Spring and Chinese Medicine
Close your eyes and feel a glowing green light. Take a breath and say Shhhhhh
This is the sound for the Wood element. It’s like the sound of wind rustling through the leaves on trees. I also like to think of it as a calming sound for our Liver and Gallbladder, which are also associated with the Wood element. There are healing sounds associated with each Chinese element, as taught by Taoist Master Mantak Chia. If you’d like to hear a beautiful musical interpretation of each of the healing sounds, I recommend Six Healing Sounds by Yuval Ron and Dr. Richard Gold.
According to Chinese Medicine, the Liver and Gallbladder help to make our Qi flow smoothly. They help keep our tendons and ligaments flexible. The Liver stores our Blood and influences our sleep. The Liver regulates menstruation. The Gallbladder helps us make decisions. Headaches, stress, depression are some conditions that may be improved by working on the Liver and Gallbladder.
The emotion associated with the Liver and Gallbladder is Anger. The virtue is Benevolence. What exactly is benevolence? It’s doing acts of kindness, or the inclination to do them. 1
The Hun – the Spirit of the Wood element
The Hun are the spirits associated with the Wood element. They are our ‘ethereal soul’. They enter our body a few days after we are born and stays until a few days after we die. The symbol for Hun in Chinese includes the characters of ‘cloud’ and ‘ghost’. The Hun guide us in our dreams and visions. They guide us in our daily lives to help motivate us to get out the door in the morning and to help us fall asleep at night.
According to Lorie Eve Dechar, the Hun
represent the psychological faculty of vision, imagination, clear direction and the capacity for justice. They endow us with the ability to discern our path, stay clear on our direction, imagine possibilities, move forward toward our goals and take a stand for what we believe is right. 2
Liver and Gallbladder acupuncture points
There are acupuncture points with spiritual properties on each acupuncture channel. Here I’ll discuss a few of them on the Liver and the Gallbladder channels.
On the Liver channel, in the webbing between the big toe and the second toe, close to where the toes meet the foot, is Liver 3.
This point is called Tai Chong, which has been translated to mean “Happy Calm” and “Supreme Rushing”. This point “can help support growth to occur more freely in a way less burdened by anger and resentment.” 3 By doing so, it helps to empower benevolence. The elemental association of this point is Earth. So here, we have the power of the Earth element within the Wood element (Earth within Wood).
The Gallbladder is a Yang organ in Chinese Medicine.Gallbladder 40 is the Source point on the Gallbladder channel. It is called Qiu xu which is translated as “Wilderness Mound”. This point is on the outer ankle, in a depression to the lower right side of the ankle bone or lateral malleolus. It is about making decisions, to help someone who can’t see the forest for the trees. According to Jarrett, Gallbladder 40
empowers clarity of vision relative to our interpretation and judgements regarding the external world and our relationship to it. Such a perspective can empower the realization that our personal opinions are always contextual, relative, and never absolute. With this realization the virtue of benevolence may become manifest as our vision becomes aligned with the absolute self. 4
Liver 3 and Gallbladder 40 are also Source Points. Each acupuncture channel has one of them. They help tap into the Original Qi which is the “source of all of the Yin and Yang energies of the body”. 5
Gallbladder 41 (Zu Lin Qi “Foot Near to Tears”) and Liver 1 (Da dun “Great Esteem”) are called Horary Points. Gallbladder 41 is associated with 11pm-1am and Liver 1 is associated with 1am-3am. These points are most powerful at those times of day. Their most powerful time of the year is at Spring Equinox. Horary Points have the function of transmitting the virtue of each element to another element. (Note: horary points can also be used to help with time travel, er, jetlag.)
Foods for the Liver and Gallbladder
Lemon water or lemonade (try it with maple syrup and fizzy water) is good for the Liver and Gallblader. Sour foods like lemons are good for the Wood element. Other foods that are good are leafy greens and green tea. This matcha cake recipe comes from acupuncturist Rhiannon Griffith and is quite tasty. Carrots are good for the eyes and the Liver is said to ‘open up to the eyes’ in Chinese Medicine. Green Tea helps move Qi and the Liver is in charge of Qi movement.
Spring is about beginnings and growth. What dreams do you want to manifest? How can acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine help you find your direction?
Be sure to look for my blog about Summer and Chinese Medicine next season!
2. Dechar, Lorie Eve, Five Spirits
3. Jarrett, Lonny S., The Clinical Practice of Chinese Medicine, p. 555.
4. Jarrett, p.541.
5. Maciocia, Giovanni, The Foundations of Chinese Medicine, p. 41.