Management of PTSD with Chinese Medicine

How do you as a practitioner determine how trauma has affected a person, or at what level the trauma is being held?  

How someone responds to trauma depends on several variables, like age, constitution, temperament and environment.  The strength of the Shen (Heart) and the Jing (Kidney) defines how well a person can cope with trauma(s).  Also, where the trauma is stored varies from person to person.

In the course Management of Physical and Psychological Trauma with AcupunctureDr. Montakab deeply discusses the structure of consciousness in both Western and Eastern terms and provides practical treatment strategies based on where and how the person is affected.  He covers what you can do as a practitioner, what elements of treatment should be referred out, and how Qigong can benefit your patients going forward.

Shen and the Jungian Human Psyche

Montakab parallels the Jungian human psyche with Chinese concepts of “Shen”.  Consciousness, Ego, the Personal Unconscious and Collective Unconscious all relate to different spirits in Chinese medicine.  For example, consciousness relates to Shen and the personal unconscious relates to the Hun and the Po.  

Shen is the sum of the 5 spirits or “Zhi” that reside in the Zang organ system.  The Shen is a global manifestation of the interactions of the organs and the person in the world.  So, one cannot look at PTSD as being solely related to one organ system or symptom but must be viewed as related to the whole expression of the person.

Where is trauma stored in the body?

Another component in treatment is to understand how we organize our defense mechanisms against external aggressions, in terms of TCM and the layers of the body.  A person can be impacted at different levels and thus require different treatment strategies.  Physical and emotional trauma can affect the Wei Qi, the Sinew Channels, the Luo-connecting vessels, the 8-extra vessels and the Divergent Channels.

Qi, Blood, and Jing

Wei Qi can be affected by repeated or major trauma, causing it to concentrate and stagnate in an area of the body.  The Luo-Connecting vessels are responsible for how we relate to the outside world and our emotional response to the world, so it is also possible for aggressions to be stored in the Yang Luo of the corresponding channel system.  

On a deeper level, trauma can affect the Jing, including the 8 Extraordinary Vessels and the Divergent Channels.  To treat Jing level trauma, one has to examine the 8 Extraordinary channels and their different manifestations of trauma.    

So in order to treat PTSD, we must identify where the retained energy is and release it from where it is trapped. 

To learn more

If you are interested in learning how to understand, identify and implement practical treatment strategies, check out our course on the Management of Physical and Psychological Trauma with Acupuncture by Dr. Hamid Montakab MD.

Dr. Montakab covers:

  1. The management of PTSD
  2. The psyche in Western and Chinese Medicine, as well as the parallels between the Jungian human psyche and the Chinese concepts of Shen.
  3. How the brain functions according to TCM.
  4. The concepts, manifestations and treatment of Gui (Ghosts)
  5. How we organize our defense mechanisms against external aggressions
  6. Acupuncture protocols and treatment strategies

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