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  • Marlo Rapp

Why Your Liver is Extraordinary - and How to Keep it That Way

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

“The physician who knows how to harmonize the liver knows how to treat the hundred diseases.” - Zhou Xuehai

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), disease is caused when qi, or energy, does not flow properly in the body, or is stagnant, deficient, or out of balance. TCM views physical health and emotions as being deeply connected, and approaches healing with a combined mind and body approach.

With regards to the liver, this vital organ plays an important role in our health and well-being, impacting more than 500 of our bodily functions. It is the largest organ in the body, and its main function is to filter blood that comes in from the digestive system, breaking down, balancing, and creating nutrients for the body to use before passing the blood to the rest of the body. The liver is also involved in digestion, detoxification, metabolic functions, and immune function. From the view of TCM, the liver is also responsible for regulating the flow of qi. When someone’s liver is not functioning optimally, and there are issues with the flow of blood and qi, they may struggle with emotions such as overwhelming feelings of anger, depression, irritability, sadness, pressure, anxiety, and emotional exhaustion.

Other major functions of the liver include:

  • Producing bile, which helps break down fats for further digestion as well carries away waste

  • Regulating, purifying, and storing blood

  • Metabolizing fats, proteins, and carbohydrates

  • Storing vitamins, minerals, and glycogen

  • Regulating levels of chemicals in the blood

  • Metabolizing drugs so they can be used by the rest of the body

  • Removing waste products and toxins from the body

  • Converting glycogen to glucose for energy and excess glucose into glycogen for storage

  • Regulating amino acid levels in the blood

  • Producing cholesterol and special proteins

  • Creating proteins for blood clotting

  • Helping the body resist infection

  • Clearing bilirubin, hormones, and drugs

  • Removing toxins from the blood

With so many crucial functions in the body, our health can be greatly impacted when the liver isn’t functioning properly. From a TCM perspective, symptoms of a sluggish or poor functioning liver system can include:

  • Fatigue

  • Poor circulation

  • High stress

  • Muscle spasms

  • Eye or vision problems

  • Poor quality of sleep

  • Short temper

  • Irritability

  • Low motivation

  • Skin problems

  • Constipation

  • Premenstrual mood changes

  • Short temper

  • Indigestion

  • Ashen Complexion

  • Muscular weakness

  • Sluggishness

  • Reduced ability to tolerate fatty foods

  • Unexplained anger or irritability

Poor liver function and liver diseases are often the result of poor nutrition and lifestyle habits. Excessive alcohol, sugars, unhealthy fats, and refined carbohydrates can overload the liver. Being overweight, living with chronic stress, and exposure to certain toxins can also negatively effect the liver.

The good news: with the right support, the liver can regenerate and repair itself from damage.

Recommendations for a healthy liver include:

  • Limit alcohol intake

  • Don’t smoke or use recreational drugs

  • Limit consumption of caffeine

  • Minimize or avoid unhealthy trans fats, sugar, and processed junk food

  • Make sure you are getting adequate omega 3 fatty acids from healthy food or supplement sources

  • Drink enough water

  • Manage stress

  • Exercise regularly

  • Consider bitters

  • Certain herbs may also promote liver function

  • Apuncture

Acupuncture can increase the flow of qi, promoting balance and proper functioning so that the body is able to detox more efficiently. It addresses both stagnation and liver-blood deficiencies, and can increase overall blood flow to promote whole body health and wellness. Multiple clinical studies on subjects with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease have found that subjects receiving acupuncture regularly had a significant reduction in liver damage. Research on electroacupuncture has also noted greater improvements of liver injury than other remedies alone, as well as decreased clinical symptoms of liver cirrhosis and hepatitis B virus.

Nutrition and lifestyle changes are also very important not only for promoting healthy liver function, but preventing disease, minimizing symptoms, and boosting overall health and well-being.

Contact us to schedule an appointment for acupuncture, nutritional therapy, herbs, or any of our other holistic services.


Four Seasons Acupuncture in Hot Springs Arkansas

Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, cupping, injection therapy, moxibustion, tuina, nutritional therapy, TCM, and more!

We are located in Hot Springs, Arkansas, just minutes from Red Oak, AR, Price, AR, Lake Hamilton, AR, Pleasant Hill, AR, and Malvern, AR.

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