Heart Qi Stagnation

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With Heart Qi Stagnation, the Heart is unable to do its job effectively. The Heart sets the overall direction of our life and suffers when strong emotions get to it.


Qi is ruled by the Lungs and enabled to flow by the Liver. Strong emotions interfere with the Lungs, the Liver and when are both affected, the Heart takes the strain.

Emotions like grief and loss, anxiety, worry, disappointment and sorrow, mainly affect the Lungs (and the Spleen).

Emotions such as frustration and anger, and the inability to achieve results or success, affect the Liver.


Given these origins, this has the following symptoms:

  • Stuffiness in the chest. Stuffiness is felt by some as distension, or fullness or oppression. (Lung)
  • Depression: low spirits (Lung and Liver)
  • Lump in the throat (Liver)
  • Breathlessness: shortness of breath (Lungs and Liver)
  • Need to take a large breath (Lungs)
  • Yawning (Lungs and Liver)
  • Sighing (Lungs)
  • Palpitations (Heart)
  • Appetite reduced or non-existent (Heart)
  • Insomnia: sleep is very restless, not deep (Heart)
  • Cold arms and legs, including hands (Heart)
  • Weakness in arms and legs (Heart)
  • Lips darker than usual: a little purple (Heart)
  • Pallor (Heart)
  • Tongue: a little purple on the sides opposite the chest area
  • Pulse: empty but 'overflows' slightly in the Heart pulse position

Possible Consequences

Although the symptoms above are not pleasant, they aren't life threatening. But, because in Chinese medicine Qi is said to lead the Blood, the trouble is that wherever Qi stagnates, Blood may stagnate, or reach a state of Blood Stasis.

This is not good! Heart Blood Stasis is a syndrome very similar to many serious circulatory disturbances in the Western medicine.

Treatment of Heart Qi Stagnation

In the absence of treatment by a competent practitioner of Chinese medicine, see your Doctor for a check-up.

However, just as relevant is to face up to the emotional issues at the root of this syndrome. For instance, hiding strong emotions may be a cause (both the tendency to 'bottle' them, and the strength of the emotions). That does not mean that they should be allowed to burst forth! Nearly always, however, you will find talking to someone helpful.

Meantime make sure you eat food containing plenty of Omega-3 oils, and a broad range of green and purple vegetables.

Return from Heart Qi Stagnation to Insomnia.

Click to get to Syndromes.

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