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Grief needs to be supported with Acupuncture – a personal account (Part 1)

Updated: Feb 23


Boston terrier
Jesse the Boston

On 17th Jan, I lost my companion, my best friend, my soul dog - Jesse. She has been an integral part of my life for over 13 years. Starting when she was only 8 weeks old. She was and will always be the best present I ever got for myself.


Jesse was the first one who would greet me at the door when I came home, the first face I saw in the morning for many years. She could always put a smile on my face no matter what and she was the one who motivated me to get up each morning.


I made the painful decision on Monday, it gave me two days to say goodbye to her but it also kicked started the grieving process.

Grief in Chinese Medicine is governed by the Metal element; and the organs affiliated with Metal are the Lungs and Large Intestine. You can read my blog about the Metal element here


Making that decision kickstarted almost immediately both the physical and emotional symptoms of Grief. I came down with a cold that Monday evening. My chest felt super tight and heavy; taking in a breath was difficult. I still feel the tightness and weight in my chest that seems to weigh me down. The Lungs in Chinese Medicine are responsible for governing our Wei or Defensive Qi. This is the barrier between ourselves and the world. If we have good Wei Qi then our immune system is strong and we get less coughs and colds. Grief damages the Lung qi/ energy, hence it isn’t surprising I got a cold.


My sense of taste changed; things I normally love became unpalatable - coffee and alcohol being the most noticeable changes. The shock of Grief affected my ability to take in nourishment. The Lungs are responsible for taking in the new and letting go of the old, the constant cycle of life.

I started having problems remembering simple things and my thoughts were cloudy.  I have been making lots of mistakes in past few weeks; little but noticeable things like forgetting to take the car keys, or patient’s names or some of my daily tasks. My verbal skills are also affected, I am forgetting words, easily losing my train of thought. The Lungs are associated with clear thinking and communication.


The Large Intestine is the other Organ linked to the Metal element. It is about letting go of what doesn’t serve us, physically, mentally and emotionally.  We cannot accept anything new or be open to new experiences unless we clear the clutter. But it needs to be processed first before it reaches the Large Intestine.


The Lungs are also associated with attachment, so if you have a hard time letting go of people, objects, experiences or spend a lot of time reliving the past, this can point to a deficiency of the Lungs.  I sit amongst her possessions - coats, sweaters, her food bowl I find myself clinging to them, unable to give them away. Her ashes came home 2 weeks ago, and it rests in her bed which still sits besides my bed.


Dealing with Grief is a journey as I was reminded a few days ago. Ups and downs, fits and starts, a few steps forward and a lot backward. I keep reminding myself that grief is a natural, healthy emotion and it is an integral part of being human. Unpleasant as it may be to feel, it is important that I let myself feel it, make my peace with it and let it go.

It isn’t about letting go of the memory of Jesse but it is the grief itself that must be expressed so that I can let it go.


However, the pain can be overwhelming the desire to run away from it strong, to shield and protect myself. This is where having frequent Acupuncture treatments have been helping. Acupuncture doesn’t take away the emotions but it makes it much more manageable. Almost as if it is being broken down into smaller chunks. Allowing me the space to sit with the pain and loss to fully experience it without running away. To relieve the memories, to let the tears fall, to acknowledge what I have lost but also the love she left behind.









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