The Liver is the yin aspect of the wood element in the body. Compared to the Gall Bladder (the yang aspect of the wood element in the body) the Liver is solid. This means that it is the yin aspect of a yang element. The wood element is particularly concerned with growth and blockages to growth and so the need to take action. Ideally we grow smoothly and easily – and are able to readily deal with any blocks to this process.
The Liver channel flows from the inside of the foot up the inside of the leg, around the external genitalia and across the abdomen.
Traditionally the Liver is said to be in charge of “The free flow of qi”. This means that we can move smoothly from seeing a vision and devising plans to implementing them. It also applies at the daily level – combining a good balance of activity and rest and moving smoothly from one to the other.
Getting ‘Hyper’ and Getting ‘Stuck’
If you feel like you are on overdrive then this is a liver problem. The traditional saying is that, “The Liver tends to excess”. If you can’t sit still and rest and are always planning the next initiative this is a Liver imbalance. Likewise if you feel you can’t get stuck and feel chronically frustrated and/or depressed this indicates a Liver imbalance.
The Liver stores blood. This makes it of particular importance for the female cycle. It also makes it important for sleep. The blood is said to return to the Liver when we sleep.
Insomnia, where our head is racing and we are thinking furiously indicates a Liver problem. Likewise any disturbance to a woman’s cycle may involve a Liver problem (in our culture, where we are asked to live by the clock rather than in accord with our bodily rhythms, this is not uncommon).
Tendons and Nails.
The Liver governs the tendons. These are the parts of our bodies that provide flexibility. People who are particularly of a Liver body shape are ’string beans’ or a ‘bean pole’. These people are usually tall and skinny. They often surprise us by being able to work longer and harder than those with more prominent muscles. This is because it is the tendons that are being used. (They will also often walk with a clumping gait and (in men) have a prominent ‘Adam’s Apple’.)
If there is a Liver problem the nails will be not be healthy (they may be soft, withered, deformed or chipped).
The Liver is important for our vision. This is true of our physical eyes and for our vision of our lives and what is possible in the world.
Dry eyes, nightblindness or dryness of the eyes indicate a Liver imbalance. Likewise, having no vision or being unable to plan is a Liver problem.
The Health of Your Liver.
Do you go to sleep easily and wake refreshed?
Do you have a problem getting to sleep because you are still thinking?
Can you move smoothly from seeing your vision to taking action?
Does your day have a rhythm and flow to it?
For women: does your cycle flow smoothly and easily?