Emotions & Illness

Ever felt so upset, that you couldn’t eat a thing?

In Chinese Medicine, negative or difficult emotions block qi flow and cause illnesses that associate with particular organs and systems. Anger is associated with the Liver, worry with the Spleen, and grief with the lungs. This helps to explain why people often develop health problems after a traumatic event such as loss of a loved one, redundancy, accident, argument, divorce and so on. Reflexology acknowledges the connection between emotions and illness and seeks to restore emotional balance as well as reduce physical symptoms of illness.


  • Emotions: Worry, dwelling or focusing too much on a particular topic, excessive mental work.
  • Spleen Function: Food digestion and nutrient absorption. Helps in the formation of blood and energy. Keeps blood in the blood vessels. Connected with muscles, mouth, and lips. Involved in thinking, studying, and memory.
  • Symptoms of Spleen Imbalance: Tired, loss of appetite, mucus discharge, poor digestion, abdominal distension, loose stools or diarrhea. Weak muscles, pale lips. Bruising, excess menstrual blood flow, and other bleeding disorders.
  • Spleen Conditions: Spleen Qi Deficiency


  • Emotions: grief, sadness, detached.
  • Lung Function: Respiration. Forms energy from air, and helps to distribute it throughout the body. Works with the kidney to regulate water metabolism. Important in the immune system and resistance to viruses and bacteria. Regulates sweat glands and body hair, and provides moisture to the skin.
  • Symptoms of Lung Imbalance: Shortness of breath and shallow breathing, sweating, fatigue, cough, frequent cold and flu, allergies, asthma, and other lung conditions. Dry skin. Depression and crying.
  • Lung Conditions: Lung Qi Deficiency


  • Emotions: Anger, resentment, frustration, irritability, bitterness, “flying off the handle”.
  • Liver Function: Involved in the smooth flow of energy and blood throughout the body. Regulates bile secretion, stores blood, and is connected with the tendons, nails, and eyes.
  • Symptoms of Liver Imbalance: Breast distension, menstrual pain, headache, irritability, inappropriate anger, dizziness, dry, red eyes and other eye conditions, tendonitis.
  • Liver Conditions: Liver Qi Stagnation


  • Emotions: Lack of enthusiasm and vitality, mental restlessness, depression, insomnia, despair.
  • Heart Function: Regulates the heart and blood vessels. Responsible for even and regular pulse. Influences vitality and spirit. Connected with the tongue, complexion, and arteries.
  • Symptoms of Heart Imbalance: Insomnia, heart palpitations and irregular heartbeat, excessive dreaming, poor long-term memory, psychological disorders.


  • Emotions: Fearful, weak willpower, insecure, aloof, isolated.
  • Kidney Function: Key organ for sustaining life. Responsible for reproduction, growth and development, and maturation. Involved with lungs in water metabolism and respiration. Connected with bones, teeth, ears, and head hair.
  • Symptoms of Kidney Imbalance: Frequent urination, urinary incontinence, night sweats, dry mouth, poor short-term memory, low back pain, ringing in the ears, hearing loss, and other ear conditions. Premature gray hair, hair loss, and osteoporosis.
  • Kidney Conditions: Kidney Yin Deficiency


  • Stomach is affected by excessive thinking and worry.
  • These can cause stagnation of Qi in the Stomach: signs include belching, nausea and irritation or burning pain in Stomach.
  • Excessive mental activity over a long time causes Stomach Qi Deficiency
  • Anger and frustration affect the Liver and cause Stagnation of Liver Qi. Liver then invades Stomach, causing belching, nausea, pain.

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