Times are tough right now. Tensions across the country are at an all time high. We read about it in the news and across social media, we talk about it with others! Most importantly, we feel it. We feel it physically (neck and shoulder tension, jaw tightness, upset stomach, insomnia) and we feel it emotionally (anger, irritability, short fused, judgmental and resentful)
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the theory of “Qi Energy”. Qi energy is what guides all functions in our body – breath, movement, reproduction, digestion are all functions of qi. In TCM, every organ has Qi energy and each organ’s qi oversees different functions of the body. Every organ also has a range of emotions associated with them. The emotions of anger and irritability are associated with the LIVER.
In TCM, the Liver Qi regulates the flow of qi throughout the whole body. There are over 20 kinds of qi that the Liver QI keeps flowing smoothly. Stress in our life tends to affect the Liver qi. When this happens, the Liver qi does not flow smoothly, and it gets stagnant. Headaches, PMS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Depression, Irritability are all thought to be associated with Liver Qi stagnation. There are many ways we can support the Liver and assist it in its job.
Acupuncture – Acupuncture’s main job is to balance the flow of qi energy throughout the body. As we know, stress and emotions has a way of throwing our body “out of balance”. We have so many patients visiting our clinic that will say “I feel so out of balance”. After an acupuncture session, they feel much more relaxed and “balanced”.
Diet – In TCM, every organ has a color associated with it. The color associated with the Liver is Green. Eating fresh leafy greens will support proper Liver function. This includes dandelion root, sprouts and wheatgrass. Avoid heavy foods (such as salty foods, greasy foods and meat) that tend to clog the liver and cause stagnation.
The taste associated with the Liver is sour. Eating sour foods is thought to promote good Liver function. Put lemon in your water, use vinegar and oil in your salads and taste a crunchy dill pickle.
Supplements – Milk Thistle, Dandelion root, Co-Enzyme Q-10 and Essential Fatty Acids (fish oils) all provide excellent support for the Liver. Reducing alcohol, caffeine and processed foods also supports proper liver function.
Stretching – In TCM, one of the functions of the Liver is to oversee the tendons and muscles. Maintaining agile muscles and tendons by stretching and movement keeps the flow of qi and blood flowing smoothly. If the muscles are nourished (through diet and blood), they can easily tear.
Emotions – Unexpressed emotions and can have a toxic effect on our body – especially the Liver. When anger is expressed it dissipates and goes away. When we express ourselves and communicate, we reduce the risk of our stored emotions turning into illness and disease.
As we know, it is never one thing that promotes healing in our body – it is a combination of things. One of the things I love most about Traditional Chinese Medicine is that we always look at the whole body. This approach to health and wellness is one in which n which prevention lays the foundation for a long healthy life!