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Insomnia and anxiety - weak spleen and what else. Help!


Hello - I am desperately seeking help for my unbearable insomnia. I finally found a fairly good acupunture doctor and his diagnosis shows that my spleen is very very weak. This then ties into other issues - affects the liver, my skin turns yellow - eg if I eat dairy products I often (but, not always) have an immediate reaction where I have to go pee a lot. Same happens if I eat tofu. Wheat is also bothersome - and overall I have to watch my carbs because I am super sensitive to sugar. However, having said all this - I have to be extremely strict with my diet but, even when I am the insomnia does not go away and often I have major panic attacks. At night when I am trying to fall asleep I end up getting heart palpitations (don't have them during the day) and if I've eaten incorrectly major panic attack. I have a LOT of puffiness under my eyes and huge dark circles (if I avoid the wheat and dairy they diminish somewhat). I will work on my diete and continue my yoga - but, I know I need to complement with some herbal forumula till I get well. Can someone please advise what formulas would work best fo rme - I've been looking at some formulas but, cannot figure out which one is best. So, to encapsulate my issues:

Emotional symptoms

Severe panic attacks



Sensitve to many things - dairy, wheat, sugar - make me pee a lot

Weak Spleen energy - this is where I'm having a hard time - spleen feeds the blood, affects the liver - but, what's brining on the palpitations and panic attack? what formula would be best suited

Physical symptoms

very dark circles and puffiness

often congested

heart palpitations - at night

panic attack - sometime during the day, really bad at night

Thyroid is low (hypothyroid)

I would appreciate any insight anyone n the board can provide. Many, many thanks


With this range of conditions you should -never- rely on anyone except a local practitioner to diagnose and help you with herbs. When you say " I finally found a fairly good acupunture doctor " - then just do what they say and you will be fine.

If your acupuncturist does not do herbal medicine - then either don&#39t do herbal medicine and see how well you do with acupuncture or find another practitioner who does acupuncture and herbal medicine.

But trying to self-prescribe Chinese herbal medicine, even with help online, is not the way to go.


Hi Chad - thanks so much for the quick reply!! My practitioner actually prescribed An Shen Bu Xian Pian - but, I&#39m not sure how good this particular formula is for the anxiety - its supposed to calm down the system but, I haven&#39t seen that. So wanted to see if there is a similar formula but, with more oomph to it. My Dr. told me that my Spleen is very, very weak - probably due to the extreme stress that I was under in my twenties but, looks like body is still hanging on to it - and have to get rid of it physically with diet and exercise and of course supplementation. I am always amazed how sensitive and perceptive the physical body is - as if it has a mind of its own. The body react in a very, very strong way - example if I eat dairy - I have to go pee right away continuously - and I noticed it makes my skin yellow - I did some research and it turns up if your spleen is weak your blood isn&#39t getting fed - and when I eat dairy (or used to) - I noticed if I take a LOT of turmeric and an iron pill - the yellowing of the skin would diminish. I guessf foods like dairy and wheat creates too much dampness and affects the liver etc. Is there a formula that is particular to removing the dampness from the body and strenghtening the spleen, liver and help heal the adrenals too? I think thats where I&#39m headed.

Many, many thanks again.


That is a fine formula. And it&#39s important to keep in mind a couple things about Chinese Medicine - (more deeply discussed in "What Does Acupuncture Treat?"). One of these is Chinese Medicine is largely a process of healing your body in stages as opposed to a direct treatment for a specific conditions. Along with that is Chinese Medicine is not a condition related modality (i.e. it&#39s not for specific conditions) - it is a pattern related modality (i.e. it&#39s for relationships of systems and tendencies in the body towards imbalance). Because of this there is a order in how you untangle people with complicated health problems and it&#39s not by chasing after symptoms. Trust your practitioner and give it at least 3 months initially and see how you are doing. Generally speaking your range of conditions, while complicated, is well within the realm of treatability in Chinese Medicine - so you should do fine if you are patient and involved with the process.


There is no magic pill to treat your constellation of symptoms, whether it be a pharmaceutical or a Chinese Herbal formula. Your assessment that your body is holding onto stress is probably accurate. The best way I know to re-educate your body to let go of that set point is with Qigong and/or Donna Eden&#39s Energy Medicine. You can find links on youtube to Donna and her students demonstrating many of her energy exercises. She has a book "Energy Medicine", written with her husband, David Feinstein, that includes descriptions of a variety of useful exercises. There are also DVD&#39s available from

As Chad points out, the philosophy of CHinese Medicine is based on relationships. When the stress response is always "on" it drains Spleen energy. A major relationship involving stress is between Triple Warmer and Spleen. Helping to upgrade Triple Warmer so that it is less reactive frees more energy to bring Spleen back into balance. When Triple Warmer and Spleen are balanced, they keep the immune system functioning well.

There are several ways you can participate in augmenting your acupuncture treatments. One is by being mindful of your thinking, since worried thoughts deplete spleen and set the stress reaction off. Another is to learn a meditation to help your body relax. The third is to develop an Energy Medicine or Qigong practice to support your vitality in a holistic manner.

I wish you well-being and calm.


Ahh many thanks!! Funny coincidence - last night only I was looking into Qigong medidations:) Chad and Judith - thank you so much for your feedback and it all makes complete sense. My symptoms are so vast and varied - and stress affects every single part of your being and the big problem is that there is no one concrete steady symptom - I used to go to the most AMAZING - and I mean a genius acupunctuncture Dr - Dr. Jian Wu in Washington DC - he passed away a few years ago. But, his readings would be soooo precise - he would be able to tellme not only that my glandular system is out of balance - but, exactly where - if its the thyroid, or estrogen. This was more than 10 years ago and just by taking my pulse he was able to assess that my adrenal glands are burned out - we worked together to restore them. The good thing about him was that everytime I would go to him - he would take my pulse and in cases of stress - sometimes your liver is more messed up, sometimes the kidneys need more work - he would focus on that. I&#39m having a hard time finding a Dr. in my area with that refined acumen - do you have any recommendations who practice in the Washington DC area that encompasses Maryland and Virginia? In the interim - I am diligently following a spleen friendly diet and its helping!!! I&#39m also doing the Kundalini yoga as that works on the same meridians as acupuncture (its just a LOT of work where you physically have to do all the poses vs. lying on a table and dr. sticking you with needles). But will keep at it!!


At the risk of repeating myself I encourage you to get Donna Eden&#39s book "Energy Medicine" or search for an energy medicine practitioner In your area. Go and go to "practitioners". He/she can gude you through the essential exercises that will be the most helpful to begin with. It is much more specific and prescriptive than simply doing Kundalini Yoga. Not to say a yoga practice wouldn&#39t be helpful. But your first priority is to get yourself out of this state of chronic stress.

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