Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Emotions and Chinese medicine: a very interesting matter

The Seven Emotions

The seven basic emotions related to organ function are anger, joy, worry, pensiveness, sadness, fear, and shock (fright). Although the mind/body connection has been acknowledged only relatively recently in Western medicine, the interaction of emotions with the physical body is an essential aspect of traditional Chinese medicine.

Each organ has a corresponding emotion; imbalance of this emotion can affect the organ's function. For example, prolonged anger can lead to an imbalance in the liver. At the same time, liver imbalances can produce symptoms of anger, often leading to a self-perpetuating cycle.

In discussing the emotional aspect of the disease process, it is important to remember that it is normal to experience the full range of emotions. It is only when a particular emotion is experienced over a prolonged period or with particular intensity that it becomes a source of imbalance.


Anger is associated with the liver. By its nature, anger causes qi to rise, leading to a red face and red eyes,headaches, and dizziness. This matches the pattern of liver fire rising. Anger can also cause liver qi to "attack the spleen," producing lack of appetite, indigestion, and diarrhea (often experienced by those people who argue at the dinner table or eat while driving).

In a more long-term view, suppressed anger or frustration often causes liver qi to become stagnant; this might result in depression or menstrual disorders. It is interesting to note that people who take herbs to release stagnant liver qi often experience bouts of anger as the stagnation is relieved. The anger passes as the condition clears. Similarly, anger and irritability are often the determining factor in diagnosing liver qi stagnation. Many people are relieved to know their rage has a physiologic basis. It is essential to avoid drinking coffee when treating anger-related liver disorders, as coffee heats the liver and greatly intensifies the condition.


The emotion of joy is connected with the heart. A disorder related to joy may sound perplexing, since most people want as much joy in their life as possible. The disorders from this emotion are not caused by happiness; rather, the imbalance comes from too much excitement or stimulation, or sudden good news that comes as a shock to the system.

When evaluating stress levels, psychologists look at all sources of stress, both positive and negative. Clearly the death of a spouse or a job loss is a significant source of stress. However, a marriage or job promotion, while a happy occasion, is also a source of stress. A person who is constantly on the go, partying, and living a life of excess can eventually develop heart imbalances with palpitations, anxiety, andinsomnia. A person with heart imbalances may also exhibit emotional symptoms, since the heart is the seat of the spirit (shen). A person with extreme disturbances of heart shen might be seen chattering happily to himself with outbursts of laughter.


A very common emotion in our stress-filled society, worry can deplete the energy of the spleen. This can cause digestive disturbances and eventually lead to chronic fatigue: A weakened spleen cannot efficiently turn food into qi, and the lungs are unable to extract qi from air efficiently. A person who worries too much "carries the weight of the world on her shoulders," a good description of how a person feels when her weak spleen qi leads to dampness. Treatment would include moxa and herbs that strengthen the spleen, allowing a person the energy to deal with life's problems instead of dwelling on them.


Too much thinking or obsessing about a topic can also deplete the spleen, causing a stagnation of its qi. A person with this condition may exhibit such symptoms as poor appetite, forgetting to eat, and bloating after eating. In time, the person may develop a pale complexion from a deficiency of spleen qi. This can eventually affect the heart, causing the person to dream about the same subjects at night. Students are often affected by this imbalance; the standard treatment is use of herbs that tonify heart blood and spleen qi.


Sadness or grief affects the lungs, producing fatigue, shortness of breath, crying, or depression. Treatment for this condition involves acupuncture to points along the lung and kidney meridians. Often, herbal formulas are used that tonify the qi or yin of the lungs.


The emotion of fear is related to the kidneys. This relationship can readily be seen when extreme fear causes a person to urinate uncontrollably. In children, this can also manifest as bed-wetting, which psychologists have linked to insecurity and anxiety. Long-term anxiety due to worrying about the future can deplete the kidneys of yin, yang, and qi, eventually leading to chronic weakness. Treatment involves tonifying the kidneys with yin or yang tonics, depending on the particular symptoms.


Shock is especially debilitating to the kidneys and heart. The "fight or flight" reaction causes an excessive release of adrenaline from the adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys. This causes the heart to respond with palpitations, anxiety, and insomnia. Chronic stress from shock can be very debilitating to the entire system, causing a wide range of problems. Severe shock can have a long-term effect on the heart shen, as is evident in victims of post-traumatic stress syndrome. Treatment involves psychotherapy, herbs that calm the spirit and nourish the heart and kidneys, and regular acupuncture treatments.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Report of the activities held on May 22nd, 2014 at KDM

Report of the workshop held on May 22nd, 2014


Participants: 14 kids from the Yellow class


Trainers: Nancy, Sotar, Sara, Ulie, Mara, Benedetta


What we needed:


Board game (Sotar)
Certificates (Nancy)
Guitar (Sara)
9 scarves to close the eyes of the kids (Sotar)



1) Emoticons

5 min


Kids were restless in the beginning. Many said they were sad that Sara is leaving. They were putting the last hand on Sara's present. 


2) Songs

"The little green frog" song:


"Mh, mh, said the little green frog one day

Mh, mh, said the little green frog,

Mh me, said the little green frog one day

And the frogs went mh mh aaaah.


But we, all frogs go: LA LE La LE LA


but we all frogs go: la le la le la

we dont go mh mh aaaah!"


- "Dihina dan malu malu" song (self-conscious feelings song)

"dihina dan malu-malu  ragù-ragù yakin  ragù-ragù yakin

dihina dan malu-malu ragù-ragù yakin segan bingung

diper-malukan kikuk disalakhan puas yakin spesial puas yakin spesial

diper-malukan kikuk disalakhan puas yakin spesial puas yakin"


(Meaning: "humiliated and inhibited, hesitant, confident

humiliated and inhibited, hesitant, reticent, confused

dis-honored, awkward, blamed, satisfied, confident, special

dis-honored, awkward, blamed, satisfied, confident)


- Cara kamu song 

"Cara kamu, berpikir,

mengubah, apa yang

kamu rasakan dan lakukan

kamu rasakan dan lakukan"

(Meaning: the way you think changes the way you feel and do)

5 min



3) Mouse and cat game

5 min


One of the most appreciated games. Kids enjoyed it a lot. Only they got a bit annoyed with M who didn't want to stop running.

We had to set the rule in order to change the role of the mouse after max two minutes, linking to somebody. They also had to be the mouse (tikus) at least once.


4. Blind man game.

Kids were divided in couples. 1 child put a blindfold on the other; subsequently, he or she guided the partner through the room; furthermore, he or she let the blindfolded mate touch whatever he/she wanted. Then they exchanged roles.


The guides walked fast, they also didn't check if the blindfolded partner could manage to proceed. They were not very serious.


Question: what do you feel when you're blindfolded?


Ar: It's not a nice feeling not to be able to see
De: Can't see the world or other people
Iit reminds her of Rawinala (home for blind/multiple handicapped people)
F: not comfortable, can't see people
J: feels scared
TCan’t see the beautiful things
Sy: not used to walk in the dark
N: doesn't like it, feels too dependent on someone else


Question: what does it feel to be a guide?


R: likes it
De and T: Like to be a friend of blind people, like to help
J: likes to tease
R: reminds him of Rawinala; helped guide one of the blind kids


QuestionWhat do you like to touch?


Ar: confusing, doesn't know what he's touching
I: touched something she thought was a table, but when she felt hair, she realized it was Mara


5) Game: circle of spreading emotions

(Emotions are normally contagious)


1 - pass a smile

2 - pass an angry face


5 min


Sy was the last in the circle to repeat the emotion, but he wasn't able to do anything but smiling. Everybody looked at him. He looked very uncomfortable and he went outside.


6) Name as many emotions as you can

(See if their vocabulary has grown over these two months)

5 min


galau, murung, kesal, sedih, ragu ragu, gembira, malu, tergila-gila, marah, spesial, puas, dicinta, tersakiti, dipermalukan, patah hati, bingung, kehilangan, disalahkan, yakin, ditinggalkan, sengsara, dibebaskan, kaget, jijik, kecewa, sakit hati, lelah, lemas


Upset, depressed, upset, sad, hesitant, happy, shy, crazy, angry, specials, satisfied, be loved, hurt, humiliated, heartbroken, confused, lost, blame, sure, abandoned, miserable, released, shocked, disgusted, disappointed, hurt, tired, weak


Sara counted 34 different emotions.

The improvement since March is huge, not only because they are mentioning a bigger number of emotions but also because they are much more accurate as well as refined in the emotions they mention.



7) We sit in a circle and talk about the workshops


Which activity did you like most?
What do you think has been more useful for you?
What would you like to work about in the future?

15 min


RM: when they had to sit on the balloon. It felt like jelly
I: liked the drama games, especially with Indy
N: liked the singing
J and T: the violin music. T would like to learn how to play
F: the musica song
Ar: the angry session games and sitting on the balloon
Sy: drawing
S: failure and anger sessions
Di: ball games
Fa: parachute games
A: Bogor session
De: everything




Ar: anger session. The newspaper exercises taught him how to express anger in a different way. The balloon game taught him not to be scared
I: drama; learned to express feelings
N: the newspaper games to express anger
S: failure session; don't be afraid and try again (she now wishes to try again a cooking class)
J: anger session and newspaper game
F: drama games
I: respect all emotions and respect the friend's emotions



Ar: a session about failure
F: drama games
J: parachute game
S: games with recycled objects, like newspaper games
M: games with music
X: she understands better others emotions.


They wanted all the guests to come back (Indy, Therese, Elisabetta etc)




9) Board-game on emotions (made by Iolanda) 

20 min


Kids loved the game. They tried hard to answer the questions. 


10) Certificates delivery

15 min 


11) Songs

Every morning song







5 min

N: 1. angry, 2. sad
Sy: 1. tired, 2. sad
Fa: 1. very happy, sad. 2. sad
S: 1. sad, angry. 2. tired, sad
I: 1. sad, 2. tired, sad
De: 1. very happy. 2. very happy, sad, happy
M: 1. tired, very happy, happy. 2. tired, very happy, scared, happy
Ar: 1. very happy, sad, happy. 2. tired, very happy, sad
Di: 1. angry. 2. very happy, sad
A: 1. sad. 2. sad
R: 1. sad. 2. sad
T: 1. tired, sad, scared, shy, angry, happy. 2. sad, scared, angry


Nancy wisely suggested to give a workshop on "saying goodbye" in the future. 



The "Emotional chamaleon" board game is finally ready!

May 22nd, 2014

Playing for the first time with the Emotional Chamaleon game, made by Iolanda, with the contribution of Sotar and Omi, for the street children of KDM.

Through the game the kids can enjoy, laugh and learn about themselves and their emotions.