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Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective on Depression by D.J. Kim

The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective is about the body and mind connection. It focuses on five main organs in the diagnosis of symptoms. These organs (liver, heart, spleen, lung and kidney) are related to five different emotions. TCM can be used to help identify the type of depression and treat the individual appropriately.

The Spleen Type

The Spleen type typically encompasses digestive imbalances. However, in depressive episodes, the spleen types often have notable changes in their eating habits. For some, this means having no appetite and for others it means eating excessively. They often become unmotivated, listless, worry excessively and lose their sense of self.

The Liver Type

Liver types may have trouble relaxing and feel they always need to be in control which may make them demanding of themselves and others. They may exhibit many moods including anger, aggression, confidence and arrogance. Exercising and deep breathing can help for these types.

The Heart Type

The Heart type has quite different features as their depression most often has to do with relationships and heartbreak and they feel disillusioned by love. Their depression often is cyclical and tied into their relationships. They may experience chest pains, have nightmares and heart palpitations and shortness of breath. When their heart qi is in balance they tend to always be in a rush but when out of balance, they tend to be listless and unmotivated and miss the joys of life. Stress and relationship issues easily can make these types out of balance. Regular acupuncture treatments and other forms of stress relief are particularly good for this type.

The Lung Type

The Lung Type is susceptible to loss and grieving. They often repress their emotions causing respiratory issues such as asthma. Crying is a frequent symptom for lung types. They often regret events of the past and wish circumstances were different. They have trouble letting go of these past issues.

The Kidney Type

The Kidney Type is most impacted by genetics which means that the cause of the depression is more difficult to identify. They often become despondent and uncommunicative and not want to engage in life. Kidney types need to get sufficient rest.

By identifying the type, a TCM practitioner can more effectively help individuals with depression.

DJ Kim is a licensed acupuncturist and the owner of the Facial Acupuncture Spa. His office is located at 295 Route 304 in Bardonia. For more details call 519-5049 or visit

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