Loving your Liver

Love-Your-LiverThe premise behind Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine is that we have energy in our body called “Qi”. TCM believes that every organ has its own Qi Energy. The organ/qi that is associated with the spring is the Liver.

Since spring is a good time for rejuvenation and change, it is a good time to think about cleansing the Liver. In TCM, the Liver Qi is responsible for making sure that all the different kind of Qi energies flow through the body smoothly and evenly (think of streets and highways without a traffic jam). It keeps us flowing smoothly. If it does not flow smoothly, the qi energy can get stagnant. Headaches, PMS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome 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.

Stretching – The Liver oversees the tendons and the Liver stores blood when we are resting. Maintaining agile muscles and tendons by stretching and movement keeps the flow of qi and blood flowing smoothly.

Diet – The color associated with the Liver is Green. Green is also symbolic of springtime. Eating a lot of fresh leafy greens including dandelion root, sprouts and wheatgrass will support proper Liver function. 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 tea, 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.

Emotions – the emotion associated with the Liver is Anger. Anger has many toxic effects on our body – especially the Liver. When anger is expressed it dissipates and goes away. Unexpressed feelings turn in to anger. When we express ourselves and communicate, we reduce the risk of our stored emotions turning into illness and disease.

Acupuncture – Spring is a time of expansion, stretching and movement. Like a tree with many branches – taking care of our body – both the branches and the root – is imperative for good health and wellness. Acupuncture and TCM treats both our branches and our root – creating a sense of balance and well being.

By: Julie Silver, MSW, Dipl. Ac.

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