Wednesday-Saturday by Appointment

Blame it on the General!

By Liza Tangney, L.Ac.

From Frustration to Freedom – Unlock your potential with Acupuncture

Ever hear of Liver Qi Stagnation?  It might just be the reason you feel “stuck” and irritable.  Find out what it is and what you can do about it.

silhouette of a woman standing in sunset with arms outstetched freely

 Any of this sound familiar …

  • Tight or raised shoulders or a ‘lump or pit in the throat’  feeling?
  • Feelings of indecision, restlessness, or being stuck?
  • Inability to make clear decisions or have a clear vision for the future?
  • Impatience, irritability, anger, mood swings, emotional rigidity, depression?
  • Sigh frequently, feel stuffy under the ribs, fullness of the abdomen?
  • Cold hands and feet?
  • Menstrual and hormone related symptoms like PMS, irritability, breast tenderness, headaches, irregular cycles and flow, spotting, painful periods, mood swings, depression, and ovulation pain?

This Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) pattern impacts so many of us in the modern Western world.  It’s called Liver Qi Stagnation (LQS).  Our high stress, fast-paced schedules, processed food, and sedentary ways contribute to making LQS easy to slip into.  

A little background, in TCM theory each organ has biological and system functions, is associated with one of the five elements, a season, an emotion, and holds a role or personality.  The Liver is considered “Official General” whose role is to be in charge of smooth flow, coursing, dispersing and discharging Qi (think metabolic function) to all areas of the body. We are talking highways to all spaces and furthest places. 

cartoon image of liver with sword and sheild fighting pathogens

When things go well and run smoothly, the General is happy and everyone enjoys the fruits of efficient labor.  When things do not go well or there is a traffic jam, it backs up the free flow of Qi causing limited access to some areas and blocked pathways aka heavy traffic in other areas.  The pent-up energy created produces Heat, which really steams the General.  That’s where acupuncture can help calm the Liver Qi, free blocked areas, and restore smooth flow. Happy General Happy Life!

cartoon image of liver stressed shedding tears

Chronic emotional or physical stress, exposure to environmental toxins, overconsumption of alcohol or other substances, unbalanced  or lack of movement, and poor diet can engender more traffic jams  and back-ups in the body creating a vicious cycle. Because the Liver General is interfaced to so many areas, the interruption of good flow can create a wide range of symptoms across many systems.

If you feel like this pattern description is familiar, then come see me at Beacon Acupuncture to get some relief.  Things you can do in the meantime, follow a calming lifestyle with regular “early to bed” sleep patterns, walking for 15 mins twice a day, and a diet which avoids overly cold, rich, or congesting foods. 

Lifestyle Recommendations: Balance your 24-hour cycle

cartoon image of woman balancing time and resources

Spend Time Outdoors: connect to nature, take in sunlight, allow self to truly rest in moments of pause; set a timer if you need to

Add JOY to the 24 hour cycle: read for fun, creative pursuits like art, play an instrument, dance, meditate, garden

Movement: bare minimum is two 15 min walks or individual dance parties, planned snack-ercise breaks at work sit to stand squats, spinal twists, jumping jacks, fluid & light-hearted movement

Manage Stress:  learn and build skills to help regulate your nervous system, long, slow belly breathing, box breathing, somatic movements, reflective journaling,

Nourishment:  eat slowly and with presence not looking at electronic devices, choose warmed whole foods, eat light, regular meals during the day, enough to be satiated to be free of snack-attacks or overeating in the evening before bed.

About 30-40% of your meals should consist largely of easily digested complex carbohydrates like grains and starchy root vegetables.  Another 40-50% of the diet should be cooked vegetables and fruit.  Proteins can make up the remaining 10 – 20% of the diet.  This diet is meant to open and assist movement of a tense and sluggish circulation.