Grief and East Asian Medicine | Ondol Oriental Clinic

Grief and East Asian Medicine

Grief and East Asian Medicine

Grief and East Asian Medicine

As we discussed in our recent blog, The Emotions, Organs and The Five Elements, in East Asian Medicine, energy, emotions, and physical health are closely connected. In this blog, we will look more closely at the feeling of grief. 

There are five essential elements in East Asian Medicine – Wood, Fire, EarthMetal, and Water. Each element relates to a particular emotion and a particular organ in the body.

Grief, sadness, and sorrow are related to the lungslarge intestine, and metal elements. The lungs bring oxygen into the body and remove carbon dioxide. Their primary function is to disperse and disseminate Qi throughout the rest of the body. The large intestines are about letting go, both physically and mentally. Prolonged, unprocessed grief impairs the function of the lungs and large intestines. It consumes the Qi, leading to exhaustion, lack of energy, shortness of breath, and respiratory infections.

Forms of grief

Grief and sadness can take many forms. Most of us associate grief with the death of a loved one. However, any loss can bring on these feelings. Grief is often about change – changes to our relationships, lifestyles, social lives, and work situations – all these can bring up feelings of grief and sadness. 

A global grief pandemic

Individually and collectively, we’re all going through a time of immense grief. Globally, over 6 million lives have been lost to COVID, and life as we knew it had changed so much for everyone. The recent floods in South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales have brought so much loss, and many have lost all their possessions, and their sense of home has been destroyed. It is more important than ever to seek friends and family’s support in these challenging times and look after our physical and mental health. 

The metal element and grief

The metal element is all about structures and boundaries. The characteristics of metal are hardnesscontainment and precision. It is the metal in the earth that gives it its inner structure and value. Balanced metal allows for healthy boundaries, a manageable routine, and inspiring rituals. In contrast, too little metal will lead to lethargy and numbness. When metal becomes overbearing, we will have difficulty expressing ourselves, expressing intimacy and acting spontaneously. It can also result in issues with the respiratory system, skin, elimination, and lymphatic and immune systems

How to keep the metal element balanced

To keep metal balanced, we need structure and routine equalized with an ability to let go and allow ourselves to be supported. We need to soften our boundaries to connect with others, be social and spontaneous, and give ourselves the time to follow our passion. 

How can East Asian Medicine help?

East Asian Medicine is concerned with restoring balance. Processing grief is about letting go and allowing ourselves to be supported.

Acupuncture can be beneficial for regulating emotions and calming stress. A trained East Asian Medicine practitioner will be able to assess if your condition is one of excess or deficiency and come up with a proper treatment plan for you. Herbal medicine, dietary advice, massage and exercises are additional tools in the kit.

What does Ondol Clinic offer?

At Ondol Clinic, we offer a holistic approach to health, empowering you to lead your best life. 

If you are dealing with grief, sadness or loss, several services are available to restore you to health. These include acupunctureherbal medicinesmoxibustion (heat therapy), cupping,

 tui-na massage, and nutritional advice.

If you want to explore how to feel healthier and more balanced, don’t hesitate to contact us at  Ondol Clinic and book an appointment. We are here to discuss your needs and help you get answers to your questions.  

Although grief is a part of living and loving, it can be an intense emotion, and we can wonder if we will ever recover. But grief has something to offer us too. It encourages us to look within, identify sources of long-held sadness and begin the process of letting go. We learn to appreciate life again. Autumn is the perfect time for a bit of introspection, and here at Ondol Clinic, we would love to support you on your journey.


Acupuncture as a complementary medicine for depression caused by the confinement by COVID-19

José Luis Vique-Sáncheza,⁎, Ana Itzel Galíndez-Fuentesb


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