Give your Liver some Love!
Image source: wholefoodsmagazine.com
Traditional Chinese physiology practices believe that a healthy Liver helps provide a smooth and soothing flow of energy through the entire body, in both the physical and mental senses. When the Liver is in balance, one generally feels very little stress or tension. Those with strong livers are calm and grounded. Related to the Wood Element of the 5 elements, it is most optimal to take extra care of your liver during the time of Spring.
The usual signs of imbalance and how does it happen:
The most obvious sign of liver imbalance is seen in emotional turmoil: irritability, anger, frustration, short temper, etc. In Chinese Medicine, this symptom is usually classified as "liver stagnation."
The Liver is also connected to the tendons and eye tissue of the body, since the acupuncture point of the liver intersects the passage of all three. Signs of eye puffiness or weak or blurry vision may also indicate a weakness in the liver.
And since the Liver is seen as the organ most responsible for collecting, purifying, then dispersing blood, if out of balance, can cause irregular distribution (menses off, or none at all), or let too many toxins spread throughout the body, showing up in acne, eczema, boils, etc.
Do we do it to ourselves?
Usually yes. Bear in mind, some of us are just born with naturally stronger (or weaker) livers. But in the end, we are the only ones responsible for what goes into our body.
Poor dietary choices like heavy greasy foods and too much alcohol can make the liver sluggish and overworked, making it hard to disperse free flowing Qi (energy) throughout the body.
Stress, always on the go, overworking (though it's hard to avoid these days) can bring your liver into distress. Your overachieving-self definitely needs a time-out if any imbalance symptoms arise.
4 Tips: How to restore the Liver and help bring back the smooth flow:
1. Lighter meals and sour foods.The best way to wake your body out of winter slumber is to bring brightness, lightness, and the freshness of spring in your daily meals. Focus on eliminating foods that are greasy and fatty, and opt for young and tender greens. And add a bit of sour to it! The Liver <3 Sour. Incorporate more of these for the next 6 weeks: lemon, pickles, sauerkraut, olives, yogurt, sour fruits, or anything vinegary!
2. Go to bed early. Each organ in the world of Chinese Medicine has a designated healing time. for the liver, the optimal hours are from 1am-3am. Which means, you should be in deep sleep well before then in order to ensure the Liver can kick into full-on repair mode.
3. Stop and smell the flowers, literally. Focus on clearing the mind and staying positive. If you happen to be in a bad mood and stay that way, this will great more Liver Qi stagnation! So don't worry, be happy!
The bottom line:
Liver health is super important in the world of TCM. By being aware of how your Liver can support your emotional health, give it a lil' lovin!
Challenge yourself to incorporate dietary changes to help you find a way to restore your body.
Once you notice it is overly sluggish or you feel easily irritable, know that this is likely your liver acting up, and take the necessary measures to bring it back to balance; even a 2-3 day plan of action can help!
My earliest memories of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) began in the living room of my childhood home, where my dad, Dr. Sun, held his first Acupuncture space. At a young age, I saw the myriad of herbs he would pull together for his patients. Our basement was an apothecary, our kitchen filled with my pieces from my Operator set, and the living room served patients. After immigrating to New York City from Shanghai in the 1970s, my parents, like many other immigrants of New York, left everything they ever knew, to build a brand new life from scratch.
As a first generation American-born-Chinese kid growing up in NYC, it was hard to understand why my parents didn't pack me Capri-suns and Fig Newtons in my lunchbox. Instead of letting me wear short-shorts and slurp Ralph's Italian ices all Summer long, I was taught to always drinking warm water no matter what, make sure my feet were never freezing cold, and to listen to my body and treat it well.
While having practiced Chinese Medicine for a lifetime with my dad, it wasn't until a few years ago that I truly started to feel like I wanted to step into this world and be a champion of this beautiful, complex, and deeply connected world of ancient healing and wisdom. My friends and family were all beginning to seek holistic and alternative forms of health, and they would come to me and I would send them to my dad.
My turning point came when I saw the wellness industry seem to explode with all sorts of Qi Balancing, Yin Boosting, He Shou Wu touting products for this-that-and the other. Appalled by the lack of direction consumers face today in navigating "what wellness products should I take and why", I felt the need to step up and bring clear and medically supported guidance in navigating the natural way to being well.
I am making a step towards building a lineage of Traditional Healers and continuing the legacy that my dad, Dr. Sun, has created. This is inspired by a life long learning of my own culture and heritage that came thousands of years before me. And together we will learn, appreciate, and share the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Welcome to a world of inspiration: here to teach you how to listen to your body, feed it what it needs, and give you the tools to understand how to rebalance the yin to your yang with everyday foods.
Modern Chinese Wellness, from my family to yours.
- Jennifer Sun