According to Chinese Medical theory, the liver and the liver energy act as a general of the psyche. The liver energy is in charge of the planning and execution of life plans, projects and overall direction. Correspondingly, the liver is in charge of the smooth circulation of life energy or “chi” throughout the body’s energetic system: also known as the 12 regular and 8 extra meridians of Chinese energetic anatomy. When the liver energy is healthy and flowing smoothly, one has even energy coursing throught the body’s energetic system, and on a psycholgical level, is able to make and execute decisions easily in accordance with one’s life plans, goals and ambitions. In addition, healthy liver energy and adequate liver blood ensures proper sleep and overall emotional balance which are the foundation of effective execution of life plans.
In pathology, liver energy can be either deficient or stagnant. In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medical) theory, deficient liver energy corresponds with deficient liver blood and can lead to listlessness and depression in addition to the physical symptoms of dry eyes, hair and skin, frequent sighing, insomnia and exessive fatigue. If liver energy and blood are deficient one is unable to project their life energy properly in the advancement and completion of goals which leads to a depressive state. Liver stagnation or liver excess on the other hand, is a build up of energy that is unable to move freely or be adequately channeled into life goals. Emotionally liver energy excess leads to frustration, anger and hostility. Both liver deficiency and liver excess are effectively treated with acupuncture, herbs, dietary therapy and proper exercise.
In the realm of the human psyche, the heart plays the most central role according to TCM theory. The heart and heart energetic system is said to be the dwelling place of the mind and spirit, or “shen”, as it is termed in chinese. The mind or shen is the central force of our consciousness, personal identity, relationship to the divine and the center where all thinking and emotion is processed. While we have seen that each of the internal organ systems has emotions that are most closely associated with them, the heart is affected by all of the emotions and has the responsibility for maintaining emotional equilibrium in the overall psyche. Accoding to Giovanni Maciocia, it is essential to treat the heart in any presentation of mental and emotional disorder. When the heart energy and heart blood are in good order, a person is emotionally balanced, happy, at peace and clear minded. Imbalances of the heart center specifically include anxiety, insomnia and in excess cases, severe mental emotional disorders like mania, bipolar and schizophrenia. Again, in the case of excess or deficiency of heart energy, TCM has clear and effective protocols for treatment via acupuncture, herbs and dietary therapy.
As we can see, TCM has an extensive and systematic way to diagnose and treat a wide variety of mental and emotional illness. These are protocols that have been used successfully to treat these patterns for in some cases, several thousands of years. Please join us for our final installment next time, where we will discuss the Spleen/ Stomach system in relation to the human psyche.by