Heal Dark Circles with Traditional Chinese Medicine

| June 16, 2010 | 0 Comments | 7,500 views

The following is meant to offer you a point of view on dark circles under the eyes different from the ones you may be accustomed to. While we acknowledge the merits of allopathic medicine and modern cosmetics, we shall now attempt to refer to the oft-occurring problem of dark circles under the eyes in light of the insights offered by traditional Chinese medicine. Becoming familiar with a knowledge and practice that have proven their relevance and efficiency for thousands of years may constitute a way of solving the dark circles problem or at the very least a method for controlling its effects.

Eyes in Chinese Medicine

Dark circles are a sign of imbalances in the body or the psyche.

As the saying goes, the eyes are "the windows of the soul" and as such mirror our physical health. A person’s eyes hide many secrets. Chinese medicine practitioners say that the eyes are related primarily to the energy of the liver ("liver manifests itself in the eye"). A poor functioning of the liver causes pain or tingling in the eyes.  When the liver is forced to make great efforts, the eyes redden, become surrounded by dark circles, or become overly sensitive to light. Emotions, stress, suffering and advanced age have a great impact on the proper functioning of the liver and thus may negatively impact the aspect, and more importantly, the proper functioning of the eyes.

They say the eyes of a healthy person can face any situation: blinding light, cold, wind or even slicing onions... Blinking is also, oftentimes, a sign of internal imbalance, usually also in the liver. Excessive consumption of sweets, fats, meat, and alcohol causes eye-fatigue and, as a result, weak eyesight.

Since the liver is closely connected to kidney energy, uch like wood depends on water, good eyesight depends on a good functioning of kidneys. For example, kidney disorders often cause bags under the eyes. Also, sexual excesses and lack of rest may lead to the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.

The weakening of kidney energy is accompanied by two or more of the following symptoms: back and knee pain, fatigue, frequent urination, menstrual disorders, infertility, ejaculation problems, impotence, hair-loss, premature gray hair, tinnitus, or hearing-loss.

Therefore, removing dark circles by way of cosmetic remedies, be they plant-based or not, constitutes merely a short-term, short-lived solution, which may only be useful in emergency situations.

Simple remedies

While this may seem disappointing at first, removal of dark circles under the eyes may be achieved, provided it is not hereditary, through the following methods:

- Checking and improving the health of the digestive system, of the liver and kidneys; even if you deem your fears to be a hypochondriac manifestation, do ask your doctor for a thorough investigation of your state;

- Should you experience a weakening of kidney energy, it would be well-advised to consult with a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner, or an alternative medicine practitioner.  Acupuncture and Chinese herbology may considerably improve your health and thus make the dark circles under your eyes disappear;

- Lead a life which includes a balanced regimen: consume less alcohol, less fatty food, rest well, relax, manage your stress and emotions, exercise, avoid (sexual) excesses (we will refer to that matter in more detail on another occasion).

- Self-massage: on the face and on the bones around the orbits, on the corner of your eyelids; also, lightly pinch the base of your nose, and the following acupuncture/acupressure points:

-  Ki3 (Kidney), UB 2 (Urinary Bladder), St. 2 and 3 (Stomach), Sp 6 and 9 (Spleen, LV3 (Liver);

Massage the bottom of your ear lobe, particularly the spot where earrings are commonly placed;

Every morning and every evening, massage your scalp vigorously (from the forehead to the neck) for 3 minutes - in a short time, besides helping the disappearance of dark circles under the eyes, this massage will help strengthen your hair, improve its appearance, and overall enhance your health and well-being. Try it, it does not cost anything and you owe it to yourself.

If you have red eyes and/or are irritable, massage vigorously, following the rhythm of your breath, the side of your thorax (between armpits and hips, from top to bottom); you will, in this way, allow your liver to function more smoothly;

When your eyes feel tired, do the following exercise: rub your hands together in front of your chest for 20 seconds and place your palms on your eyes. Maintain this position for two minutes, breathing normally. Look then towards a green space for a few minutes and relax.


You can also use essential oils that, either alone or in various mixtures (oil base required) may be applied around the eyes. Apply only around the eyes, not on the eyelids. Here we provide only a few recipes, which you may find in any handbook of aromatherapy. It is for you to try these recipes and decide which you prefer. Success depends on the overall health condition of each and on its maintenance (see above!).

Essential oils: Chamomile, Lavender, Carrot, Lemon, Roses, Palma Rosa (Cymbopogon Martini).

Base oils: Jojoba, Almond.

Oil additives: Borage seed oil (Borago officinalis), Lily of the Valley.

We must however mention that acupuncture and herbal remedies, whose recipes were adjusted to the specific constitutional change of our patients, have had spectacular results in our clinic’s practice.

By way of conclusion, dark circles and bags under the eyes are an indicator of overall health. No matter how many compresses you use, no matter how many hyaluronan injections, or injections with fat harvested from your own body (a particularly cruel method, in our opinion) you use, somewhere in the depths of your body and soul, "something" keeps crying out for help.

A holistic approach to the issue is preferable and we sincerely believe that the simplest way is to evaluate one’s own lifestyle (sleeping habits, diet, smoking and alcohol excess, mind and emotional imbalances, intimate issues, stress, exercise, etc.).

In addition, we know full well that Traditional Chinese Medicine can bring some order to the body and soul as a whole. Ask an acupuncturist or TCM practitioner for their opinion. You might be surprised by how many answers and solutions you will find, regarding your long-term health. This may well be more complicated than immediate and temporary solutions, but it is also more useful.  I am telling you this most sincerely, based on my own experience and that of my patients.

Good health!

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Category: Cosmetic Acupuncture

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