An in-Depth Look at How Trauma Creates Blockages in Our Chakra and Meridian System
By, Christina Ducharme, L.Ac owner of Blue Heron Acupuncture, LLC
Recently many women have come forward describing traumatic experiences, and sharing stories they have never told before. Many are outraged at a society that discredits women’s and children’s stories of trauma and sexual abuse. Women have been reaching out to me and asking if acupuncture can treat trauma, and the answer is yes. Yes it does. I’ve been asked how my healing work informs my Chinese Medicine practice, and if there are herbal remedies for the stress, anxiety, emotions, and fears that are surfacing for many women right now in our society. Chinese medicine, energy healing, and acupuncture are very strong healing modalities for transforming trauma and calming the spirit. The work that I do combines these three modalities to facilitate healing in a very deep and transformational way.
I want you to know that I am here for you. I see you. I believe you. To be a healer one must first face their own trauma and actively work towards healing it, before they can hold space and facilitate healing for you in your deepest wounds. I am here to offer assistance and healing on your path.
How Trauma forms Blockages in Our Energetic and Physical Body
Einstein described the equation E=MC2, or energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. This equation describes how mass and energy are interchangeable, or how energy, mass, and light correlate with one another. We have a physical body and an energy or light body that work together to facilitate health and reflect disharmony. It is in the energy body (referred to as the auric field, meridian system, etc) that distortions or blockages occur before the physical effects of the distortion are made manifest. Ancient cultures have been describing energy, qi, and other energy sources for thousands of years, how to access and charge this energy, and how to use this energy for healing.
In our chakra system (see below for a brief description of the seven major chakras) and indeed, in our Chinese meridian energy system (see below for a brief description of the meridian system) traumatic experiences result in energy blocks. Our chakra system consists of seven main chakras, one from the root of our coccyx, five along our abdomen, torso, throat and head that have front and back openings, and one extending from the vertex of the head. The chakras main purpose is to digest and metabolize energy for our senses, major organs, psycho-emotional and spiritual well-being. Chakras are linked to each other through the vertical power cord and actively metabolize energy from the environment for our physical body. When a chakra is distorted, clogged, or otherwise disfigured our psycho-emotional and physical health become impacted.
The ancient Chinese described twelve major meridians and 8 extraordinary vessels, which are described as pathways which connect the Yin and Yang organs of the body, and interacts with the environment, much like the chakra system. When there is a blockage in a channel, it creates disharmony, causing psycho-emotional or physical symptoms of disease. A practitioner skilled in using channel theory with the chakra system can treat the manifestation of disease or disharmony on a deeper level.
‘When the five yin and six yang organs are diseased, it is like there is a thorn, a piece of dirt a knot, or blockage. Although the thorn may be long-standing, it can be removed. Although the dirt may be long-standing, it can be wiped away. Although the knot may be long-standing, it can be untied. Although the blockage may be long-standing, it can be opened up. [Those who] say that old diseases cannot be taken up speak wrongly. Those [who] use needles should look for [the cause of] disease. Then the thorn can be removed, the dirt wiped away, the knot untied, and the blockage opened up. Even though a disease is long-standing, it can be stopped. Those who say [these conditions] cannot be treated have not yet realized their skill.’
- Inner Classic, Divine Pivot, Chapter 1
As children our energy fields are wide open, and when something traumatic occurs, such as sexual abuse, we create blockages, sometimes literally blocking or repressing the event from our memory because it is too much for the young self to process. Our energy field is naturally free flowing and ever changing, however when we begin to stop the natural flow of energy not only do we have less energy for our physical bodies, we start to create disharmony that can manifest as pain or disease. As we continue to age and grow other experiences that trigger the event stuck within the blockage add density to the blocked energy and it can grow as a conglomerate of stuck energy. Sometimes our past lives, or karma, are related to the blockage and contribute to its energetic weight or density.
It is through healing, such as energy healing sessions or the movement of energy in the meridian system, that the blocks begin to move. As the blocked energy is released, healing can occur. We can often perceive the experience, or experiences, stuck within the blockage, and upon movement and release a healing response can occur without reliving the original trauma. With guidance and assistance the emotions, fears, and beliefs related to the experience can be released without re-wounding, creating healing.
Chinese Medicinal Formulas for Trauma
Chinese Medicine is excellent at treating trauma, because it not only calms the emotions including anxiety, fear and agitation (to name a few), but it treats the underlying root as well by supporting the organs most directly affected by the result of trauma. For example, someone might suffer from anxiety with palpitations, night sweats, and insomnia and the resulting formula would nourish Heart and Kidney Yin. Another person might have an altered personality with difficulty concentrating and bouts of uncontrollable crying and erratic behavior. The formula for this presentation would nourish the Heart and the Spleen while calming the Spirit.
Gan Mai Da Zao Tang – Licorice Wheat and Jujube Decoction, from Essentials from the Golden Cabinet, c. 220
This formula is comprised of licorice (gan cao), wheat (xiao mai), and Chinese dates (da zao), and nourishes the heart, calms the spirit, harmonizes the middle burner and relaxes hypertonicity. It is especially indicated for disorientation, frequent attacks of melancholy and crying, inability to control oneself, restless sleep, and frequent yawning. In severe cases the behavior and speech become abnormal. This is referred to as restless organ disorder. When excessive worry, anxiety or ruminating thoughts persist it can injure the Heart spirit and cause psycho-emotional disturbances. In modern times this formula is used for post-traumatic stress disorder, and the healing of trauma. When trauma occurs, the spirit can become ungrounded and lost. The person becomes detached from the norms of society and begins to experience behavioral changes. They can range from mentally disoriented, anxious, impulsive, experience uncontrollable crying, manic behavior or severe disorientation. This formula is indicated when physical or emotional trauma has led to emotional instability.
Tian Wan Bu Xin Dan – Emperor of Heaven’s Special Pill to Tonify the Heart, from Fine Formulas for Women with Annotations and Commentary, Ming Dynasty 16th Century
This formula is comprised of the following ingredients: Rehmanniae Radis (Sheng di huang), Ginseng (ren shen), Asparagi (tian men dong), Ophiopogonis (mai men dong), Scophulariae (xuan shen), Salviae (dan shen), Poria (fu ling), Polygale (yuan zhi), Angelica sinensis (dang gui), Schisandra (wu wei zi), Platycladi (bai zi ren), Ziziphi spinosa (suan zao ren), and Platycodi (jie geng). This formula is used to enrich the yin, nourish the blood, clear heat, and calm the spirit. It is indicated for disturbance of the spirit that result in irritability, palpitations with anxiety, fatigue, insomnia with very restless sleep, inability to think or concentrate for even short periods of time, forgetfulness, night sweats at the heart, sores of the mouth and tongue. This treats a failure of communication between the heart and kidneys. When the heart and kidneys fail to communicate the fire and water balance become insufficient which leads to fire agitating the heart resulting in palpitations, insomnia, irritability and sores of the mouth and tongue. The Kidneys store essence and harbor the Will. The water of the Kidneys nourishes the Heart and keeps the spirit grounded and calm. When our spirit is disturbed due to psycho-emotional disturbance such as trauma it can cause disharmony between the Kidney and Heart, between spirit and will. This formula treats and corrects the disharmony while supporting the spirit.
Suan Zao Ren Tang – Sour Jujube Decoction, from Essentials from the Golden Cabinet (c.220).
The ingredients for this formula are as follows: Ziziphi spinosae (suan zao ren), Poria (fu ling), Anemarrhenae (zhi mu), Chuanxiong (chuan xiong), Glycyrrhizae (gan cao). This formula nourishes the blood, calms the spirit, clears heat and eliminates irritability. Signs and symptoms may include irritability, inability to sleep, palpitations, night sweats, dizziness and vertigo, dry throat and mouth, light-headedness, pain in head and eyes, dry mouth and throat without thirst and insomnia with a clear mind when the patient lies in bed. This is due to a deficient Liver that cannot restrain the yang, which rises and manifests as dizziness, vertigo, irritability, and is also due to constraint of qi (energy) and internal fire. This can occur when trauma and anger are tightly held and overwork or a busy and hectic lifestyle combine to deplete the Liver Blood over time. The spirit becomes unsettled and irritability becomes pronounced. This formula helps treat the underlying cause and calms the spirit.
How Energy Healing, Acupuncture, and Chinese Herbal Medicine Combine to Treat Trauma
What is special about the work I do at Blue Heron Acupuncture, LLC, is the combination of my training from the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, and knowledge of the auric field and chakra system with meridian theory. I can help the stuck energy to transform, and support you with deep compassion and healing as the energy starts to flow and move. I use the meridian system to target and hold the healing while combining my knowledge and perception of the auric field to transform blockages and facilitate healing on a deeper level.
The Chakra System
Our chakra system correlates with the energy of the auric field, with seven different levels corresponding to each chakra. Distortions can occur due to trauma that may result in unexplained physical pain, emotions about one’s self that are rigidly held, beliefs about the world or who we are, relationship cord distortions, relationship patterns that are frequently repeated, and a disconnection from trust and the divine. Distortions can occur in the chakras, in our relationship cords, and on each level of the auric field. An understanding and perception of the distortions, by the healer, is key in healing and clearing held trauma. When we experience
Our auric field is composed of seven major chakras and different levels of the field that correspond to the frequency of each chakra.
The first chakra is located as an inverted funnel extending down from the perineum towards the earth, is associated with the acupuncture point Ren 1, with color red, and represents trust, safety, our ability to connect to the earth and issues around home and money. It charges the Kidneys and adrenal glands.
The second chakra is located in the pelvis, at acupuncture point Ren 2 on the front of the body, and extends from the front and back of the body. It is associated with the color orange, and represents our sexual energy and the ability to give and receive pleasure. The second chakra supplies energy to the reproductive organs.
The third chakra is located in the solar plexus, at the acupuncture point Ren 12 at the front of the body, and extends from both the front and back of the body. The third chakra is associated with the color yellow and represents who we are in the world, how we relate to others, and our intentionality towards our own health. The third chakra supplies the Stomach, Gallbladder, Liver, Spleen and Pancreas with energy.
The fourth chakra is located between the breasts and extends from the front and back of the body, at the acupuncture point Ren 17 on the front of the body. It is associated with the colors green and pink, and is related to love and will. It is through the 4th chakra that we experience love. The 4th chakra supplies energy to the heart, circulatory system, thymus, vagus nerve, and the upper back at T-5.
The fifth chakra is located at the base of the throat, at the acupuncture point Ren 22 on the front, and extends from both the front and back of the body. It is associated with the ability to speak one’s truth, and to have one’s voice be heard. The 5th chakra is associated with the color sky blue and violet. It supplies energy to the thyroid, lungs, and throat.
The sixth chakra is located on the forehead and back of the head at the acupuncture point Yintang between the eyebrows. It is associated with the color indigo and purple. The 6th chakra supplies energy to the pituitary gland, brain, eyes, ears, nose and our nervous system. It is associated with our sense of sight, the third eye, and one’s ability to perceive beyond the physical as well as conceptual understanding and ability to carry out ideas.
The seventh chakra is located at the vertex of the head, at the acupuncture point Du 20. It is associated with the color white, and supplies the brain with energy. It is through the 7th chakra that direct knowing can occur, and the integration of one’s spirit and personality. It is a connection to spirit and the divine.
A Brief Introduction to the Meridian System
The meridian system consist of channels that link the organs to organs and the physical body to the qi in the external environment (much like the chakra system). It is through understanding how the qi circulates in the meridian system, and which points on the channels have specific effects for healing, that the meridian system can be used most effectively.
There are 12 main meridians that run vertically up and down the body. The qi transforms from yin to yang at the fingertips and toes. Each meridian is a communication system and are pathways for normal physiology and disease. The channels are named according to an area on the surface of the body, an internal organ and a level of the body.
|Location of Meridian||Nature of Meridian||Associated Organ|
|Arm||Shaoyang||Tripple Burner/San Jiao|
The channels are paired yin with yang, and can be understood as representing different levels within the body moving from inside to outside. All of this is very important when diagnosing disharmony and blockages in the meridian system, and writing herbal prescriptions. A more in-depth look is beyond the scope of this article. Please refer to the references below for additional information.
Brennan, Barbara, 1988. Hands of Light. Bantam Books.
Scheid, Volker, Dan Bensky, Andrew Ellis, Randall Barolet, 2009. Chinese Herbal Medicine Formulas & Strategies 2nd edition. Eastland Press, Seattle, Wa.
Wang Ju-Yi, Robertson, Jason D, 2008. Applied Channel Theory in Chinese Medicine, Wang Ju-Yi’s Lectures on Channel Therapeutics. Eastland Press, Seattle, Wa.
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