Spring is right around the corner!
In my neck of the woods we haven’t seen much snow this winter, but it’s been drab and damp, and typically overcast.
I’m excited by the lengthening of the days, more sun, and this time of renewal and evolution.
This is the season of the Wood Element in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The organs of Wood are liver and gallbladder.
From a TCM viewpoint, the liver is all about the free flow of qi, or energy. When the liver is out of balance, qi is stagnant, or stuck, and doesn’t move the way it should.
The last thing we want to be in the spring is stagnant. It’s a time of opening, new growth, and all sorts of transformation. Stagnation is just going to slow us down, and not allow us to take full advantage of this time of letting go and starting fresh.
So what causes the liver energy to stagnate?
First, emotion. The liver is energetically damaged by excessive anger, and also by the non-expression of anger and emotion in general. If you tend to bottle up your emotions, and have a tough time getting over it when you’re pissed off, you probably have some liver energy imbalance.
Also, toxic stuff. I won’t expound too much on this, y’all know what I’m talking about: pesticides, preservatives, and other unfortunate chemicals in our environment.
How do we offset this and strengthen the energy of our livers year-round, not just in the spring?
Herbs are a great choice for building up the liver.
The concept of liver detoxing is a bit of a misnomer. It gives the impression herbs will cause your liver to do a chemical “dump” or something of the sort.
In reality, liver detox herbs are actually strengthening and supportive of the liver, so it can do it’s job effectively. They do not cause an obvious response, like an intestinal detox will. Liver herbs should be gentle, and taken with the idea that they are building the qi of your liver, slowly, over time, so it can do it’s job even more wonderfully then it already does.
There are many options for liver formulas. If you’d like to take one, choose it from your favorite herb company, and whenever possible get a tincture instead of capsules or tablets.
The emotional piece of liver qi imbalance is also super important to address.
Anger is both uncomfortable to feel and uncomfortable to express. It’s a double whammy that is eventually very hard on the liver qi.
I have two suggestions for affirmations, depending on your experience.
If you are experiencing anger with regularity, and it feels irrational and excessive to you, and you’re unaware of it’s source, try this:
I want to learn the source of this anger, and release it from it’s origin.
If you absolutely know what is pissing you off, and you’re (for whatever reason) not making the change in your life to shift the experience, try this:
I am only creating torment for myself by feeling this anger.
My two favorite acupressure points for liver qi flow are as follows:
Liver 3: This is in the “web” between the big and second toes. It’s generally a bit tender, so you’ll know when you’ve got it.
Large Intestine 4: This is known the world over as the “headache” point, but actually has many applications. It’s found on the top of the hand, in the web between the thumb and the index finger, nearer the index finger side.
These two points in combination are called “The 4 Gates” and open up all the qi of the body, as well as supporting the liver. You’ll also notice they are in basically the same spot, one on the hand, and the other on the foot.
It’s best to hold both the right and left sides of the same point at the same time, with a medium amount of pressure, for approximately 60 seconds at a time; then do the same with the second point.
Enjoy your spring! I hope your transformations are full of ease and grace.
(This post does not constitute medical advice, folks. These are suggestions to support maintenance and prevention. Please see your medical provider for any symptom concerns you may have. )