Hope Health Healing

Grief and sadness


Traditional Chinese Medicine is fascinating! Learning the theory at college was really interesting, but seeing it so clearly day in day out in my work just blows my mind!

I’ve seen a lot of clients lately dealing with grief. They may come in for other ‘conditions’ that they are getting the treatment for, but a lot of the time when I’m going through their initial consultations or even chatting during the treatment, they will share about a loved ones passing, or a beloved family pet that’s no longer with them, a loss of a job, a relationship breakdown or even grieving future plans realising they are not coming into fruition.


Each organ is linked to a certain emotion and for grief and sadness it’s our lungs. You know that feeling like someone’s knocked the wind out of your sails, like your chest is going to break it’s so heavy, when every breath hurts?

Every organ has a partner organ, one is yin and one is yang and they work together to keep the body in balance. For lungs it is the Large Intestine. The lungs take in the new and the large intestine releases the waste. Many breathing and bowel disorders are rooted in excess grief and sadness and excessive grieving can lead to disorders of both the lungs and the large intestine.

Each organ in our body shows physically on the outside and for our lungs it’s the skin, body hair and sweat. Do you notice you get a rash maybe when things get very emotional for you? Or that your acne/rosacea/eczema flare up at more difficult times? If your lungs are weak you are also more susceptible to colds and flus.

Every single one of us will have to deal with grief throughout our lives at some time or another and grief is a natural, healthy emotion and is an important part of being human. Unpleasant as it may be to feel, it is important that we feel it and make our peace with it.

TCM is concerned with grief that is repressed, unable to be expressed, or expressed without control or in the proper context. Emotions are only considered as ‘an issue’ when they are particularly intense, felt for prolonged periods, unacknowledged or unexpressed.

Image Source: pixabay

From a TCM perspective there are ways that it can be made a little easier and a little less painful;


As grief is so directly linked to the lungs, the way to release it most effectively is through deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing into the diaphragm and filling the lungs to capacity type breathing. It can be commonly practised in yoga classes, meditation, tai chi, qi gong etc


There are specific foods that are beneficial for the lungs. Strengthening the lungs gives them more energy to help move your grief more quickly. Look out for these foods and add them in abundance to your diet if you are struggling with excess grief or sadness;

  • garlic
  • sweet potato
  • ginger
  • onion
  • cabbage
  • pears
  • walnuts
  • black pepper
  • radish
  • rice
  • chilli
  • cinnamon
  • leek
  • miso
  • soy beans
  • almonds
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • cucumber
  • celery
  • mustard
  • apricot
  • banana
  • eggs


Acupuncture helps your whole body rebalance and is also immensely helpful for moving emotional blockages, and opening things up so they can be released. I have been treating clients for a very physical condition and have added a strong Lung point if I pick up a sense of grief or excess sadness. More often than not the client will feel quite emotional and often there can be tears… this is a completely normal and healthy release, sometimes our body’s know what we need and can surprise us when given the opportunity to release.


massage is a great way to move any stagnant or ‘stuck’ grief in the body. Unpleasant emotions cause our bodies to constrict and tighten up. That’s why when people are sad, depressed or angry, their bodies tend to ache and have a tendency to headaches, and other problems. These are our body’s way of communicating to you that something is wrong.

We can be so caught up in our physical bodies but our emotional lives are just as important as our physical ones, so staying balanced in all aspects is so important to our overall health and well-being.

Sarah x
Hope, Health & Healing Acupuncture


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