Spring is the time of the liver in Chinese medicine. Just as the leaves and flowers are starting to bud on the trees, the liver is an organ of regeneration and movement. The liver is responsible for the smooth and free flow of energy in the body, filtering and storing the blood at night, and the emotion of anger. Its element is that of wood and just as a tree likes to stand tall and free, the energy of the liver and health of the vessels depend on the liver's ability to move freely. Emotions such as anger can prevent the optimal function of the liver.
When a person experiences anger the liver's focus on circulating energy becomes disturbed and the energy fails to move properly. This leads to symptoms such as irritability, mood swings, frequent sighing, rib pain, a bitter taste in the mouth, a lump in the throat, abdominal distention or pain, constipation or diarrhea, menstrual irregularities, pain or problems with tendons, blurry eyesight, ridges of the nails, sleep disturbances, and more.
To keep your liver happy, be sure to let yourself feel and process your emotions as you experience them. It's best not to dwell or become fixated on any one particular circumstance or situation. Acupuncture can help one process such emotions and herbs can help restore liver function and health. Do yourself a favor and take the time to remove your shoes, plant your feet firmly on the ground, and connect with the energy of spring.
As stated in the Yellow Emperors Inner Cannon, a classical Chinese medicine text, "Get up early in the morning, walk around in the courtyard, loosen your hair and relax your body. By doing so you will generate mental strength and act in harmony with the energy of spring, thus following the way of nourishing life. If you live contrary to this principle, you will harm your liver.'
In February, we not only celebrate the heart but we focus on creating and maintaining heart health. In Chinese medicine, the heart is the emperor of the body. Not only does it house the mind (also known as the shen), but it is arguably the source of health for the rest of the body.
We've all heard about how important it is to maintain the physical health of the heart but have you been informed how emotions create or devastate the physical aspects of heart health? On some level, you probably have some experience with this already... the sensation of heartbreak, the warmth and joy of love, or simply experiencing laughter. Remember how your body felt after experiencing these emotions?
If you've answered yes to any of these questions, than you know well how emotions correlate with the heart on a physical basis. The heart is the organ of joy and laughter. It influences speech, sleep, and governs how the blood flows through the body. Emotions such as excess joy, dull thinking, and somnolence are directly related to the health of the heart. In the Guanzi, a Daoist classical text, it is said that as along as the heart remains on a worthy path other orifices (there are 9 in Chinese medicine) will follow suit. However, if the heart becomes too weak or too abundant with over- emotion, the eyes (a way to measure the health of the mind/shen) will become dull and the ears will lose their sense of sound.
In other words, keep your heart healthy and the rest of the body will follow.
So what's the best way for you to take care of your heart, your emotions, and your physical self? Keep your heart open, warm, and soft. Empty it of negativity and of attachment. Fill your heart with the emptiness of love and the stillness of clarity. Or as the GuanZi states, "Do not race your heart like a horse, or you will exhaust its energy. Do not fly your heart like a bird, or you will injure its wings. Keep your heart empty-this is the art of the heart through which the orifices can be mastered."
Lastly, get yourself some acupuncture! Acupuncture can help you regulate the heart and all of it's functions by regulating your energy (qi) and blood. Treatments can help soothe a broken heart, a heart that fails to warm your hands and your feet, and a heart that has many dreams or hardly enough sleep.
To your heart and your health!
The information in this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace medical advice from your physician. If you have questions regarding your health, seek medical advice from your doctor.