Liver in Traditional Chinese Medicine

May 22, 2017 | By More

By Steve Ryu, R.TCMP, R.Ac

The Liver is the organ that is responsible for ensuring that energy, or Qi (pronounced “chee”), flows smoothly throughout the body – in all organs and in all directions. The function of the Liver of regulating Qi, is extremely important to both our physical and emotional health.

So, what can cause a disruption in the free flow of Liver energy? Stress, anger, resentment and repressed frustrations in life will do it every time. These emotions, when experienced for a prolonged period of time, will cause the Liver Qi to stagnate. Diet and lifestyle, in particular the excessive consumption of spicy or greasy foods and the use of alcohol and nicotine, will contribute to or aggravate a Liver imbalance by generating heat in the body.

When the Liver energy is stuck, physically, we experience a feeling of distension in the chest, which the body attempts to relieve by sighing. Often there is discomfort just below the ribcage along the path of the Liver meridian. Because of the close relationship of the Liver and Gallbladder, neck and shoulder tension are common along the path of the Gallbladder meridian. Because a branch of the Liver meridian ascends to the top of the head, vertex headaches are common.

Emotionally, we feel irritable and depressed or have pronounced mood swings when the Liver Qi is stuck.

Menstrual irregularities almost always have a Liver imbalance element due to the Liver’s function of storing Blood. Irregular periods, painful periods, breast tenderness and PMS are common symptoms.

Acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, nausea and abdominal distention may be due to a Liver imbalance affecting the Stomach or Spleen.

Tendon problems may be due to the Liver failing to properly nourish them. Many of my patients with carpal tunnel and plantar fasciitis have other Liver issues. Stiff neck and muscle cramps may be related to the Liver. Dry eyes, floaters, poor night vision or other eye issues may be related to the function of the Liver in Chinese medicine. The Liver, in Chinese medicine has a relationship with wind. Clinical symptoms of Wind are tremors, tics, vertigo and in extreme cases, stroke.

Stress reduction is crucial to keeping the Liver in balance. Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to relax the body and move the Liver Qi to maintain health.

Category: Articles, Health & Natural Therapies

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