The Wood Element: Liver and Gallbladder Health

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Liver and Gallbladder Health

Spring feels late in coming this year or maybe I just have cabin fever really bad.  When spring finally gets here we need to be ready with support to the Wood element in traditional acupuncture with relation to the law of the five elements.  Spring is the wood element, which consists of the liver and gallbladder. 

The most simple example of the wood element is a tree.  It is flexible and bends with the wind. It is well rooted so it can bend. It is connected to the earth and the flow of energy coming out of the roots in the spring to bring forth new growth. If the tree is well nourished it grows and gives seeds for new life and we see it in the growth rings. The size of those rings tell of the conditions it has endured.  Periods of good nutrients show wide growth rings and drought showing in tight rings of little growth.

Are we well rooted? Are we able to bend with the wind or do we get pushed over easily? Do we have vertigo? Are we growing and healing? Are we in a poor soil that has little support for our roots, little nutrients and our limbs are gnarled? Does the abdomen feel cramped and painful, emotions of smoldering, night mares of being trapped?  Are we feeling anger? Are our joints and spine flexible like bamboo? We might be in the need of support for our liver and gallbladder.

In the spring we see new growth, things are coming out of hibernation from winter, the sap is flowing, bringing forth new life.  The color for the wood element is green, which is associated with new growth of plants. Other things associated with the wood element is the taste of sour, bitters are good for the liver. 

The eyes are related to the liver. Anger and shouting are the emotion and sound of the wood element. Our muscle and sinews ( ligament) are controlled by the wood element. Our nails of the hands and feet show how our liver is doing. Striations , coloring, splitting, pealing, cracking and ridges are all signs of poor liver health.  Wind will stir up the liver and symptoms of liver weakness.

We see a lot of gallbladder surgeries in the spring and early summer.  We need the liver support of green leaf vegetables, B vitamins, and liver tissue. Liver cleanse and support will help it function better and be able to process the fats that we consume in our diets.

When you're out and about and feel you need a little more energy try hugging and tree. Try putting your bare feet in the rich soil and feel the energy.

-Dr. Scott Nelson


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