So What can I Do about Liver Qi Stagnation?

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So What can I Do about Liver Qi Stagnation?

Now that you understand Liver Qi stagnation a little better, let’s talk about what you can do about it. Unfortunately, in our society, we have a lot of unhealthy ways to deal with stress, but dealing with stress in a healthy way is absolutely essential for our long-term health.  Here are a few approaches to take:

Turn off the electronics.  In the last decade, electronics have taken over our lives in a whole new way.  In some ways, it’s nice to be so connected to people you never get to see and be able to get information from all around the world.  However, spending a lot of time on the internet, playing video games, and constantly checking email via our smartphones creates an agitation in our bodies that quickly leads to Liver Qi stagnation.  So unplug and get outside on a regular basis.

Exercise.  Stagnation is exactly what is sounds like – stuckness, lack of movement – so the best way to deal with it is to move your body!  Moderate exercise is the best thing to get your qi moving.  No one is suggesting you start training for a marathon.  In fact, over-doing it with exercise can cause stress in your body as well.  Get out for a walk on your lunch break, take the stairs, jog for a half hour.  Do something more than you’ve been doing, and you’ll see an effect.

Breathe.  One of the reasons why exercise is so helpful for Liver Qi stagnation is that you have to breathe harder and you get more oxygen into the body.  Remember I mentioned that the Lungs also play a big role in Qi movement?  Deep breathing is essential.  Try lying in bed and breathing deeply 10 times before you fall asleep each night.  At work, set an alarm at your desk to stop every 30 minutes and take 5 deep breaths. Or better yet, step outside and get 5 deep breathes of fresh air.

Hey, why not combine the two – movement and breathing!?  Lucky for us,  a number of practices that do just that have gained popularity in North America the last few decades, such as Yoga, Tai Ji, Qi Gong, and meditation.  Done properly, all of these practices relax the body and tap into the “rest and digest” part of your nervous system.

Spend time relaxing with activities or people you like.  Whether you’re talking through the things that are bothering you or letting go of the cares of the day, relaxing and laughing with people you enjoy spending time with is a great way to unwind.  Hobbies that get you away from the computer are also good for unwinding. (Angry Birds doesn’t count!-) Ideally, you’re doing that without much alcohol, by the way. Depending on your particular body, a small amount of alcohol once in a while might help get your qi moving, but many of us end up having more than just one drink.  Being able to relax without alcohol is important as well.

– Visit your acupuncturist.  One of the most fundamental effects of acupuncture is its ability to reduce stress and the physical manifestations of stress in the body.  Addressing imbalances like Liver Qi stagnation is one of the ways that Chinese medicine works preventatively, to help you stay healthier, longer.  Most acupuncturists can also give your herbs or recommendations about foods that can help deal with chronic Qi stagnation.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to figure out what combination of activities help you relax.  You’ll know the difference in your body and your health will be better for it!

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