Imagine if this was your day....a headache before you went to bed, then you woke up at 2 am and never did quite get back to sleep. At seven when the alarm went off you thought about calling in sick but there is just too much to do and then irritated you realized you ran out of breakfast cereal and had a pop tart instead. Your eyes can't focus on the report you are preparing. Last night's head ache is coming back and you wish that you had had time for a better lunch.....It is not a good day for you or your liver.
What would your liver say, if it had a voice, a say in how your life flows, the amount of energy you have, how well you sleep and how happy you are? In fact, your liver is talking all the time, communicating how it feels and is functioning. Here is a brief Liverese to English translation guide, followed by some things you can do to bridge the communication gap:
Low energy in the afternoon : Low energy often means the liver is not doing it job. Normally the liver regulates many substances important in maintaining your body's normal state, stores nutrients including blood sugars and clears out waste products.
Easy bruising or bleeding gums - The liver is partially responsible for maintaining a good level of clotting factors.
Anemia and other vitamin deficiencies - The liver also stores fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K), folate, vitamin B 12 , and minerals such as copper and iron.
Dark circles under the eyes and yellowish skin color - The liver is telling you it is not clearing toxins and the bilirubin from old red blood cells is turning the skin a yellowish hue.
Swollen ankles - Decreased amounts of liver produced protein, albumin may lead to swelling and water retention.
Difficulty digesting fats - Bile produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder is a greenish fluid need for fat digestion.
High cholesterol - Cholesterol, needed for cell membrane structure, hormone balance and proper nerve conduction, is produced or processed in the liver. If the production or processing is off then cholesterol levels rise.
A healthy liver keeps it all in balanced.
Hot flashes and other hormonal disturbances - Yup, liver again as it plays an important role in hormonal modification and endocrine balance.
Chest distention, sighing, nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, diarrhea, depression, moodiness, PMS, breast tenderness, painful and/or irregular menstruation - Liver talking again.
Headaches - The liver removes harmful substances and irritants from the blood, when it doesn't they can irritate the lining of the brain.
Hang over - Alcohol and sugar are primarily metabolized by the liver, and accumulation of its products can lead to cell injury and liver problems.
Gallbladder pain / gallstones - The gallbladder is considered in Traditional Chinese Medicine to be the pair to the liver and as you know when one partner is not doing his job the relationship suffers.
Trouble sleeping between 1am and 3am - These are considered the peak hours for the liver in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Difficulty between 1 am and 3 am is often ascribed to an unhappy liver.
Problems with the eyes, tendons, tears (dry eyes), nails - All associated with liver's acupuncture meridian which flows along the inner leg on both sides.
Anger management issues - In Traditional Chinese Medicine the liver, considered a wood element is associated with the emotion anger.
So, what is there to do to ensure everyone is happier?
If you think of vision / eyesight, liver / gallbladder health and anger forming a triangle, three connected points, each influencing the other for good or for bad. Imagine one point of the triangle is your vision, your ability to see the colors of a rainbow, recognize the face of your best friend, or read an inspirational book like, Pebbles in the Pond, Transforming the World One Person at a Time.
Another point is the liver and the gallbladder, they are linked in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The liver meridian associated with the color green, runs along the inner leg. The gallbladder meridian runs along the outer edge of the leg and up into the area over the ears. Rubbing the head as in a scalp massage can stimulate the liver and gallbladder points. Pressure on liver and gallbladder points along the leg is also thought to soothe the liver.
Due to the interaction between the three points of this triangle, improving the eyes with exercises, eating more essential fatty acids, such as olive oil, avocado, salmon or through acupuncture or manual therapy will also have a beneficial effect on anger management and liver / gallbladder health.
You can go in another door and work on improving the liver and gallbladder by eating organic foods, and maintain a diet low in processed sugars or alcohol. There are many herbs and detoxifying foods that can help the liver and gallbladder function more efficiently. Improving liver and gallbladder health typically also improves vision and anger management skills. Going in the anger door of the triangle will also affect the other two points.
Another way to increase internal communication is to rest quietly with one hand over the liver (right side of the lower rib cage) and the other hand on the area you want to connect (ie) the heart to improve blood flow and cholesterol or the spleen (left side of lower rib cage) to improve the way the liver talks to the immune system or the head to improve headache symptoms.
By talking to a psychologist or life coach, doing things you love and enjoy, watching one of your favorite movies, like my favorite, The Last Holiday or writing in a journal can each improve your anger management skills. As your level of uncontrollable anger or rage decreases, your vision and liver / gallbladder health may also improve. By improving one of the three you can improve the other two.
One of my favorite Japanese sayings is, "There are many ways to the top of Mount Fuji." Once you understand relationships in your body or in your life you can find the access or doorway into improving the overall system. For some people doing talk therapy or coaching for anger issues can be the easiest, fastest way to improve their life. for someone else eliminating processed sugar from their diet might be the best way to improve vision and reactivity to the world.
Originally Published at Giving Voice to Your Story with Dorit Sasson http://www.givingavoicetothevoicelessbook.com/home/
Camp, M. E. (2011). "Religion and spirituality in psychiatric practice." Curr Opin Psychiatry 24(6): 507-513.
The role of religion and spirituality in psychiatric practice has long been a topic of discussion among mental health providers, patients, and faith communities. This review examines the recent findings in the literature that shape current dialogues on this topic and provide implications for patient care. An increasing body of evidence correlates certain aspects of religion/spirituality with mental and physical health outcomes, and researchers continue to explore how and when psychiatrists should intervene in matters of faith. As this topic is inherently multidisciplinary, many encourage approaches that incorporate neurobiology, faith, and psychology for enhanced understanding of patient experience. Many also stress the importance of effective interpersonal communication between providers and patients, using a person-centered framework. In all of these dialogues, implications for patient care are highlighted. The proper role of religion and spirituality in psychiatry continues as a matter of debate. However, current publications attempt to clarify issues that may lead to more evidence-based and empathic care in this area.
Kimberly Burnham, PhD (Integrative Medicine)
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