What are your organs really doing?
Chinese Medicine believes our organs have more than physical responsibilities: they sit on an energetic and emotional level and inter-relate with one another. It is important to note that emotions and energetics have an impact on your physical health – look after your emotions and Qi and you'll help protect yourself from illness. Tackle issues when they are still at emotional or energetic level and they'll be much easier to rectify.
So, the minute you realise that your emotions and Qi are attached to your organs you can start healing yourself because you can support the relevant organs. Our emotions are the most fragile part of our bodies. We (and indeed all Chinese Medicine practitioners) believe our emotions are every bit as important as our physical self - and if unchecked and misunderstood, they tend to rule our life - especially the more emotional amongst us.
Luckily, we have a period of grace before this emotional pain or disturbed Qi presents as physical pain. Get in there early and we can avoid the problem getting a foothold into the body and impacting that organ, and so avoiding a deterioration of health. The basic Hayo'u Method is a great catch-all to support the general function of the body. If you have symptoms that are already presenting, you'll find that they will gradually ease. We can help you through this step by step - but if you have medical concerns please also seek expert advice.
If you think about it, the notion that our emotions and Qi are connected with our organs is not new to us. Across the world, the heart is equated with love. We talk about being green with envy’, being ‘worried sick’, ‘frozen with fear’ or ‘choked up with grief’.
In Chinese Medicine we attribute emotional responsibilities to each organ, alongside the physical and energetic ones. It is an important difference. Just as the heart is in charge of love, the health of all your organs has a profound impact on your emotional, and therefore physical, health. Understanding your organs and how they function is key to understanding how stress is impacting your body and why the symptoms you experience are occurring. Then, you can follow our simple, everyday practices based on Qi Gong and Tui Na to tackle the issues at root level.
Almost all the patients I introduce to Chinese Medicine embrace this new concept with excitement. Because although it's a lot to get your head around - especially when you've never considered your health and emotions in these terms - once you understand your presenting symptom in relation to an organ, it all suddenly makes perfect sense.
The kidneys have many functions in Chinese Medicine over and above processing urine. Bone management to make the marrow that produces red blood cells is one, the overall ageing process is another. In fact, the kidney is known as the ‘Minister of Power’ and is regarded as the body’s most important reservoir of essential energy. Also known as the ‘Root of Life’, in Chinese culture people really pay attention to their kidneys. The main issue is energetic depletion. They are attributed with a role of managing your constitutional health’ – what keeps you going when you skipped breakfast or had a dreadful night’s sleep or why you never catch other people’s colds, or always do…
The body’s intelligence is staggering. It has a myriad of coping mechanisms that we would refer to as symptoms to ensure it stays alive. The energy inside every cell of the body is key to our very existence. So when we get low on energy, the body pulls what remains inwards away from the muscles of the limbs to preserve the key organs. As muscles (along with bones) are the key components of the limbs they start to weaken. It’s why muscle pain is such a common problem as we get older and why it is a key symptom in non-active muscle-related conditions such as chronic fatigue or ME. Looking after your kidneys is key. They are depleted by cold – so not covering them with clothing is bad for their health. Your kidneys are also responsible for your fertility so too much sexual activity (men) or multiple pregnancies (women) will take their toll too.
Signs of kidney imbalance
Dizziness, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, deafness, night sweats, back pain, urine issues, fear, sexual dysfunction.
Extra help for your kidneys
Focus on the small of your back when drumming during the Reset Ritual and Gua Sha your lower back as part of your Body Restorer Ritual. Mindful bathing is a fantastic support to your constitutional health.
The lungs are more than just the respiratory system; they control sadness and grief too. They govern the Qi in the body and have a close connection to the skin, sinuses and large intestine.
If your lungs are healthy, you’ll feel full of vitality. You'll have a sense of softness and fullness in the chest, strong lungs and a clear powerful voice. Immunity is strong, so you'll find you don't get sick very often, your skin will be glossy and your complexion glowing. It will also show in how you present yourself to the world, by way of expansive gestures, a forthright gaze and clear presence. Someone with strong lung energy usually evokes a response of admiration and respect in another.
If your lungs are weak, you'll be low on vitality and your immunity will be poor. Breath may be shallow, not expanding the lower part of the lungs or the sides, and there may be respiratory problems. Your skin may appear lacklustre and your circulation may be poor. Emotionally you may hold back and be prone to sadness. There may be lack of self-esteem, harsh judgment of both self and others and failure to respect or understand boundaries.
Signs of lung imbalance
Shortness of breath, cough, weak voice, daytime sweats, low immunity, tickly throat, dry mouth, stools too dry or too loose.
Extra help for your lungs
In Chinese medicine the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi and blood around the body. If not balanced, this doesn’t happen and it starts to cause blockages (stagnate) and you feel pain. This stagnation will often build up in places such as the muscles, as the energetic pathways circulate within them. Firstly, address why the liver is being disturbed. The usual culprit is too much toxicity, which the liver has to endlessly clean out. Looking after your liver is key to overall good health and helping your muscles.
The liver controls the amount of blood in circulation to engender a harmonious, unrestricted flow of Qi throughout the system. It acts as the planner for all the functions of the body and when healthy, regulates sleeping rhythms, ensures proper vision and allows the emotions to be in proper balance.
Signs of liver imbalance
Feeling very emotional and irritable, lack of energy, neck and shoulder pain or stiffness, insomnia and vivid dreams, dry, red, itchy eyes, period pain, heartburn (acid reflux), sciatic pain, dizziness, irritability, headache at sides of head.
Symptoms related to the liver are usually closely related to the emotions. A weak liver can make someone more easily stressed, angry or depressed. Liver-related symptoms are often worsened by emotional stress.
Extra help for your liver
Pay specific attention to drumming your liver area when practising our Reset Ritual. This will help unblock any stagnation and ensure good flow of Qi and blood. Also, concentrate on directing a smiling breath into the liver area during our Rescue Breath Ritual.
The digestive system is responsible for the production of Qi and blood in the body. Blood in both Western and Chinese Medicine is known to take nourishment to the muscles and carry away waste product. Thus the health of the digestive system is key to ensuring a healthy supply of Qi and blood to all muscles of the body. This system is often sabotaged by our modern lifestyle. Imbalanced diets, eating late at night, dieting, climate, stress, worry, ice in drinks, snacking, work environments restricting bowel movements – the list is endless. As with the liver, understanding how to look after your digestion properly is key to the health of your muscles.
Signs of a weak digestion
No or abnormal appetite, abdominal distention after eating, fatigue, sallow complexion, anxiety, loose stools, heavy, cold or swollen limbs, a tendency to bruise.
How to support your spleen emotionally
The function of the heart in Western Medicine is to pump blood and maintain life. However, in Chinese Medicine the heart feels and responds to love. The heart is the source of joy, happiness and emotional protection, providing intimacy, generosity and open-heartedness. However, emotional vulnerability is a major issue. When the heart is healthy, it pumps blood vigorously through the vessels to all parts of the body, nourishing the organs and maintaining vitality. Properly nourished and balanced, the heart maintains our innate wisdom, contentment, and emotional balance.
The heart houses the Shen (spirit) and mind. This function encompasses the full range of human consciousness, including emotional health, mental function, memory and spirituality.
According to Chinese Medicine, the heart is considered to be the supreme governor and is in control of all the other organs in the body. It also:
- Circulates blood and controls the blood vessels
- Regulates the mind
- Ensures every organ is working
- Controls joy
- Allows radiation of our heart spirit in to the world
Signs of heart imbalance
Palpitations, shortness of breath, pale face, fatigue, insomnia, memory loss, anxiety, dizziness, chest pain, tongue pain, and burning urine.
Support your heart emotionally
Practise drumming your chest, right in the middle of your chest, during the Reset Ritual. This is where your thymus gland sits and will help boost your immunity. Gua Sha your chest as part of our Body Restorer Ritual, and focus on positivity of smile during the Rescue Breath Ritual Mindful bathing with our mineral rich Bath-rite bath minerals will help imbue a sense of calm and lift your Shen.
Don't worry if it's not obvious which of your organs need support – if you manage even a couple of minutes to do our rituals on a daily basis, you'll be benefiting yourself enormously. This is because you will be encouraging your organs to function efficiently, ironing out any underlying imbalances. You'll notice the difference when your health starts to improve; we get so used to just putting up with little aches and pains that you may not even notice them until they start to disappear!
This advice is all accepted Chinese Medical Theory; however, it should not replace the advice of your GP.