Last week we had to say goodbye to our sweet, best good boy, Murphy Dog. He was a certified old geezer at 15 years old, but it still broke my heart.
If you’ve ever lost a beloved pet, you know how hard it is. To make things even harder, our sweet Murphy passed on the two-year anniversary of the day my dad died.
I can’t decide if this makes things extra difficult, grief-wise, or if it’s actually very efficient. However you look at it, the grief has been heavy.
It really, really sucks. It hits you right in the chest, almost knocking the wind out of you. Makes your whole body contract, and makes your heart literally ache.
The way grief comes in waves is a relief when it subsides, or it can knock your feet out from under you. Sometimes, I just feel so thankful for having had that sweet, loving dog in our lives. Other times, I forget he’s gone and expect him to come running for greetings and love when I walk in the door.
All the little things that you take for granted, from when they come to wake you up in the morning for breakfast, to even feeling sad that there’s so much less poop to scoop in the yard now that he is gone.* (Murphy had enviably good digestion. Also, my husband thinks this is very weird that it makes me sad, lol, so it’s ok if you do, too. It’s just another sign he isn’t here to me.)
As an acupuncturist, I know that all emotions are good and healthy, as long as they don’t get stuck in our bodies.
Grief According to East-Asian Medicine
Grief is said to “knot the Qi.” I feel that..like all the energy is tied up, almost making it hard to breathe. Grief is related to the Lung and Large Intestine (Metal Element), which govern taking in energy through breathing and letting go appropriately through the breath and Large Intestine.
So while it is important to feel your emotions, it is equally important to keep them from getting stuck in our bodies. When grief gets stuck in our bodies, it can weaken our immune systems, cause tightness in the chest and lungs, constipation, and cause a lot of stagnation in our whole body/mind/spirit.
This is where acupuncture and herbal medicine can help.
How Acupuncture Can Help Manage Grief
And while acupuncture and herbal medicine can’t take away your grief (nor do I think we’d totally want it to), it CAN help keep it from getting so stuck in your body.
And of course, I always recommend a good therapist to help with this, too. But sometimes the grief is also stuck in our bodies, and acupuncture and herbal medicine are some of the best remedies for that particular aspect of grief (or any other stuck emotion).
Acupuncture will calm the feeling of overwhelm, and help you breathe a little easier, help get things moving that are stuck. And it will help you feel better right there on the table during your treatment. And because acupuncture is cumulative, taking care of yourself with a series of treatments will help you even more.
This is important because it helps us to move forward in our own lives, not by avoiding or burying our grief, but by helping us grow with it. It can help us get out of that “stuckness.”
A few days ago, I had a wonderful acupuncture session with Sarah at our office. I felt “tied up” emotionally and even physically. That treatment helped soften my whole body and being. And it reminded me how thankful I am for this medicine, and all it can do.
Acupuncture and herbal medicine work best when used weekly, for the cumulative effect, for Grief, and most other things, too.
At Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness, we offer acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage therapy, craniosacral therapy, and visceral manipulation to help you manage and heal your whole being, from emotional issues to chronic pain.
For personalized support with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, or for your free 15-minute initial telemedicine consult, book an appointment with Dr. Jennie.
Book a massage anytime here.
Dr. Jennie Luther, DACM, L.Ac
Family Tree Acupuncture & Wellness