Stress and the Liver: Balance is Everything!
Stress seems to be one of those inescapable parts of life that we deal with on a daily basis. In Chinese Medicine we know that, stress directly affects the flow of Qi or energy within the body and can result in poor blood circulation. Excessive and prolonged stress may actually trigger severe health problems.
The most common signs of stress include:
- Sleep disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Poor or excessive appetite
- Decrease in sexual ability
- Desire for sweets
Long-term stress can also lead to problems with weight loss or weight gain.
Many things can cause stress, for example shoulder tension can be caused by continuous repetition, a lack of exercise, improper posture while working or sleeping, and emotional stress.
When this stress builds up, the flow of Qi in the liver is obstructed, the shoulder muscles tighten and become stiff and sore. This tension in the shoulders generally manifests as shoulder pain, neck pain and even headaches.
In TCM, the liver is where our emotions are regulated.
The liver is in the command center of the body, kind of like the Feng Shui Master of your internal system. So when the flow of Qi is interrupted here, emotional instabilities such as depression, frustration, anger, or mood swings may occur.
The liver belongs to the wood element and represents growth. It’s the only organ that regenerates itself and re-grows if chopped in half!
The wood element has qualities like that of a visionary and keeps an eye on decision-making and future projects. It takes vision and foresight to plan and decide, so makes sense that the eyes, are connected and related to the liver.
The liver is your pharmaceutical manufacturer of hormones, enzymes, clotting factors, immune molecules, and blood chemistry. Providing a healthy and toxin-free environment provides a space for abundant health in your liver and in your life!
TCM has been effective in relieving stress using three basic modalities:
- Acupuncture is one of the most effective treatments for stress. It helps by calming the Mind and relaxing the muscles.
- Herbal medicine treatments usually focus on restoring balance
- Massage therapy on the head and foot may help to enhance not only the liver, but the heart’s functions as well.
As the master strategist of circulating blood, the liver keeps track of the body’s moment to moment energy demands and releases nutrients that might be required.
Signals from the liver may dictate our food choices if we tune in and listen.
Research shows that the liver may take a proactive as well as reactive role in the control of appetite and food choice. Be conscious of what you are putting in your body. Try fixing a green smoothie or cook a cancer-busting green soup for a happy liver and life.
In Chinese medicine, a common belief is that when the liver is imbalanced then anger issues can come up. Often times, problems show up in the feet and ankles such as sores on the feet being a symptom of diabetes.
In your environment, check for balance! Is there too little or too much of wood-related shapes, colors, sounds or aromas?
Check the east sector of your home. This is the area where the liver resides. If there is extra metal or fire, such as a fireplace in the east, adding water to this sector can control the metal or fire – and help the wood energy that will feed and support your feet and/or liver.
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