Happy Spring! In this newsletter I’m going to share with you the connection between stress, the Liver, and allergies (and several other symptoms) and what you can do to help yourself.
What’s Stress Got to Do With It?When I started seeing the acupuncturist who helped me turn my health around, he would to say to me “You’re so angry. Let the Anger out.” This didn’t make any sense to me because anyone around me would have told you I was the least angry person they knew. But English was not his first language, and to tell you the truth, a lot of things he said didn’t make much sense to me. But I was getting better, so I didn’t worry about all the details of what he was saying.
It wasn’t until I started studying Chinese Medicine that I began to understand what he meant. Anger is the emotion associated with the Liver system. I am not a Chinese language scholar, but what I did learn in my studies is that simple Chinese to English translation loses a lot of meaning. Anger in Chinese medicine represents a full range of emotions including irritability, frustration, rigidity, impatience, nervous tension, depression, indecision, timidity, over-analysis, emotional repression, and anger. A better translation to me would be stress.
So yes, I was stressed. And I did learn to release my stressful thinking and that was a big part of my improving health. Looking, back what he said did make sense for me.
And it also made sense for a big focus of my studies and practice as an acupuncturist—respiratory health. If you are stressed, it affects the Liver organ meridian system. The Liver is in charge of the smooth flow of everything in the body (circulation, energy, emotions), and when it get’s backed up there’s a lot of friction in the body. This friction creates heat. Heat rises. And for some people (like me) it gets stuck in the sinuses and causes allergies and sinusitis. That’s why for many of my allergy and sinusitis patients, I make sure to treat the Liver and recommend they look into reducing their stress. For other people it causes migraines and headaches, eye and ear problems, asthma, dizziness, shoulder and neck tension, digestive discomfort, high blood pressure, and PMS.
What can you do to reduce your stress, soothe your Liver, and improve your allergies and about a billion other things (see my long list above.)
Mind Experiment: Next time you notice you are feeling stressed (irritable, frustrated, nervous, angry, or even indecisive), remind yourself that your liver is out of balance and it’s affecting your emotions. The Liver gets out of balance a lot during the Spring transition, so your stress is very seasonal. Spring is the season of the Liver so it should be primed for the healthy expression of emotions. But if we did rest enough in Winter, the Liver doesn’t have the resources to be springy and chipper. And the transition to Spring results in a lot of people feeling blah and wondering why they aren’t more excited that it’s Spring.
Connecting the emotional imbalance to the organ imbalance helps people not take their stress so personally. From this place of more objectivity, we’re less like to add more judgmental thinking about our stress on top of our stress. And we’re likely to come back to balance more quickly.
Because adding thinking about our stressful thinking just creates more stress. And trying to solve our stress from a stressful place doesn’t allow room for a creative solution.
So try reminding yourself that your stress is connected to an out of balance Liver which is normal at the start of Spring. Then carry on with your day and see if it feels like it helps you come back to balance more quickly. Patients tell me this is very reassuring. I’d love to know how your experiment goes.
What We’re Treating in the ClinicEveryone knows that spring is allergy season, but did you know that a lot of people experience a low mood at the start of Spring? For some people, especially when they don’t rest enough during the California winter, their bodies are not ready to jump into Spring and they feel depressed and grumpy. Then they wonder why they’re not feeling chipper and springy.
A lot of patients have been reporting this low mood that doesn’t make sense over the last few weeks. Acupuncture is great at both helping you get the rest you need (I often call acupuncture a nap on steroids) and soothing your mind and body and getting you back into the flow.
Existing patients can book online here. Make sure you get a confirmation email and click "CONFIRM" in that email.
You can access our online booking anytime by clicking anywhere on our website that says "make an appointment" or "book now" and follow the breadcrumbs to "Existing Patients" and "Book Online". Existing patients are always welcome to call or email us if you prefer to schedule that way or you’re not finding any appointments that work for you online.
New patients need to call or email us to set up their first appointment because there is just too much information we need to share with you.
Happy Mind Explorations!
Christina Ness-Hawks, LAc