Feeling disconnected? Don’t worry it’s not just you.
We’ve been hearing this a lot from our patients lately.
It’s not surprising really, as we emerge from isolation and start to return to the COVID normal land of the living, some of you may be feeling like you’re watching your life happen around you. You’re sitting on the sidelines and you’re not really present or you are still sitting at home watching tv, only instead of watching someone else on there, you are watching yourself, interacting and carrying on, but not quite present.
Sometimes we can define it, sometimes we have no words, and it just feels like we’re “disconnected”.
From a Chinese medicine perspective this is due to a disturbance of the Shen (Spirit). The Shen is also considered to be made up of five smaller spirits, each relating to a different organ and having its own function and virtues. Some of these include human connections, both physical and conscious; life-affirming activities such as personal hobbies and travel; and the connection we have with the world, in time and in space.
The physical disconnection from human interaction as well as boredom in isolation where hours became days became weeks has led to our Spirits becoming “disconnected”.
Likewise, a cause of insomnia or vivid dreams, and waking unrested is said to be due to a restless Spirit. This is because during the day, the Body’s Qi primarily circulates on the surface of the body, then during the night, it circulates within the body’s interior. However if there is an imbalance in the body, the Qi will remain “outside” at night causing the Shen to become restless and wander.
So how do we reconnect our restless Spirit and settle our Shen?
‘There are many points that treat disturbances of the Shen, and just as every individual is going to have different symptoms, feelings and experiences, the points we choose will depend on your individuality. A couple of my favorites though include Shenmen, Baihui, and Yintang.’ – Dr M’Lanie
Shenmen literally translates to “Spirit Gate”. This point sits on the Heart meridian and though the five spirit can be attributed to the five main organs, the Heart is the master and commander of them all. It’s your go to point for any Shen disturbances. Baihui is located at the apex of the head, we like to think of this one as a beacon shining a light to let your Spirit know where to come home to. And Yintang, on the forehead in the middle of the eyebrows, often seen as the “third eye” in other cultures.
2. Chinese herbal medicine
There are many different formulas and herbs that can help settle the Shen and calm the spirit, so again, which formula your Acupuncturist or herbalist prescribes you will depend upon your other symptoms as an individual. But again two of my favorite herbs are Mu Li and Long Gu which are often found in combination.’ – Dr M’Lanie
These are considered “Minerals” which are heavy, and the heaviness helps to guide and settle the wandering spirit. As far as formulas go, An Shen Ding Zhi Wan which translates to “Calm the Shen and settle the emotions pill” is one we prescribe often.
3. Reconnect (physically) with your friends
‘At some point during one of our many lockdowns I realized it had been about 6 months since I had physically touched another human being.’ – Dr M’Lanie
Physical contact is really important to the human psyche, as well as stimulating the production of endorphins, those feel good hormones! Even if you are back to catching up with your friends but still feeling the distance, the saying “fake it til you make it” really does work! The neural connections in your brain take time to carve out new pathways so keep at it!
4. Ground yourself
‘Just as lightning wants to strike the earth, our spirit wants a home to reside, and in Chinese Medicine the Heart houses the Mind (this includes out Shen). Find yourself a grassy knoll, take off your shoes and feel the grass between your toes (this also works for sand).’ – Dr M’Lanie
The therapeutic technique known as grounding, has us physically connect with the earth, allow for an exchange of negative ions which improve mood, health, and energy levels.
Feeling disconnected? Visit Dr M’Lanie at Zhong Centre
M’Lanie loves to treat all the neurological and physiological symptoms that our body loves to throw at us, such as dermatological conditions, digestive upsets, hormonal imbalances, and Shen disturbances that come from our modern lifestyle of trying to balance work, life, and family.