On a physical level, stagnant Qi can lead to menstrual pain and irregularity, digestive disturbance and headaches. In fact, many female conditions such as PMS, dysmenorrhea and pelvic inflammatory disease are believed to be caused by a stagnation of Qi. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is another condition that’s linked to it.One of the ways this stagnation comes about is when our plans and visions for our lives are thwarted. We know where we want to be, but we feel stuck and unable to get there. Sometimes this starts early in life, perhaps because of overly controlling parents exerting their will over us.

What is Qi Stagnation

Qi Stagnation
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‘Qi stagnation’ is something that acupuncturists like me talk a lot about and spend even more time trying to address. When the body is in balance, Qi flows smoothly and our body an demotions are happy and healthy. When Qi stagnates however, we may feel depressed, frustrated or irritable.Our inability to assert ourselves means that our feelings are suppressed and turn to stagnation of Qi. In IBS, the emotions are suppressed and held in the bowel and when that person is stressed,symptoms flare up, causing digestive disturbances.

What can we do about it

acupuncture how it works
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It’s important to address any emotional issues you’ve suppressed. It can be hard to let go of these darker sides of our personality, but in my experience, it is essential in order to move the stagnation. Talking therapy (read this another therapy Eat, Sleep, Heal) is the best way to do this. Acupuncture is also great to help move stagnant Qi and can even help the patient to begin to address their issues verbally.Exercise helps too, however some people with Qi stagnation use it as a way of moving stagnation without addressing the underlying emotional issues. These people can get addicted to exercise and regularly over exercise. Walking in nature, swimming and yoga are great ways to move Qi and bring enjoyment and relaxation.

Be Easy on the Digestion

chamomile tea loose leaf
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Do not over eat and keep your meals simple. Pickles are helpful as they move stagnation in the digestive system. Fennel, ginger, tangerine, chamomile and green tea are also recommended to help smooth the flow of Qi. Drink warm drinks, such as lemon in water or even organic apple cider vinegar diluted in warm water. Finally, try abdominal massage using oils such as fennel and tangerine. And remember, in order to live life to the fullest, sometimes we need to be brave enough to face our past and take responsibility for how it is impacting on our present.


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