Women’s Issue (Gynecology) #3 – Liver Qi Stagnation

June 3, 2018 Trisha Han AcupunctureHighlightsOriental Herbal MedicineWellness & Prevention

In the previous blogs, we talked about Women’s health issue #1 and #2. Here is #3.

Women especially are sensitive to the pressure and demands of modern society, and the resulting stress is a cause of many health issues. Emotional burden, from a Chinese Medicine perspective, is the cause of liver-qi stagnation.  Liver-qi stagnation, to be clear, is when the Qi along the Liver Meridian is not produced or circulated well.  In Chinese Medicine, the liver’s functions are both diverse and dispersed, reaching far beyond its known digestive and detoxifying properties.  In fact, the flow of Liver Qi ensures the circulation of the body’s various other Qi channels; if Liver Qi is suppressed or obstructed, then the rest of the body’s functions will consequently become abnormal.

The liver meridian has a very close relationship with blood; so if Liver-Qi doesn’t flow well, then problems related to blood and the circulatory system will surface. The liver meridian’s path also crosses with the female reproductive organs, so liver-qi stagnation may also cause problems affiliated with the reproductive system, such as infertility. Liver-qi stagnation can also cause disturbances in the digestive and metabolic processes.

As you can see, if the flow of liver-qi is blocked, many physiological functions will also become disordered.  That’s why there’s a saying in Chinese Medicine: “The liver is the source of thousands of illnesses”.  The saying doesn’t mean that the liver is a bad organ.  It just means the liver’s health is crucial to the other organs’ health.

The liver’s health is affected largely by an individual’s emotional and spiritual state of being.  For example, if a person is given responsibility of an overwhelming project at work, their stress will lead to liver-qi stagnation.  Some people get angry easily, which leads to the same result. People who have liver-qi stagnation do not develop it suddenly, but as a result of an accumulated amount of negative emotions.  People with liver-qi stagnation will gradually develop various small discomforts that build up to disorders like fatigue, loss of appetite, quick temper, restlessness, anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc.

In ancient times, when Doctor Fu Qing-Zhu treated female patients, he would often prescribe herbal formulas for them that contained herbs for regulating the liver meridian, such as Chai Hu and Bai Shao.  He wouldn’t add an especially large amount of these herbs, but the effect was significant.

So how should one go about regulating liver-qi in one’s everyday life?

First of all, you must make an effort to maintain a positive, optimistic outlook on life. Often life will throw us a curveball, and everyone will have negative emotions from time to time.  But for the sake of your overall health, it is important to keep the negative emotions to a minimum.  There is a ring of truth when they say, “Laughter is the best medicine”, because nothing is as important to health as being happy.

Also, you shouldn’t worry about work too much. That’s not saying you shouldn’t give your best effort–but it’s important to be relaxed while working, instead of stressed or anxious. Instead of fearing failure or disaster, try to think about success, as you tackle a particularly overwhelming project.

Another way to ensure emotional health–and thus, the health of your liver–is by exercising. Exercise is not only good for your physical well-being; it is also the best way to improve your emotions and outlook.

Actually, medicine is not always the best or simplest way to cure an illness.  The physical and emotional states of being are extremely interdependent, so if you want to be healthy, start by regulating your spiritual, emotional side. In fact, after you improve your emotional state, you may find that you don’t even need to take any medicine.

But in the case of more serious, chronic ailments, it is wise to consult an acupuncturist near you.  Chinese Medicine has a very rich and diverse store of knowledge and treatments for Liver-Qi stagnation, so don’t be afraid to try it out, whatever your condition may be.  Best of luck to you all!


anxietydepressiondigestive problemsfatigueinfertilityinsomnialoss of appetitequick temperrestlessness


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