Chinese Medicine and Trauma

This blog is written by guest Jason Chong.



Chinese Medicine and Trauma


In Chinese medicine, we see the emotions and the physical body as one. Our emotional experience and expression is a manifestation of the movement of energy. These same movements also drive the physical functions of our internal organs. 

In Chinese medicine the translated terms used to refer to the organs correlate with the western medical definition of their function. Additionally, we also include to a much broader range of functions including the emotional and spiritual realm. 

We see specific emotional patterns and influences correlating to and affecting individual organs. For example, an excess of fear can negatively affect the function of our Kidney. At the same time a Kidney that is functioning sub-optimally can leave us susceptible to experiencing fear. We relate our Heart organ with our ability to experience joy and connect with others. 

In the Oriental medicine framework, the body exists because of the balanced functioning of all internal organs. If one part of the system is not doing its job, it will ultimately affect the way every other component will function.

One of the core balanced relationships in the body is the heart-kidney axis. This relationship represents the pillar around which our body operates. It reflects the most core dynamic between the Yin and Yang energies within our bodies. 

Trauma, whether predominantly physical or emotional, disrupts this relationship. It affects the way our active and passive components are related. 

The warmth of the Heart, and its Fire relationship no longer can descend to warm and support the function of the Kidneys. Our most secluded and Yin aspects of our self no longer experience warmth and connection, causing us to further retreat into ourselves. In this place of imbalance, our fears often feel amplified and can become overwhelming. This seclusion and disconnection can leave us feeling in a depressed state. Our bodies may tense up in pain and our energy levels plummet. 

Similarly, the cooling Water influence from the Kidney can no longer rise to contain the flaring Fire of the Heart. Our imbalanced Heart can no longer connect in a healthy way with joy and other people. Our spirit becomes manic as this untempered fire flares, resulting in anxiety and manic thoughts. We can become restless and experience trouble sleeping as our spirit cannot find a contained place to rest. Uncomfortable palpitations, sweating and hair loss can be some of the many physical manifestations of this. 

The disruption to this core dynamic in our body can also cause imbalances in any other organ system. A broad range of symptoms can manifest through the body, all stemming back to this core dysfunction.

Re-balancing these Yin and Yang aspects in our lifestyle is often the key to recovery from trauma. Meditative practices and heartfelt connection with others are useful tools to utilise on this journey.

Guidance through modalities such as counselling can help navigate the emotional components to this imbalance. This is complemented with navigation through the physical realm with tools like acupuncture. An integrated approach can address the physical and emotional components of trauma. 


Jason Chong is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine. He works with acupuncture and Chinese herbs to help you reclaim your health and vitality. See his website for more information about his practice at You can contact him on 0424 883 409 or



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