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How do you feel when your child is sick with a terrible stomach flu? How about when your partner is stressed out about work and it translates into stress at home? Conversely, how does it make you feel to be around a friend who is spunky, full of joy and simply happy to be around you?

Happy Family

We are not islands – stuck in one place with no contact from other beings. We are fluid like water, touching everyone in our lives and, through them, everyone in their lives. Just as we are affected by other people, our own health directly affects the health of our relationships.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a comprehensive medical system based on an energetic model of health in relationship to nature and the environment. TCM methods of healing include acupuncture, massage, herbs, breathing exercises and much more. For thousands of years, people have used TCM to successfully strengthen their physical, emotional and spiritual health.

Here are four ways that TCM can also improve your relationships.

Joy

You are an empathetic being and, when people are around you, they are affected by your mood, good or bad. As a result, the more joy you have to share, the more enjoyable you are to be around and, as a direct result, those around you become happier and more enjoyable to you. This creates a cycle of joy that encourages greater enjoyment of each other’s company.

It’s difficult to be good company when you’re not feeling well. TCM can help alleviate illness, pain and other afflictions, leaving room for more happiness. Many practices and herbal remedies in TCM also elevate serotonin levels, a chemical in our brains that helps regulate sleep, appetite and mood – adding a wonderful extra kick to the pleasure of feeling better physically.

Acupuncture is the main method of treatment in TCM. Thin needles are placed along the body’s “energy channels,” known as meridians, which connect all organs and systems of our body. When these channels are blocked, any number of symptoms may occur depending on the location of the energy blockage. These symptoms may include illness, pain, or even anxiety or depression. The practice of acupuncture opens these channels and allows your energy to flow as it should, which decreases your suffering and makes room for increased joy.

Calm

Stress is a killer of relationships. It can cause fights, suspicion, blame and a whole host of other unfortunate experiences. Relieving stress through acupuncture, herbs, breathing techniques and other means will help you approach problems from a calmer, more rational perspective, and can improve your relationships.

Massage (both receiving and giving) is a relaxing way to find a state of calm and euphoria, and also a compassionate way to connect with your partner, friend or loved one. Use your palms and forearms so as not to cramp your thumbs. Allow your weight to help you – lean in with your whole body and you’ll last longer. Take deep, rhythmic breaths, bringing yourself to a relaxed state that will translate directly into your partner’s experience. When receiving massage, breathe deeply and be sure to give feedback – both complimentary and critical – to improve your experience and strengthen his/her confidence.

Sex Drive

As discussed above, many TCM practices increase levels of serotonin, the chemical in our brain that helps regulate mood, appetite and sleep. Not only does the mood-regulating property of serotonin increase your happiness, it also increases your sex drive. There are a variety of TCM methods that can help in this way, including acupuncture and massage.

The herbal branch of TCM also includes a number of natural serotonin-boosters. Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum), for example, are known to support healthy sexual function and libido.

Focus

Decreasing stress and finding calm have a wonderful side effect –increased focus. Without complaints to serve as distractions, you will be able to give your relationships the full attention they deserve. Being the focus of positive attention makes anyone feel loved. Feeling loved makes it easier to reciprocate love. And so we strengthen another wonderful cycle.

You can directly support your ability to focus by way of meditation. TCM methods of meditation train you to focus, and include both still meditation, such as sitting and counting breaths, and movement meditation, such as Qi gong. Just like learning another language, it takes a lot of practice to meditate without trying. The more often you practice, the better you’ll get.

Try meditating for 10-15 minutes once per day and gradually (if time and life permit) increase your practice time. You will find over time that focusing during meditation becomes easier; you will then find that the focus you have during meditation extends into your everyday life.

 

How TCM Can Improve Relationships
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