A Chinese Medicine Approach to PTSD

A Chinese Medicine Approach to PTSD

Doc Blackstone's Graphic Representation of PTSD

The Traditional Chinese Medicine point of view on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)  is different than the opinions of the modern medical community. Terminology cannot be adequately equated and basic foundational theories are radically different. As such, logical comparisons cannot be made between diagnoses and therapies. The two foundations are so different, in fact, doctors will never find the root of the disorder because they are casting their reels in the wrong fishing hole.

Western science is looking for the answers to the mystery of PTSD in the brain. The contention of ancient and modern Chinese Medicine scholars is that the answer to bringing inner peace lies in the Heart.

In Chinese Medicine there is no distinct separation between Mind and Heart. “Xin” is the word that refers to both.

How can anyone adequately describe an experience of a personal nature unless the

persons you’re speaking to have an adequate frame of reference with which to

relate such an experience?


PTSD is the result of a traumatic experience as uniquely perceived by a given individual.  Many people have had unexpected experiences that did not result in PTSD.

Can any drugs or therapies “cure” someone of an experience?

Once something happens to us it normally becomes part of our past. The past only exists in our memory. Our memories reside in our minds- inferring “our brains”. But, there’s an interesting phenomenon well known to Chinese Medicine scholars.  the Heart records all the things that happen to us.

Anyone can be susceptible to long term effects resulting from a traumatic experience. Even an infant can suffer a lifetime of physical and psychological effects caused by a single frightening event.

From the aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine, pathological changes resulting in illness are due to imbalances in the respective function of the internal organs. These imbalances may manifest as any combination of emotional, psychological or physical ailments which vary from person to person according to their constitution (a conglomerate of inherent strengths and weaknesses).

PTSD cannot be categorized as specifically emotional or psychological. The nature of this imbalance is emotional, psychological and pathological. “Pathological” means changes occurring in the tissues or organs.

It has a profound influence over the conscious and subconscious mind. Each organ has a unique association with specific emotions and bodily functions. Additionally,  the internal organs should ideally maintain a harmonious and perpetual overall  balance reflected by a healthy bodily appearance and sound mind.

When one experiences sudden fright, the energy (Qi) allocated to the Heart scatters. Under ideal circumstances dispersed Heart Qi returns to reside in the Heart. The sensation of energy returning to the Heart following a substantial moment of fright can best be described as “a tingling sensation in the chest”. Practically everyone has experienced that feeling before.

According to Chinese Medicine the Heart acts as an “Emperor” in a manner of speaking. The Heart is responsible for dictating the functions of all other internal organs. The internal organs are referred to as “Ministers” for the purpose of this historical explanation.

During a moment of sudden fright or shock Qi is spontaneously scattered from the Heart in an effort to keep the Emperor from harm. In the absence of the Emperor there is no entity to dictate to the Ministers. In the event the Emperor does not return to the throne a Dominant Minister, as dictated by one’s constitution, will struggle to subjugate the other organs until the organ associated with the Dominant Minister becomes depleted. The resulting turmoil as another Dominant Minister struggles to gain control perpetuates a continuous cycle of imbalance affecting all-inclusive aspects of the body. The resulting emotional changes vary to include overwhelming fear, anger, worry, sorrow and confusion. Prolonged  vacation of the Emperor’s throne results in disorders such as PTSD, ADHD, OCD, schizophrenia, and psychosis.

The organs depicted are Yin organs. Each has a mutually paired Yang organ directly affected by any internal imbalances.

  • Heart/Small Intestine (Joy)
  • Spleen/Stomach (Worry)
  • Lung/Large Intestine (Sorrow)
  • Kidney/Bladder (Fear)
  • Liver/Gall  Bladder (Anger)


Improvements to health conditions can be made by positively influencing emotional, psychological or physical aspects of the body. Since the body is the most accessible part of  a person as a whole it is generally considered a safe place to begin therapy.

Traditional Chinese Medicine can help safely restore proper order to the imbalances associated with PTSD. It naturally compliments all other therapies.

“…the treatment of the human body/mind/spirit, including the electromagnetic or energetic field which surrounds, infuses and brings that body to life, by using pressure and/or manipulation. Asian Bodywork is based upon Chinese Medical principles for assessing and evaluating the body’s energetic system. It uses traditional Asian techniques and treatment strategies to primarily affect and balance the energetic system for the purpose of treating the human body, emotions, mind, energy field and spirit for the promotion, maintenance and restoration of health.”

Advantages of Traditional Chinese Medicine:

  • No drugs
  • Non invasive
  • Cost effective
  • Self-help inclusive
  • Individualized therapy
  • Safe adjunct therapy
  • Alleviates related ailments
  • No  negative side-effects
  • Accurate holistic assessment



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