When we hear the word ‘detox,’ especially in terms of the liver, we often think of punishing fad diets that restrict our bodies after a binge of alcohol or greasy fast food. While the methods of these diets are not only unhealthy, they only address one principle of detoxing, focusing strictly on purging the body in often harmful ways. Supporting a healthy mental and emotional state is the secondary and often lesser known way to detox your liver holistically.
The Brain and Body Connection in TCM
Our bodies innately know when our emotions are compromised. This may feel like a foreign idea in Western medicine. However, it's a well-understood principle in Traditional Chinese Medicine. For example, have you ever noticed how when you feel sad, you may feel pain in other areas of your body? This example shows the direct correlation between your body and your mind. This similarly proves the idea of broken heart syndrome, where if someone’s spouse passes away, particularly in the elderly, they may pass away soon after, physically dying from a broken heart and unable to live without their loved one.
Traditional Chinese Medicine differs from Western medicine practices in that it places a high emphasis on our emotional state, in addition to our body, to diagnose what may be ailing us. TCM also utilizes diagnostic methods of analysis, such as looking at the tongue, the pulse and more, but it also takes a look at the spirit, leading to a detox method called emotional detoxification.
Emotional Detoxification of the Liver
Emotional detoxing is a traditional way to detox your liver in a way that has nothing to do with punishing fad diets or food.
The liver holds high importance in TCM, as it is the gateway to diagnosing many potential health problems. However, one of our most vital emotions as humans plays an important role in that organ -- anger.
Anger is probably one of the easiest emotions to bottle up. Anger has a reputation for being an emotion that we have to diffuse or that is prone to explosion if it is too pent up, therefore further contributing to the belief that our minds can affect our bodies in extraordinary ways. It has been shown that pent up anger can lead to signs of physical illness, such as high blood pressure and heart attacks, depression and more.
In TCM, the liver is associated with anger and the wood element. In order to balance your liver Qi, it is suggested that you avoid things that make you angry or stressed. Activities such as practicing Qigong or Tai Chi, or meditation and yoga, which are based in breathing and balance can naturally help reduce feelings of anger and help you learn to control those feelings when they arise and let them pass without action. TCM also suggests a variety of herbs to help regulate your Liver Qi and remove toxins, as TCM also uses herbs to nourish the Liver. In TCM, we often take the formula rather than the single herb because these herbs work like a family for multiple issues and support each other.
The liver also impacts the gallbladder, as they are the paired organs that relate to this emotion and have a brother-sister relationship. If one is weak, that will impact the other. If you help one, the other is also supported. Many people have their gallbladder removed and that in turn puts more strain on the liver, especially with fat metabolism and digestion in general.
If you’re in need of a healthy liver detox method or you’re in need of TCM herbs to supplement your emotional detoxification, Essentia Herbs has a variety of supplements to help you, including LiverSupport™. Also, before your Liver gets attacked and accumulates with stress or depression hormones, you can try RelaxMe™ to decrease your stress and anxiety. SunnyDay™ can also help with sadness and worries, as both formulas will help with emotional issues and also improve the liver function.
Dr. Jing Liu, a certified Traditional Medicine Practitioner licensed in both China and the USA, uses these supplements daily in her Arizona-based practice, allowing her to directly see their benefits and best applications as she works with her patients. For more information, visit www.essentiaherbs.com.