You run around from here to there, from home, to work, to the shops, cooking, cleaning, friends, family, pets, kids, birthdays, weddings… who on Earth has time to deal with their emotions? Well… I’ll let you in on a little secret: You do!

At The Pagoda Tree, we talk a lot about stress management, and how important it is to prevent emotional overload (which then affects your adrenals, your hormones, and your overall state of health!). Now, that doesn’t mean you won’t experience negative emotions throughout your life, but too many of us think that the best way to deal with those emotions is to stuff them into a dark crevasse and go about our busy lives. But those emotions have to go somewhere, and if we don’t deal with them, they can become stuck in our bodies, and impact us in ways most of us would never expect.

Acupuncture is fantastic at treating physical manifestations of our emotions. But what can you do between treatments, when you are in the moment and need to shake off that strangling feeling of intensity?

First, try to identify where in your body you are experiencing these emotional sensations. Maybe it’s a tingling sensation in your legs? A tightness in the chest or throat? Dizziness, headaches, or trouble focusing your eyes? Perhaps a bit of nausea? Once you can pinpoint which location is most affected, you can implement a simple technique to combat these unsettling feelings.

We will discuss five of the most typical emotional-somatic experiences people have, and a few quick tricks to work through them and get on with your day!

1. Headaches, dizziness, vision issues

Using the palm side of your index fingers, massage behind the ears with an up-and-down motion, while taking deep breaths. Imagine with each inhale that your breath is pulling the pain/dizziness/blurriness down the front of your body, deep into your belly, and with each exhale, imagine that it travels down your legs and out your toes. It may be helpful to visualize it as pearls, balls of light, or drops of water.

2. Tightness in the throat

Talk it out, write it down, or find a song that speaks to you and sing along. Have a conversation with your pet, if you have to. Put those feelings into words and let it all out. Don’t worry if you feel like you aren’t making sense or you are repeating yourself. If you find that you experience this sensation regularly, then journaling, speaking, or singing might be something you want to incorporate into your daily routine. Shower karaoke anyone? Yes, please!

3.  Tightness in the chest

Self-massage works well for this. Begin by using your fingertips to gently massage down your sternum (the center of your chest). You may find a few points that are very tender. Linger on these points for a few moments, then continue downwards until you reach mid-belly. Do three passes of massage in this pattern while taking full deep breaths. Essential oils of grapefruit, mint, or eucalyptus are good for opening this area.


Again, implementing self-massage can be very helpful here. With a flat palm, rub gently in a clock-wise motion starting on the lower belly near the right hip, up to just under the right-side ribs, across to just under the left side ribs, down to the left lower belly, and then back to where you started. Continue this motion until you start to feel movement in your belly. You may also begin to feel your core relaxing along with a gentle descending sensation. Deep belly breaths will intensify the effectiveness of this massage technique. This self-massage technique is also helpful for moving digestion along, so for those who feel their digestions is “slow,” this is a great way to keep things moving!

5. Tingling or numbness

Using the flat palm-side of your fingers and keep the wrist loose, gently tap up and down the affected area. For example, if the tingling or numbness is along the sides of the legs, begin at the hip and gently tap-tap-tap down the side of your leg to the knee and then back up to the hip. You could also go all the way down to the ankle, if it feels appropriate. This technique can be applied to nearly any area of the body, from the shoulder to the fingers, down the backs of the legs, the sides of the body, the bottom of the feet, or even on the scalp! Adding in verbal affirmations while you are tapping such as, “I deserve good health,” “I am grateful for…” or “I have control over my emotional responses,” will turbo-boost this technique. Even if you are not experiencing tingling or numbness, tapping is a great way to wake up the body and mind in the morning, or to work out mid-day stress and frustration- and it takes just seconds!

So there you have it. Stick those tools in your toolbelt and feel free to practice them at any time. Amaze your friends with your incredible insight on how to deal with stress-related physical discomfort, and then use them daily to supplement your acupuncture treatments. If none of these techniques resonate with you- fear not! We have many ways to help you deal with stress and all of the various cheeky ways it can manifest in the body. Come see us at The Pagoda Tree and we will work with you to make you feel your very best!



Sarah is a much-loved TCM practitioner here at The Pagoda Tree. To book a consultation with her, contact reception.