No Such Thing as Guilt!

Feeling guilty after Christmas?

New Year resolutions in tatters already?

Did you know that guilt doesn’t exist in Chinese medicine, isn't that great! 

Guilt is not an emotion that is linked to any organ system in Chinese Medicine, or listed as an emotional pathology. According to the classic Chinese medical text, the Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Internal Medicine, "The five yin-organs of the human body produce five kinds of essential qi, which bring forth joy, anger, grief, worry, and fear."

The heart (xin) relates to joy, liver (gan) to anger, spleen (pi) to pensiveness, lungs (fei) to grief and the kidneys (shen) to fear. Two more emotions recognised as causes of illness are anxiety and fright. 

In our consumerist, stress-filled Western society we all know about guilt. "I shouldn’t have", or "I didn’t do" enter our thoughts frequently. Most people can shrug these thoughts off or work their way through them, but for some people they linger, becoming strong feelings. We may overindulge in foods we love which makes us feel happier for a short while, but then we can feel guilty about that too, creating a vicious cycle.


We are all aware that strong feelings or emotions can cause disharmony in the functioning systems of the body and our daily lives, not only from the viewpoint of Chinese or East Asian medicine. 

We all respond differently to guilty feelings, but we could say that guilt is like anger directed inwardly. We can become our own judge and jury (and not always a benign one). If the dark feeling of guilt is left to fester we can become ‘stuck’ not only emotionally but physically too. Many different functioning systems may become blocked resulting in symptoms such as headaches, general pain, fatigue or digestive problems.


The approach to guilt in the Chinese medical tradition (acupuncture, tui na) is via the symptoms that are manifesting in the individual both physically and emotionally.


These symptoms are all taken into account when discussing your problem and will assist us in finding the best approach for you. The physical symptoms are known as the branches (Biao) of the problem, and the underlying causes are known as the roots (Ben).  The Chinese medical approach, along with our other therapies, seeks to address both.