The Liver and its relationship to Qi and Blood
In this post, we will have a look at the Liver, Qi, and Blood, the season of spring,
the Spirit aspect called Hun and their connection with anger.
When you visit an Eastern medical practitioner, it is common to be asked questions to find out more about you and your emotions. This can happen when you are filling out your intake form or during a session. You might be asked questions like:
When stressed, how does that show?
How's your motivation?
Do you get irritable easily and frequently?
Have you lost someone close to you?
How old were you when that happened?
Some of these questions would come from what the practitioner has picked up during a session and also from the information you have provided.
In Eastern practises, taking your emotions into consideration is vital because there could be a connection to your health. Excessive levels of emotion can contribute to illness, or illness can have an impact on your emotions. This is why it is relevant to review the whole person.
Whenever one treats a patient's disease, one must investigate his below, take into account the movement in his vessels, observe his mind, and relate all this to his disease. - Nei Jing - Chapter 11
The seven emotions
with related Yin organ
It is normal to see Lung and Kidney written with two emotions each. This is because there is a subtle but distinct difference between grief and sadness and between fear and fright.
We all move in and out of the seven emotions; this is absolutely normal; they are a natural part of our being. None of them are pathogenic (harmful) in themselves. But if the emotional response is inappropriate, irrational, or out of proportion to an external trigger or the internal dialogue, this could be harmful.
Now that it is spring, we are experiencing the wonderful potential of nature. Seeing the ubiquitous Qi of heaven and earth, encouraging what has been waiting to flourish.
The Yang of heaven, the giver of life, engaging with the Yin of earth, which stimulates growth.
This harmony of movement and interaction is happening above, below, around, and within us.
Spring is an assertive period for generating growth. It is said that the Qi of spring enters and communicates with the Liver. The characteristics associated with spring are attributed to the Liver, such as assertiveness, action, and growth (moving forward with tasks).
You will often hear that the smooth flow of Qi and Blood through your body and the meridians is important. That is because Qi and Blood have a symbiotic relationship. They have a similar connection to each other, like Yin and Yang; a balance is necessary for good health.
The relationship between Qi and Blood is like this: the Qi pulls the Blood, and the Blood nourishes the Qi.
Qi has the Yang quality of moving forward, being dynamic, transforming, and creating possibilities.
Blood has the Yin qualities of being soft, nourishing, and having a long memory.
Qi can be stagnant, deficient, or in excess. Blood can be stagnant or deficient. If Qi and Blood are in any of those states, it can impair each other's functions. Which then could cause a problem along a meridian or somewhere in your body.
The state of the Blood shapes the spirit, The movement of the Qi defines the Blood". - Andrew Nugent-Head
If the emotion of anger happens suddenly, frequently, and excessively, it is said that it will harm the Liver. It does not necessarily follow that the Liver is damaged, which is why you are angry. There could be another reason why the anger or irritability persists to the point of being pathogenic.
A function of the Liver, from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is to store Blood and for that Blood to soften Qi. This way, the Yang nature of Qi isn't too tense as it moves through your system. If Liver Blood is deficient and loses its ability to soften the Qi, you may see signs and symptoms like migraines, dizziness, tinnitus, and outbursts of anger. This is called Liver Yang rising.
Damage can also happen if you have prolonged frustration, fatigue, or stress. This could cause Liver Qi stagnation, which may develop signs and symptoms like bloating, belching, menstrual pain, and irregular periods.
If the Liver Qi stagnation has been there for a long time, it can create a buildup that could invade the Spleen and disturb the Spleen's function. This is the connection with the digestive system, using the Five Element Theory: Wood (Liver) controlling Earth (Spleen).
Hun (Non Corporeal Soul)
Each of the five elements has a Spirit (Shen); for the Liver, it is named Hun (Non-Corporeal Soul).
If you look at anger and irritability, they are responses to external triggers. This is seen as having a heightened sense of the environment and other people.
When the Liver and the Hun are well connected, the Hun harnesses that ability of heightened sense and uses it as a virtue, like being benevolent, sensing and caring about someone else's feelings, and doing good deeds. The Hun is not attached to the physical body, and it is about the things you do that last beyond your mortal form, as in leaving a legacy.
But when there is a disconnect with the Hun, you can become habitually angry, unkind to others and unkind to yourself, timid, and lack self-esteem and self-worth.
If the Hun is unbalanced, you could experience jealousy, envy, impatience, and restlessness.
Here are some suggestions for supporting the Liver: Please remember everything in moderation, even if something that is good for you if taken in excess, it can have a negative outcome.
Foods For Liver health
Bitter foods: chicory, broccoli, pork, liver, pistachios, amaranth.
Dark leafy greens
Flower teas: dandelion, rose, marigold, etc.
Not Good For Liver health
Red meat (too often)
Avocados (if you're overweight or fatty liver)
Dairy (if overweight or fatty liver)
Raw and cold food
Stimulants: caffeine, alcohol, drugs, and, dare I say....CHOCOLATE
Activities For Liver health
Exercise, but avoid strenuous exercise.
Light stretches: Yoga, Qi Gong, Shiatsu
Changing the stresses in your life
The Liver and your body benefit from being in accord with the season.
As you go through the seven emotions, you will see that we are a combination of all of them in different degrees. There is a constant interplay physically and emotionally of Yin and Yang, Qi and Blood, as we respond to our social environment, and tussle with internal dialogues.
Zen Shiatsu helps to support
and regulate your system.
While working with the physical,
It is helping the psycho-emotional
While working on the flow,
It is helping to restore
Zen Shiatsu has a holistic approach.
To maintaining your wellbeing.
These suggestions are not a replacement for any medication.
For further information please contact me.