Healthy Body Soul

Liver & Kidney Concerns

The Liver and Liver Qi Stagnation

When searching for the underlying cause of disease, practitioners of Chinese medicine often look first to the liver. The health of your liver reflects your overall health and well-being.

The liver filters over a liter of blood every minute. It is responsible for detoxifying, nourishing, replenishing, and storing blood. It also acts to energize the blood by releasing stored sugar, and it recombines amino acids to create the protein our bodies need to grow and repair tissue.

Liver Qi Stagnation

According to the philosophy of Chinese medicine, the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi (energy) throughout the body and smoothing our emotions. Anger, irritability, and frustration are all signs that our Qi is not flowing smoothly. This is referred to as Liver Qi Stagnation, one of the most common imbalances treated by Eastern medicine practitioners in the United States.

Acupressure Points for Moving Qi

A popular treatment for the stress, anger, and frustration associated with Liver Qi Stagnation is known as the “four gates.” The four gates are the right and left side acupuncture points Lv 3–Liver 3 (Taichong) and Large LI 4–Large Intestine 4 (Hegu).

Together these four acupuncture points are thought to enhance the circulation of Qi and blood throughout the body and have a calming and analgesic effect. They are also used to alleviate pain.

Large Intestine 4 is located on the padded area of your hand between the thumb and index finger, between the first and second metacarpal bones. Massage this point with your thumb on both hands for approximately 30 seconds.

Liver 3 is located in a hollow on the top of your foot below the gap between your big toe and the next toe, between the 1st and 2nd metatarsal bones. To stimulate this point, place your right heel in the juncture between the bones that attach to the large and second toes and gently knead the point for approximately thirty seconds. Then switch sides to stimulate Lv 3 on your other foot.

Liver Qi Stagnation Signs and Symptoms
Here are some of the symptoms commonly associated with Liver Qi stagnation:

  • Pain or discomfort anywhere along the sides of the body

  • Depression

  • Mood swings

  • Sighing

  • Hiccups

  • Frustration

  • Inappropriate anger

  • Sensation of a lump in throat

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Bitter taste in mouth

  • Constipation

  • Abdominal pain and discomfort

  • Stomachache that improves after massage

  • Stomachache that worsens with anger

  • PMS with irritability or swollen breasts

  • Irregular or painful periods

  • Poor appetite

  • Churning sensation in stomach

Foods Used For Liver Qi Stagnation
These are just some of the foods that are believed to help Liver Qi stagnation:

  • Milk Thistle Tea

  • Garlic

  • Turmeric

  • Cherries

  • Chicken

  • Tofu

  • Mustard seed

  • Squash

  • Sweet potato

  • Red and black dates

  • Caraway seed

  • Spearmint

  • Oregano

  • Red bean

  • Sweet basil

  • Saffron


Acupuncture May be Effective Treatment for Tinnitus

By: University of Michigan Health System

Do your ears ring after a loud concert” Nerves that sense touch in your face and neck may be behind the racket in your brain, University of Michigan researchers say.
Touch-sensing nerve cells step up their activity in the brain after hearing cells are damaged, a study by U-M Kresge Hearing Research Institute scientists shows. Hyperactivity of these touch-sensing neurons likely plays an important role in tinnitus, often called “ringing in the ears.” The study, now online in the European Journal of Neuroscience, will appear in the journal’s first January issue.
The research findings were made in animals, but they suggest that available treatments such as acupuncture, if used to target nerves in the head and neck, may provide relief for some people plagued by tinnitus, says Susan E. Shore, Ph.D., lead author of the study and research professor in the Department of Otolaryngology and the Kresge Hearing Research Institute at the U-M Medical School.
People with tinnitus sense ringing or other sounds in their ears or head when there is no outside source. Whether it’s mild and intermittent or chronic and severe, tinnitus affects about one in 10 people. An estimated 13 million people in Western Europe and the United States seek medical advice for it. It is a growing problem for war veterans. Since 2000, the number of veterans receiving service-connected disability for tinnitus has increased by at least 18 percent each year, according to the American Tinnitus Association.
Increasing numbers of baby boomers are also finding that when they can’t hear as well as they used to, tinnitus seems to move in. The condition commonly occurs with hearing loss, but also after head or neck trauma such as whiplash or dental work.
Tinnitus varies in individuals from a faint, high-pitched tone to whooshing ocean waves to annoying cricket-like chirping or screeching brakes. For some, it is constant and debilitating.
Some people, oddly enough, find that if they clench the jaw or press on the face or neck, they can temporarily stop tinnitus, or in some cases bring it on. To understand tinnitus and its strange link to touch sensations, Shore and her research team have conducted a series of studies in guinea pigs, measuring nerve activity in a part of the brain called the dorsal cochlear nucleus that processes auditory and other signals.
In normal hearing, the dorsal cochlear nucleus is the first stop in the brain for sound signals arriving from the ear via the auditory nerve. It’s also a hub where “multitasking” neurons process sensory signals from other parts of the brain.
“In this study, we showed that when there is a hearing loss, other parts of the brain that normally convey signals to the cochlear nucleus have an enhanced effect,” says Shore, who is also an associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at the U-M Medical School.
“When you take one source of excitation away, another source comes in to make up for it. The somatosensory system is coming in, but may overcompensate and help cause tinnitus,” she says.
The somatosensory system is a nerve network in the body that provides information to the brain about touch, vibration, skin temperature and pain. The part of the system that provides sensations from the face and head, called the trigeminal system, brings signals to the cochlear nucleus that help us hear and speak.
But when people experience hearing loss or some other event, such as having a cavity filled or a tooth implanted, these neurons from the face and head can respond like overly helpful relatives in a family crisis. The resulting neuron firings in the cochlear nucleus, like too many phone calls, create the din of tinnitus, a “phantom sound” produced in the brain.
In the study, Shore and the paper’s second author Seth Koehler, a U-M Ph.D. student in the U-M departments of Otolaryngology and Biomedical Engineering measured the patterns of activity of neurons in the brains of normal and deafened guinea pigs. They used a 16-electrode array to measure signals from the trigeminal nerve and multisensory neurons in the dorsal cochlear nucleus. When they compared results in the two groups, they found clear differences in trigeminal nerve activity.
“The study shows that in deafened animals, the somatosensory response is much stronger than in animals with normal hearing,” Shore says.
Shore’s research team knew from earlier research that some neurons in the cochlear nucleus become hyperactive after hearing damage, and this hyperactivity has been linked to tinnitus in animals.
“This study shows that it is only those neurons that receive somatosensory input that become hyperactive,” she says, which should make the search for treatments for tinnitus in some people more straightforward.
Many people with temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), a condition that causes frequent pain in the jaw, experience tinnitus. Shore’s research could lead to a better understanding of this link. In people with TMJ, the somatosensory system is disrupted and inflamed. Shore says that it’s possible that in this situation, as in hearing loss, somatosensory neurons stir excessive neuron activity in the cochlear nucleus.

Kidney Concerns


IC symptoms include extreme pain in their pelvic area, frequency, low energy, and weakness in their lower back area and discomfort in the inner thigh area. This is a typical kidney deficiency.


1. IC patients are not all the same and fall into two different categories. 70 – 80% of them are cold IC patients. Their hands and feet are icy cold. They look pale. They don’t want to drink a lot of water. They may feel relief after urination. Emotionally, they express more feelings of depression than anxiety. This is a group of kidney Yang energy deficient syndrome patients. The sign is their cold hands and feet.


2. About 20% of the patients are hot IC patients. Instead of icy cold hands, their hands and feet are kind of warm. They are thirsty and drink a lot of water. They may not feel empty or relief after urination. Emotionally they express more feelings of anxiety than depression. This is a group of kidney Yin energy deficient syndrome patients. The sigh is their hands are warm. This group of IC patients seems to have a more sensitive bladder. They are allergic to many things and even the basic nutrients make them flare up.



In Oriental medicine, the kidney is a place of storage of the congenital energy known as Qi. Its function is to excrete waste through the urine. The kidney is the original source of energy in the body for growth and function. It is not difficult to understand why IC patients are exhausted. The basic theory is that the kidney and bladder work as a pair in function. The kidney is the controller and the bladder is the executive organ. In Chinese medicine, chronic bladder disorders are due to kidney dysfunction.



The Chinese medicine explanation of IC symptoms is the following: Pain and burning are experienced because of the meridian blockage of both the bladder and kidney and thus the Qi can not flow through the meridian. The frequency is caused by the lack of power in the kidney which causes the bladder to be out of control. The discomfort in the inner thigh area is because this is the pass way of that meridian. The weakness in the lower back is on the location of the blocked meridian. The dizziness and ear ringing is because the ears are the opening of the kidney meridian.