The Liver as a Fan

I talk a lot about the Liver being the Energetic Fan of the body – So, what does that mean?

It means that its job is to keep everything moving. That includes Blood, Qi (energy), and emotions. When we try to avoid moving through or experiencing our emotions, usually because we find it painful to do so or we feel the circumstance doesn’t allow for it, or conversely we hang-on to an emotion either out of a feeling of guilt or justification, we effectively shove a broom handle in the fan. We try to stop it from moving. But the fan is still trying to work, the motor is still running, and therefore extra force is being exerted on the fan and the motor but it is stuck.

The motor begins to overheat. For some people this can look like smoke coming out of their ears, a red face, red eyes, and they could explode – usually in an outburst of rage.

Another possibility is that the motor keeps going and with enough buildup of force it breaks the broom handle which then goes flying in typically 1 of 5 directions:

If it hits your stomach it can cause nausea, heartburn, vomiting. If it hits your intestines it can lead to farting, loose stools, diarrhoea or constipation. (IBS…) Your heart can react with anxiety and panic attacks, sleepless nights and bad dreams, and difficulty in communicating clearly. If it hits your lungs, maybe it is less noticeable but it shows up as a cough. I once had occasion to speak to a woman the day after she threw her husband out for cheating on her. She was doing her best to “Hold it together and stay strong!” (aka: not fall apart into the mess of pain that she was feeling), but every time she said his name she started coughing. The fifth place the broom handle can go is often ignored. Headaches, sometimes as severe as migraines. There are a lot of different causes of headaches and migraines: allergies; hormonal changes; weather changes; seasonal changes… but if you already know that none of these is a factor, then just like everything else I have listed above, if the physical experience lines up with emotionally stressful events, then it’s worth thinking about the emotional cause of the physical symptom.

Just like a motor can burn out over time so can the Energetic Fan known as the Liver. Emotionally rather than the above reactions, this looks more like apathy, not giving a shit, having no lust for life, or in more serious cases depression. We give up, and not in the good way.

So, how do we keep the fan moving?

Exercise is number 1! And it does not need to be rigorous, something so simple as a light walk (outside is better) helps get everything moving, also a good tactic to use when studying or sitting in front of the computer for too long (oops), helps clear the mind.

Number 2 is Food! Yes there are foods that have an effect on the liver and in the movement of Qi. Jasmine tea, cherries, and chocolate (in moderation) are some of my favourites.

Number 3… What is your broom handle?