Is Your Liver Emotional?

Happy New Year! With January upon us and February “just around the corner, “I thought I should write something about the liver. So, what does January and February have to do with it you ask? February is considered the beginning of spring and the liver and gallbladder are organs that relate to this special season.

The liver and gallbladder work together. If you have had your gallbladder removed, this places additional stress on your liver, so you need to pay extra special attention to the health of your liver. I wanted to write about the liver this month to give you time to digest what it is that I am saying. (No pun intended…sorry, bad joke).  The liver, (located in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen just under the ribcage) is known as the commanding general of the body. Others may think of it as a filter. Everything we eat, drink, are exposed to, affect the liver. The liver is the organ that is most affected by emotional stress. In Chinese medicine, each organ has an emotional component which is just as important as the physical component.

Liver = Anger
Lungs = Sadness and Grief
Spleen= Over thinking and Worry
Heart = Joy
Kidneys = Fear

When the liver is not functioning properly inflammation sets in because toxins accumulate in the body. Inflammation can contribute to symptoms that may include headaches, fatigue, skin changes, hormonal imbalance (both men and women), hot flashes, weight gain, various digestive issues, elevated cholesterol, mood swings, waking between 1 and 3am. From an emotional perspective liver stagnation (stress or congestion) or whatever you want to call it, may also contribute to emotional disharmony such as feeling “stuck” in life.

Keys to a happy and healthy liver

When the Liver is balanced, we will have a healthy physical body and healthy emotions. Are you thinking your liver needs some loving? It probably does, but I don’t suggest taking matters into your own hands. When I think of liver stress, toxins are only one part of the problem in most cases. Chronic stress is often more harmful to the liver than other sources of toxins. Don’t get me wrong, this comment isn’t intended to make you think about going out and eating all the unhealthy food you can get your hands on. This comment is solely intended to make you realize that there are various stressors that can affect your liver and they must be dealt with appropriately.

Many people think that liver stress = hard core liver cleanses. This is completely wrong and, in many cases, causes more harm than good. Harsh and aggressive liver cleanses can dump toxins from your liver into your blood stream causing further stress and inflammation in the body.  This is a bad idea.

My suggestion is that you first find out if your liver is the culprit. And how can this be done? We recommend thermography as a way of evaluating your digestive health. Thermography can identify areas of inflammation or congestion in the digestive system. The thermal patterns that present on the skin may indicate liver stress, congestion in the small intestine or lymph related issues. This can help you and your practitioner to plan your treatment protocol accordingly. Thermography is not diagnostic for any specific condition, but is sensitive and can identify very early signs of inflammatory or physiological changes in the body.

For emotional stress, nothing is more important than moderate exercise. Heavy exercise may overtax your body and deplete physical resources. Dietary modifications are also key. Be aware that diet plans and supplements that contain a “cure all, good for all” tag line aren’t all they are cracked up to be. We each need a personalized nutrition and supplementation plan. Unfortunately, there is no cookie cutter approach to our health. Regarding food, think light and fresh! Regarding our emotions, practice patience, forgiveness and let go of resentment.

Healthier is Smarter!

Sharon Edwards – BA, R(Hom), DNM, RNCP, CTT