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Negative emotions & psychological disturbance after treatment


I would be most grateful for any advice which you can give. I have had 7/8 acupuncture treatments over tha last 4 months (primarily Five Element) for a chronic illness which cannot be treated by Western medicine (only pain medication & rest). Although my physical symptoms have improved (which I sought treatment for in the first place), a whole array of negative emotions and psychological problems have emerged. It seems to have brought back memories of a traumatic period which I went through many years ago. The depression is of the worst kind and the symptoms of an eating disorder have reappeared. My practitioner says that it is better out than in and to try and be strong. Things have been unbearable at times.

Can this happen with treatment? Or does this mean that it doesn't suit me? I am confused as I have had acupuncture in the past and it has always been a positive experience.

There has now been a long gap in my treatment and I am considering whether it is worth me continuing even though it was definitely helping with my physical pain etc.

Any advice which you are able to give will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you


The short answer to your question is that yes this does happen with acupuncture and your practitioner is correct (at least in theory) that it is better to work these experiences and emotions out rather than having them still stored on the inside of your consciousness. If that means you have acupuncture and therapy (or other techniques) at the same time, then that may be what you need.

Acupuncture generally will treat the entire system - body/mind/chemistry/structural, etc. Underlying psychological issues/experiences will, of course, have an impact on a persons health whether or not they are conscious of this effect. For that reason processing them, hopefully in a fairly quick process, is often beneficial to achieve a strong success in the observable physical symptoms. That said, there is more that can go into this than the style of acupuncture. The practitioner, the place they practice, etc. can all bring out some of these issues through patterns stored in your consciousness. And, for better or for worse, by electing to have five element acupuncture vs. other styles of acupuncture you are receiving the style of treatment that is more than likely to draw out these types of reactions (a general statement, but accurate nonetheless).


It is important to not be disheartened in the process of getting free of all the emotions that can be tied into the physical. I know it is easier said than done,yet there are so many modalities of healing that support the process. You can do for some of them yourself with minimal research or risk taking like the Flower Essences, or Tong Ren or you can enter into a theraputic "counselor relationship. If this processing is new to you, a support group for depression or eating disorders allows for an exchange of information with other folks that have similiar experiences. In our culture, the feelings when facing the darkness or fear within ourselves isn't widely talked about, but we all have methods which allow us to ride the wave vs being drowned. My experience is acupuncture helps the wave to move quickly and I only have to stay on top it until my feet touch the shore. i have had to develop "techniques" , so to say to not be pulled under water.

the issue is not the acupuncture treatment. it may be that acupuncture made the undelying issues surface. I pray you can find methods to support you in the specific emotional issues that arise.


Thank you very much for your replies which have helped to clarify what may have been happening to me thoughout my treatments. I have not had any further acupuncture treatments as it would have been too high a risk to take with regards to my emotional / psychological health.

Some equilibrium has returned but so have all the physical symptoms which were causing problems initially. Do you think that having acupuncture treatment based on Traditional Chinese methods (as opposed to Five Element) would help with my physical symptoms without disturbing the emotional side? Your advice will be much appreciated. Thank you.


While it is possible that seeing a non five element practitioner may limit some of the emotional issues that arise while still treating the physical, I feel you may be overlooking the point I am trying to make. The main point is that you cannot heal just the physical nor just the emotional - in Chinese Medicine they are one in the same. It may be very good that these issues are coming to the forefront and it may be that they will rise and become less of an issue as your entire system gets treated. While five element is slightly more geared towards using the root psycho-emotional imbalance to treat all conditions that arise from it - acupuncture in general does this as well so switching styles may not be all that different of an experience. This is particularly so if your physical symptoms are truly just a front for the emotional issues driving behind them. So I would hate for you to not receive treatments that are obviously helping you and drawing some of these issues out of you, than to just treat physical symptoms (to the degree that that is even possible) only to have the same physical issues come up time and time again when you cease treatment. As you have discontinued treatment, however, the best option is for you to be treated so I would find a TCM style practitioner and see them for awhile and see what you experience. Sometimes just a different approach can make all the difference and still lead to good results.


It is true that physical and emotional issues are often connected. Trauma that is buried can cause issues on many levels. In dealing with your issues apparently the trauma has resurfaced because it must be connected with the physical issues currently going on.

Have you tried Toyo Hari accupunture? For me, I am very sensitive to changes in energy, and I have found Toyo Hari a very good compromise.

Even if you are not willing to slog through the emotional pain and decide not to be treated, at some point you probably do need to deal with this trauma so that you don't have long term issues physically not to mention emotionally.

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