Why do people do liver cleanses in the spring? In Taoist philosophy, springtime is the season the liver is the most dominant. The liver is considered the wood element. Imagine fresh green buds bursting into leaves or tree roots breaking into the cold winter earth. As amazing as spring is with the sense of new vitality, it can also be an uncomfortable time energetically. We are waking up from the long hibernation of winter and our bodies may not feel that comfortable. The liver rules the tendons so stretch like a bear in the morning after you sleep and give your liver a little boost.
No excuse as to why you are feeling irritable, frustrated or slightly aggressive lately? Blame it on your liver! I am! The liver is an uprising energy, like the green grass exploding from the ground. When our liver is stuck we tend to have more bursts of these negative emotions. When our liver is feeling healthy, positive virtues of decision making and taking action are made easier. When our liver Qi is flowing, we feel more positive emotions such as kindness, generosity, forgiveness and feelings of abundance. In fact the liver moves all the emotions, so having a healthy liver is crucial to maintaining emotional balance.
As most people know, the gallbladder is related to the liver. In Chinese medicine the gallbladder meridians zigzag along the sides of the ribcage, so on a physical level lots of side stretching would be great at this time of the year. As well the liver sound is shhhhhhh… Notice how in our language we naturally say shit or shoot to express anger or frustration. A client of mine once told me his liver liked the sound of the ice clinking in his glass of alcohol! Not so sure…..
The sense associated with the liver is sight and the color for the liver is green. A nice meditative Qi Gong practice would be to walk through the forest or stand in your backyard and on an inhale draw in the green wood energy through the eyes. In your mind’s eye spiral the energy around your liver. On an exhale, make the shhhhhh… sound and release the stale liver Qi. Imagine grey, black smoke coming out of the mouth and going into the earth and trees. This practice could be combined with side stretching as well.
The animal associated with the liver is the green dragon. The dragon image evokes a magical, powerful quality, helping us to see the big picture of life and dream big dreams. Remember yourself as a teenager when you felt anything was possible in life. So take a ride on your teenaged dragon and put your dreams into action!
If you feel your liver needs a bit of a spring cleaning, then now would be a great time to do that liver cleanse or the famous 1 cup of olive oil before bedtime gallbladder flush if you are brave enough! Although it works, one time was enough for me! Here is an easy more gentle liver/gallbladder flush that you drink in the morning instead of your breakfast for 2-3 weeks.
Place the following in a blender. Liquefy and drink very slowly, thoroughly mixing the drink with your saliva before swallowing.
1 whole orange or grapefruit without peel and chopped into pieces
1 whole lemon without peel and chopped into pieces
1-2 tbsp. of cold pressed olive oil
Small pinch of cayenne pepper
A thin slice of ginger root
1-2 cloves of fresh garlic or 2-4 garlic pills to save your friends and family
1-2 tsp flax seed ground up
Water to the top of the fruit
There are many layers to overall health. Understanding that the organ system plays just as important a role in our physical health as the muscular skeletal system is part of the work we do at Physicalmind Institute Canada and Marta Hernandez Studio. Everything is interconnected and the balancing of the elements in nature and our bodies is pivotal. So enjoy your liver side stretching this spring and join us for our upcoming courses and classes where we explore the body and spirit in these holistic and intriguing ways.