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Acupuncture for Anger/Irritability

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When a woman shows easy irritability or anger, the old cliché “she must be in her period” is facetiously mentioned as a reason for her moodiness; however, this may be actually a fact for a lot of women.  A lot of doctors state that the most commonly reported emotional problem among women is irritability. This emotion often occurs 5 to 7 days before actual menstrual bleeding starts.

For a lot of women, they feeling of tiredness in the body days leading up to their monthly menses is all too real.  If their bodies are healthy and strong enough (which often means their qi is normally flowing) that the weariness on the body do not happen and the woman will just begin to bleed without any problems at all.  Unfortunately, that is not the case for a lot of woman whose energy is so spent that their menstruation does not flow smoothly causing symptoms in the process.


Every normal person experiences irritability from time to time.  A lot of us can remember a time when someone has been bugging us in work or if we’ve been abruptly cut off the road by a driver when we’re driving.  Physical pain can also make us behave in a negative way among other people.  Pain basically implies that energy (qi) has stopped flowing or has stagnated. The blocked qi generates pain and we become irritated and grumpy and may lash out at others rather easily.

According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the Liver is responsible for the normal flow of qi. The Liver usually needs some healing when the body feels some type of acute pain. The Liver likewise governs the start of a woman’s menstrual cycle and stores all the required blood needed for the cycle. If the liver s is already taxed and there is an inadequate blood supply, the qi begins to flow slower than normal as the liver is incapable of managing one function at a time. This slow is what causes in us irritability.


Sometimes acupuncturists will ask their women patients the degree of their irritability. Do they start to yell and begin to lose their temper? Is their irritability a genuine rage or is it anger-filled?  The acupuncturist needs to know the exact severity of their anger to determine the amount of heat that has built up in the patient’s body. If the qi has stagnated before the Liver was prepared to commence the menstrual cycle, this factor can create heat. Heat generates anger in people that is usually difficult to control. A lot of women have had experiences of hot anger that make them think or do something that they normally would not do or say that would reflect their true selves. The seemingly funny things you see in the movies like an angry woman throwing a rolling pin or waving a kitchen knife on her boyfriend or husband can be telltale signs of her anger/rage being a stagnation of her qi or her premenstrual syndrome.

Chinese herbalists and acupuncturists need to know just how much heat there is inside an irritable patient. If a patient holds up his/her emotions, this is not a sign that he/she manifests self-control, it just show that there is not an accumulation of heat in his/her body.


Premenstrual women are not the only ones who can manifest easy irritability. In truth, a lot of women prior and pot menstruation and a lot of men get irritable and unpleasantly show it.  This begs the question, if it isn’t the Liver working hard to start the period, what else can generate irritability?  The answer to that is it still is the Liver although certain factors play a role that can weaken the Liver.

Activities that Can Deplete the Liver

-Lack of exercise
-Too much greasy, fatty or sweet diet
-Inadequate sleep
-Suppression of honest concerns or emotions
-Irregular meal times
-Exposure to extreme heat
-Stressful living
-Alcohol intake

One of the best ways to relieve irritability is with acupuncture. Sure, Chinese herbal medicine and exercise are also quite effective. But exercise is only ideal if the qi has stagnated due to living a sedentary lifestyle. If your qi has stagnated because you are living a stressful life, eating unhealthily or run down, exercise can actually make you feel much worse or it may improve your condition just a bit.  A lot of patients within seconds of being treated with acupuncture in the body experience feeling less irked. This helps them interact with others and their environment a bit more amicably.

Strangely there are people who are suffering from liver qi stagnation who self-medicate themselves.  There are alcoholics who consume alcohol because it helps them to “smooth out things.”  There are tobacco smokers who intuitively know nicotine is an excellent mover of qi; there are runners who try to mitigate their anger by running a number of miles every day and there are acupuncture buffs who want to go home with a calm mind and relax body and who wouldn’t touch any alcohol or nicotine to make them feel good.

There are acupuncturists whose specialty is treating anger and irritability.  Their emotional problem dissipates with just two or three acupuncture sessions.

Jamie Catlett is an acupuncturist in Jacksonville, FL and the founder of Jacksonville Acupuncture Clinic.

Written by Valerie

May 18th, 2014 at 8:07 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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