The Seven Emotions
  Liver - Anger

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Adrian Cox
13 April 2022
Relations to Qi and Blood

In this post, we will have a quick look at the Liver, Qi and Blood, the season spring,

the Spirit aspect called Hun and their connection with anger. 

When you visit an Eastern medicine practitioner, it is common place to be asked questions to find out more about you and your emotions. This can be when you are doing your intake form and during a session. You might be asked questions like:

  • When stressed, how does that show?

  • How is 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 on during a session and also from the information you have provided.

In the Eastern practices, taking your emotions into consideration is vital in relation 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 see their connection with the whole of the individual.

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Here are the seven emotions with their corresponding 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, fear and fright. 

Experiencing each of the seven emotions 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 repetitively inappropriate, irrational or out of proportion to an external trigger or the internal dialog, this could be harmful.

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For heart I have written mania, in the classics it is elation or joy.

Mania can be used to show the extreme side of joy.

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, meeting the Yin of earth - which stimulates growth. This harmony of movement and interaction is happening above, below, around and within us. Spring is the assertive period of generating growth. It is said that the Qi of spring enters and communicates with the Liver. Similar characteristics associated to 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.

This is the kind of relationship they have, the Qi pulls the Blood and the Blood nourishes the Qi.

Qi has the Yang quality of moving forward, dynamic, transforming, creating possibilities.

Blood has the Yin qualities of being soft, nourishing and having a long memory, connected to the past.

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 others functions. Which then could cause a problem along a meridian or somewhere in your body, and this can affect your emotions. 

"The state of the Blood shapes the spirit,
The movement of the Qi defines the Blood"

- Andrew Nugent-Head

If the emotion 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 that is why you are angry. There could be another reason why the anger persists to the point of being pathogenic.

A function of the Liver, from the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, is to store Blood and for that Blood to soften the 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, you may see signs and symptoms like Migraines, dizziness, tinnitus and outbursts of anger. This is called Liver Yang rising or Liver Fire.

Damage can also happen, if you have extreme prolonged frustration, fatigue or stress. This could cause Liver Qi stagnation, which may develop signs and symptoms like bloating, menstrual pain, irregular periods, belching and depression.

If the Liver Qi stagnation has been there for a long time, it can create a build up which then could invade the Spleen and disturb its function. This is the connection with the digestive system, using the Five Element theory.

Hun (Non Corporeal Soul)

Each of the five elements has a Spirit, for the Liver it is named Hun (Non-Corporeal Soul). If you look at anger and irritability, they are a response to external triggers. This is seen as having a heightened sense to the environment and other people.

When the Liver and the Hun are well connected, the Hun harnesses that ability of a heightened sense and uses it as a virtue like being benevolent, sensing and caring about someone else's feelings, 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. Like leaving a legacy. 

But when there is a disconnect with the Hun, you can become timid or habitually angry, unkind to others and unkind to self,  you could 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 excess good, can have the reverse effect.

Foods that help to support Liver health.

  • Vegetables

  • Bitter foods: chicory, broccoli, pork, liver, pistachios, Amaranth.

  • Dark leafy greens

  • Lemons

  • Flower teas: dandelion, rose, marigold etc

Foods that DO NOT support Liver health.

  • Red meat

  • Avocados

  • cheese and dairy

  • Raw and cold

  • fried food

  • Stimulants: caffeine, alcohol, drugs

         and dare I say, CHOCOLATE.

Activities that support Liver health.

  • Exercise, but avoid strenuous exercise

  • Light stretches: Yoga, Qi Gong, Shiatsu

  • Altering the stresses in your life.

  • Meditation

  • The Liver and your body benefit from being in accord with the season. 

As we go through the seven emotions, you will see that we are a combination of all of them.

We are constantly fluctuating, as we respond to our social environment and tussling with internal dialogs.

Zen Shiatsu helps to support and regulate your system. While working with the physical, it is helping the psychological, by working on the flow, it is helping to restore. 

Zen Shiatsu has an holistic approach.

These suggestions are not a replacement for any medication, and an experienced practitioner should always be consulted before taking any decisions. 

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