As many of you know, I am a licensed acupuncturist as well as a plastic surgeon. I don’t practice acupuncture often, but it gives me an interesting perspective on illness and health, and allows me to look at problems from both an Eastern and Western medical perspective. Eastern medicine always reminds me to stay balanced, and I encourage my patients to stay balanced as well. My daughter is a full-time acupuncturist at her practice Hidden Root Acupuncture in New Orleans, and we had an interesting conversation recently about the quarantine and the liver that I thought was worth sharing. These are her thoughts:
“According to Chinese medicine, springtime is when our Liver is the most active. Just as we see in nature around us during this time of year, the energy of the Liver wants to grow up and out, like sprouting grass and budding flowers. As our emotional center, the Liver’s qi (or ch’i), which is the energy that flows through the body or life force, is healthiest when it is able to move through the body smoothly and without constraint. This is why exercising often makes us feel so good; as does laughing, a good cry, or sharing our feelings with others, as these help any emotions that are stuck come out.
When the Liver qi is stagnated in any way, either physically or emotionally, stress and stagnation follow. It is as if the Liver energy is a root-bound plant, wanting to spread its roots out and grow our branches upward, but without room to freely move the energy, we instead feel stuck, depressed, even hopeless.
COVID-19 has kept most of us at home, stagnating our Livers physically AND emotionally. We can no longer move our Liver qi in ways that normally come naturally to us without considering the potential risks we are taking. What’s worse, the Liver is most active right now as Winter turns into Spring, further intensifying these negative effects.
The last few months have been unpredictable and so are the few up ahead, but know that taking care of your Liver will help you weather the storm. Exercise as often as you can, spend lots of time outdoors, stay connected with the loved ones who can help you have a good laugh or cry, and journal or record your feelings to avoid holding on to any negativity inside of your body. We can get through this!”
I agree with her advice! Most of us crave being outside and exercising during this time – listen to your body and DO IT! These are difficult times. I myself felt hopeless when this pandemic started. As the weather has improved, as we get a better handle on the virus, and as our practice reopens, I am filled with hope for a new beginning.