In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each season is ruled by a particular organ system and spring is connected to the liver. What does this mean? Well, you probably notice changes in the way you feel, both physically and mentally, as the seasons change. I know I tend to feel a bit more contemplative and introspective during the winter months. Once spring hits, I’m ready to recharge and get things done. The liver energy is strong and assertive, the type of energy you need to create plans and then propel them into motion. However, if your liver is a little out of balance, you might notice you are more irritable or on edge than usual. Here are a few signs that your liver is in need of an acupuncture tune-up:
1. You’ve noticed an increase in headaches lately, and these headaches seem to feel worse when you aren’t active. Generally these headaches tend to manifest at the vertex of your head.
2. You might begin to feel constipated or bloated. Your bowel movements might become irregular, alternating between constipation and loose stools. Hard, difficult stools that appear pebbly are also a sign of liver imbalance.
3. Your friends or coworkers are scared of you, because you are cranky, cranky, cranky. When liver energy is out of balance you might feel agitated, irritated and generally out of sorts. Sometimes irritation can expand into outright anger more easily than it would if this energy was flowing smoothly.
4. Ladies, you may notice your PMS symptoms have been worse lately. Bloating, breast tenderness, sensitivity…you can blame all of the above on your liver. If your periods are more painful or clotted, this is also due to a stagnation of liver energy.
5. Your eyes are red, itchy or irritated.
6. Your shoulders, neck or jaw are uncomfortably tight. If the liver energy is out of balance, it can flow upward. This causes everything in your body to rise up: you might grind or clench your teeth, your shoulders will levitate up around your ears, and you might experience symptoms of TMJ.
7. Your allergies are in full force, complete with itchy, red, watery eyes.
If you are suffering from any of these issues, your body is crying out for help! Here are a few dietary tips to help:
- Eat simply and lightly, pay particular attention to posture and tension during and after eating.
- Eat a diet that is rich in vegetables and moderate in fruits which will help resolve stagnation.
- Bitter foods will help resolve stagnation affecting the Liver and Stomach.
- Moderate amounts of the pungent flavor will help to stimulate the system out of stagnation. Onions and citrus peel are good for this purpose.
A trip to your Acupuncturist is also in order!