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Managing Stressors for Health Cultivation: Blending East and West for Stress Management

While stress is an unavoidable aspect of life, successful management of stressors can help increase an individual’s resilience and decrease the damaging effects of stress. The integrative East-West medicine model of care recognizes that stress can offset balance in our systems. Integrative East-West medicine emphasizes the identification of underlying causes, and helps to develop a personalized stress management plan, and incorporates treatment strategies rooted in both Chinese and Western medicine.

In This Article:

I. Introduction

II. East-West Approach to Stress

III. Integrative East-West Treatments


In today’s world, deadlines, conflict, economic uncertainties, pollution and other stressors are a common part of everyday life. While manageable amounts of stress can be beneficial, often motivating us to push ourselves to reach challenging goals, constant and ongoing stress can take a toll on a person's wellbeing and manifest in a complex web of illnesses. The repercussions of excessive and long-lasting stress can result in heart failure and other life-threatening conditions. It is important to develop a strong arsenal of coping methods for stress management and incorporate stress-reducing activities into our everyday routine.

East-West Approach to Stress

From the perspective of integrative East-West medicine, stressors include commonly known psychosocial elements as well as factors such as pathogens, environmental changes, and other metabolic stressors that induce direct or indirect damage to the body and the mind. The following are key components of the East-West model of care that are applied to stress management:


Recognizing stress can disrupt balance: Excessive stressors deplete the body's reserve and resulting in imbalance and the disruption of the normal flow of energy and blood in the body. Thus, stress can leave the body vulnerable, leading to a chain-reaction of negative repercussions.

Identifying root causes of stress: In addition to dealing with the negative consequences of stress, the East-West strategy emphasizes the importance of uncovering the root cause of the problem in order to develop coping strategies, and prevent the recurrence of complications.

Developing a personalized treatment plan: There is no single strategy that will be effective for all patients. Each individual faces a unique set of stressors, has different resilience, and is suited for distinctive coping techniques. Mind-body exercises could work well for one person while chemical based methods may be best for another. The objective is to mobilize the body's own unique abilities to re-regulate and replete the system's reserve.

Integrative East-West Treatments

  • Personalized evaluation of exiting medication and dietary supplements
  • Diet and nutritional plans suited to each individual’s unique constitution
  • Mind-body exercises such as Tai Chi, Chi Gong or medication
  • Acupuncture and acupressure
  • Myofascial release and trigger point injection