Liver/Gallbladder According to Five Element Theory

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Liver is the organ responsible for the smooth flow of emotions as well as Qi and blood. It is the organ that is most affected by excess stress or emotions. The Liver’s partner organ is the Gallbladder.

  • The Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi and blood in your body. It controls the volume and smooth flow of blood in your vessels and also stores the blood.
  • The eyes are the sensory organ related to the Liver. If you have any eye issues, including blurry vision, red or dry eyes, itchy eyes, it may be a sign deep down that your Liver is not functioning smoothly.
  • The tendons are the tissue associated with the Liver. TCM says that strength comes from the tendons, not muscles. Be like the cat that is strong, agile, and flexible, not the cow, which has huge muscles but little real strength.
  • The taste that corresponds to and supports the Liver is sour. If you crave sour foods, that may be your Liver communicating that it needs an extra boost, so be sure to include high-quality vinegar and sweet and sour recipes in your diet.
  • Anger is the emotion associated with the Liver. If you are often irritable, get angry easily, have trouble unwinding from the day’s activities, have trouble reasoning or going with the flow and letting things go, you are experiencing a Liver function problem. Experiencing these emotions chronically or excessively can seriously unbalance the function of your Liver.

You can use these basic guidelines to begin to understand what organs may be asking for support. In the case of the Liver, if you constantly crave sour foods, or are under a great deal of stress and feel angered easily, then your Liver function needs support.  Use these ‘signs” to re-balance yourself.

Simple Tips for Everyday Liver Health.

  • Stay calm, especially during the spring. Don’t get caught up in spring’s intense new energies! Take things easy and go slow; take a nice long walk in the park or do other gentle exercises to relax your mind, body, and spirit. Let go of any stressful situations that you can, and if that’s not possible, use some of the stress-relieving tips below.
  • Using a hairbrush with rounded bristles, hit your legs up and down the insides of your thighs and calves, starting at the ankles, for about five minutes. This gently stimulates your Liver meridian, allowing your qi to flow more freely and relaxing your Liver.
  • Avoid alcohol! Because the Liver is responsible for metabolizing alcohol, drinking in moderation can go a long way towards preserving your Liver’s energy and giving it a break.
  • Engage in gentle exercise, such as swimming or walking, instead of hard and fast exercises which overwork or overstretch the tendons, causing them to eventually lose their flexibility, impacting the Liver function of being “flexible.”


Acupressure for Liver Health

Rub the acupressure point called “Taichong” (Liver 3) which stimulates a key point on the Liver channel. It may be sore, but this means you’re hitting all the right spots! You are unblocking your Liver Qi.

Try to rub this area every day. It’s located on top of your foot where the big toe bone meets the second toe bone (about an inch back from the skin between these toes). Using your thumb, press and massage this spot on both feet (the meridians are on both sides of your body). You can also rub with your thumb moving forward along the inside of the big toe.

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