emotional balance: the evidence
We are not a therapy or counseling office, however your whole person matters to us.
We want you to feel seen and heard when you come to us for help.
Acupuncture has long been recognized for emotional balance :
A review on post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) included 4 Randomized Controled Trials and found that acupuncture was superior to waitlist control and cognitive behavioral therapy alone.(link)
A 2010 Cochrane review reported that acupuncture may have an additive benefit when combined with medication compared with medication alone
A review on acupuncture for anxiety and anxiety disorders included 10 RCTs.147 The review reported that all studies indicated positive findings;
These are just a few of the studied mental health conditions that acupuncture benefits, however because it addresses a whole person, it can reach far beyond these.
No matter where you are in your mental health journey,
if you need support, we can help.
In addition to our own team of specialized acupuncturists, we are well-connected within the Los Angeles- Pasadena area community to help you
find the right integrative and holistic care for you.
If you have more questions please call our front desk, at 626-841-2991, or email us.