In another random parallel – or maybe not so random – Western biomedical researchers are looking at over-thinking, ruminating, obsessive thoughts, call it what you will, and how these thought processes are represented in people with depression.
In Chinese medicine, we see over-thinking or ruminating on an idea as a disharmony in the Spleen, the organ that rules thinking insomuch as it is responsible for the digestion and assimilation of information (much the same way it digests and assimilates food). These Spleen disharmonies often present with symptoms of depression – fatigue, unclear or confused thinking, apathy, loss of appetite, and so on. There will likely be digestive complaints if this is a true Spleen-type of depression.
The Spleen is associated with the Earth element in Chinese medicine. We often see the image of the farmer tilling her fields. A normal amount of tilling – working over a thought in one’s mind – is necessary to have productive crops. However, when the tilling – over-thinking, ruminating, obsessing – gets out of hand, the soil cannot support plant life. There is a depression of growth and fertility.
Chinese medicine, especially with the help of herbal medicine, is really quite good at treating mild to moderate depression. There are a number of mental health professionals who are more than willing to take an integrated approach to the treatment of depression.