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Haven't been able to do zazen for over a month! Help!


After reviewing this site, I think I have the following conditions: Lung Dryness, Stomach Fire, and HT Yang Deficiency. I think the HT Yang Deficiency is dominant, however, originating from constant anxiousness I have experienced since my early high school days (I am now 22). I try to regularly practice Zen meditation, but unfortunately have been unable to sit for the past month, owing to severe constriction in my middle back and chest and what seems to be a burning fire in my epigastrium. Concentrating on my lower tanden nor simply trying to breathe deeply is able to disperse this tied-up energy. I really don't know what to do. I am stuck. Anyone have recommendations for acupoints? I plan to see an experienced acupuncturist very soon.




Hello Jake,

It is best at this stage to not diagnose or treat yourself. After you see your acupuncturist, they will most likely be able to recommend points for acupressure or other self treatment techniques that you can do on your own. These will be based on their diagnosis which is likely to be more accurate than anything I can offer having not seen you.

On your own SP 6 is a reasonable point for acupressure which will help to calm the anxiety somewhat, LV 3 is another basic consideration.

From the tam healing system your problems are related to a blockage of the vagus nerve, among others. The vagus nerve is often involved in anxiety, particularly when the heart rhythm is effected, and is involved with the epigastric concerns as well. You can try to treat some of this on your own with points such as ST 10 and ST 12.

With regards to continuing your mediation, or trying to. I wouldn't. Not until you see an acupuncturist and start to work through these issues. In the meantime, I would focus on walking or more physical activities like jogging depending on your overall health. If you must try to meditate until you experience some relief from acupuncture treatments, try standing meditation. This will force more of the energy to settle into the lower body.


Thank you Chad for your response. I will try some of the points until I get to an acupuncturist. Your recommendation about exercise resonates with me; I got on the exercise bike today for the first time in a while and noticed that I lost some of the bad energy out of my head and stomach.

Thanks again.



Hello Jake,

Sorry to hear about your troubles. Chad is the expert here, so I would defer to him, but here's my 2 cents.
As much as I like alt. med., seeing a western MD might be a good idea, particularly for your digestive trouble. Western medicine can often be used together with alt. med., but let each practitioner that you see know about what you are getting from the others. In addition to seeing an acupuncturist, you may want to see a Chinese herbalist, or ideally someone who does both.
Check in with your practitioners about dietary changes. Given the hot digestive problems that you mentioned, I would suggest avoiding spicy, fried, fatty, processed, and chemicalized foods. Coffee, smoking, drinking, and drugs are also good to avoid. Chinese medicine generally recomends against ice cold foods or too much raw. Diet is a major element of Chinese medicine, and is praised by some classical texts as being more important than herbs.
Meditation may be good for you, but maybe not in the short term if it is agravating your symptoms. Your meditation teacher may be able to suggest modifications in your practice that might help, such as lying down instead of sitting. You could also be trying to breath too deeply. If you are practicing on your own, I would recommend having a teacher check out your form first.
There is a last piece of advice that I would give, at risk of seeming too explicit. Generally, for men with chronic illness in particular, Chinese medicine recommends not ejaculating frequently. According to the classical texts, ejaculation during the winter time is 100 times worse than in any other season.
I hope that this advice helps. You should probably take the advice of your practitioners before anything I say though.

Good luck.

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