Liver Health - Lokahi Acupuncture

What We Say Versus What We Mean – Part IV: The Liver

When you hear the word “liver,” what comes to mind?

For most of us, we think of the liver as simply an organ that helps our body process toxins. But did you know that in East Asian Medicine (EAM), the liver has a much broader range of functions and is intimately connected to our emotional well-being?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between Western and East Asian Medicine descriptions of the liver and why it’s important to keep these differences in mind when seeking treatment.

According to Western theory, the liver is responsible for breaking down toxins in the body and producing bile to aid in digestion.

But the liver is also prone to a variety of diseases, such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. These diseases are often caused by factors such as alcohol abuse, viral infections, and metabolic disorders. Symptoms of liver disease can include fatigue, jaundice, abdominal pain, and swollen liver.

In East Asian Medicine, the liver is not only responsible for processing toxins, but also regulates the smooth flow of qi (energy) throughout the body.

The liver is associated with the wood element, which represents growth, flexibility, and adaptation. The liver meridian pathway runs through the body and is connected to the eyes, tendons, and nails. The liver is also paired with the gallbladder, which is responsible for storing and releasing bile.

Certain East Asian Medicine patterns of disharmony can be associated with the liver, including liver qi stagnation, liver blood deficiency, and liver fire. Symptoms of liver disharmony can include irritability, depression, PMS, muscle tension, and headaches.

In East Asian Medicine treatments, we investigate the pain and then treat both the root cause as well as the symptom as it presents.

If someone has lower back pain or PMS, for example, we would look at not only the physical stiffness but also their lifestyle, habits, and emotions. An acupuncturist might recommend acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary changes, and lifestyle modifications.

By addressing the root cause of the disharmony, East Asian Medicine treatments can not only alleviate symptoms but also restore balance to the whole person.

In conclusion, it’s important to recognize that our terminology sounds the same as the Western words, but the meaning can be radically different in East Asian Medicine.

While Western medical treatments may focus on the physical symptoms of liver disease, East Asian Medicine treatments aim to restore harmony to the entire body, including the emotions. By addressing both the root cause and the symptom, East Asian Medicine treatments offer a holistic approach to healing that can lead to long-term health and well-being.

So next time you hear the word “liver,” remember that there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation or learn more about our services.

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