Do you have Liver Qi Stagnation?

February 22, 2017


By far the most common Chinese medicine syndrome I see in clinic is Liver Qi Stagnation. This isn’t too surprising, as its main causes are integral parts of modern life: stress, suppressing our emotions (especially anger), and contraceptive medication.


Before we go any further, I should explain that Liver Qi Stagnation may have nothing at all to do with your liver. This is because Chinese medicine groups certain physiological processes together and then names each group after a different organ in the body – whether or not they involve that organ from a Western medicine perspective. (I’m afraid you’ll have to take my word for it that there’s a beautiful logic behind it all.)


Do you have Liver Qi Stagnation?

Liver Qi Stagnation starts out with emotional and mild physical symptoms. The main ones are:

  • persistent irritability

  • feelings of frustration and being ‘stuck in a rut’

  • PMT with irritability

  • lethargy that improves after exercise


Where could it lead?

Over time, Liver Qi Stagnation leads to conditions often associated with chronic stress, like:

  • upper back, neck and shoulder pain

  • tension headaches

  • depression with a sense of hopelessness

  • insomnia with vivid dreams

  • irritable bowel syndrome

  • heartburn and acid reflux

  • severe period pain

  • unexplained infertility


What can you do about it?

  • Exercise. This is the quickest way to get your Liver Qi flowing. It will give your mood an instant lift and make you more optimistic.

  • Drink green tea. The best stuff to go for is a high quality, loose leaf 'Living Tea'. That's one that is organic or even wild-harvested.

  • Plan time to do the things you want to do. This will reduce your stress and feelings of frustration, and increase your creativity.

  • Acknowledge your anger. This blog post talks about how to make anger a force for good in your life.

  • Have acupuncture. Liver Qi Stagnation is often treated with a very powerful acupuncture point on your foot called Great Rushing (LIV-3). Great Rushing can produce a sensation like rushing water inside your body. It deactivates the part of your nervous system that makes you feel angry, leaving you feeling in harmony with the world.

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