In Chinese philosophy, everything has meaning. Some patients will sheepishly ask, “For the past 6 years, I’ve woken up at 3am. What does that mean? Or other patients will say, “I have eczema, asthma, and digestive issues. Does that make sense?” It’s almost as if I’m a walking commercial for acupuncture. Instead of saying, “There’s an app for that” I say, “There’s a point for that.” Because, really, waking up at 3am every morning means that there may be a dysfunction of your Liver channel or Liver organ system.
Further, the reason for the trifecta of eczema, asthma, and digestion complaints could likely be due to a Lung and Large Intestine Organ system problem. The Chinese have basically figured out that everything is connected and why. They don’t have an answer for everything. For instance, if you break your wrist, please go to the ER. But, Chinese medicine has an answer for most non-emergent things that we deal with daily.
With the advent of a new year, we have opportunities to improve our daily lives and decrease those irritating conditions that we thought we would have to live with. The Year 2014 is considered the Year of the Green Wood Horse as per the Chinese zodiac calendar. The Chinese or lunar calendar begins on January 31st, 2014, and ends on February 18th, 2015. Wood is related to trees, plant life, and the color green, so it is also called the Year of the Green Wood Horse. In Chinese culture, the Horse embodies several characteristics.
The horse symbolizes:
Nobility Class Speed Perseverance Strength Peace Blessings Power Traveling Competition Victory According to traditional Chinese astrology, the Year of the Horse is the time to consider business expansion, as the year will bring good luck and good fortune to those who make the effort to improve themselves and their situations. The belief is that the Horse energy continually encourages people to perform with excellence in all aspects of their lives. The spirit of the Horse will inspire people to be more bright, energetic, intellectual, and vibrant individuals.
In health, the Green Wood Horse year calls attention to the Liver and Gallbladder. The functions of the Liver are as follows:
Liver Ensures Smooth Flow of Qi Stores the Blood Controls The Sinews Manifests in the Nails Opens into the Eyes Houses the Hun (Ethereal Soul) It is common to find Stagnation of Liver Qi in the clinic. Our busy and often chaotic lives tend to irritate the sensitive Liver, which wants to flow and spread Qi in the body smoothly. The Liver ensures the smooth flow of Qi throughout the body, in all directions. Any activity that depends on Qi relies on the Liver’s “flowing and spreading.” If one has Liver Qi Stagnation or Liver and Gallbladder dysfunction, you may experience more headaches, flank pain, leg or foot cramps or spasms, migraines, frustration, irritability, alternating constipation or diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or the sensation of a lump in the throat.
Acupressure to Move the Liver and Gallbladder Qi
I have listed a few important acupuncture points that you can massage at home to help your Liver Qi flow smoothly. I prefer to use my thumb or a gua sha tool. I place the blunt end of the tool or place my thumb on the point and move my finger or the tool in tiny, circular motions. My intention is to bring Qi deep into the point, almost to the bone-level.
Liver 3: Tai Chong/Great Surge
The best acupressure point to stimulate to promote healthy blood flow through this network of arteries is Liver 3. LR 3 is located in the soft, fleshy area that is between your big and second toes – run your finger up this region toward your ankle until just before you can’t go any further because you have run into bones.
Balances all Liver pathologies.
Headaches, dizziness, canker sores.
Eye issues – blurred vision, red, swollen, painful eyes.
Menstrual issues – dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, PMS, breast tenderness.
Genital issues – pain/swelling, hernia, impotence, seminal emission.
Subcostal tension, chest/flank pain, swellings in the axillary region.
Nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea with undigested food.
Calming point – anger, irritability, insomnia, and anxiety.
GB 34: Yang Ling Quan/Yang Mound Spring
In a depression anterior and inferior to the head of the fibula, on the lateral side of the lower leg.
Useful for treating soft tissue anywhere in the body: contracture, cramping, pain, spasm, weakness, numbness, and paralysis. Sciatica and issues with the low back, hip, and/or lower limbs, knees. All disorders of the lateral regions of the body. Cholecystitis, hepatitis, jaundice, nausea, vomiting, bitter taste in mouth, gallstones. Alternating chills/fevers, costal pain, and bitter taste in mouth. Nausea, vomiting, indigestion. Sciatic nerve issues, leg muscle issues (cramps, fatigue), gallstones.
In addition to these points, eating properly increases the health of the Liver and Gall bladder. Make sure your diet consists of warming foods, such as meat and grains. Other foods that make the Liver and Gall Bladder happy are:
Cruciferous veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts Garlic and onions Avocados Beets Leafy greens Turmeric Walnuts Lemons Avoid excessively greasy and hot foods can cause Liver Heat or Fire. Examples of hot foods are lamb, beef, curry, and other spices. Examples of damp or greasy foods are deep fried food, and alcohol.
If you try your best to eat right for your Liver and Gall Bladder and remember the acupressure points if you have any LV/GB pathologies, then you will be ready and healthy for the favorite season of the Liver and Gall Bladder: SPRING!