Many people will have had an enjoyable festive break but others it will have been a stressful time. For many a festive drink of alcohol and eating rich food will have made the occasion more enjoyable for others it will have caused an aftermath of misery.
The great thing about the start of a New Year it’s a chance to reflect of the what’s good and what’s bad about your life and stick with what’s good and try to change what’s bad.
A chance to improve our lifestyle, our living conditions, our friendships and our relationships as well as our sense of purpose.
Banksy put up four new pieces in London two years ago. One on the side of National Gallery, one in Bell Lane near Liverpool St. Station, one on Wapping High Street – all which were buffed/removed very quickly indeed, but give the message….
Perhaps one answer to many of your problems could be to
LOOK AFTER YOUR LIVER
What does the liver do?
Your liver is the biggest organ inside your body and does hundreds of essential jobs.
- Fighting infection and disease
- Destroying poisons and drugs (including alcohol)
- Cleaning the blood
- Controlling the amount of cholesterol
- Processing food once it has been digested
watch this video found on the website
Liver Health from TCM Perspective
Since I have studied Traditional Chinese Medicine I have been fascinated how this completes the effects of disease and how the major organs effect the rest of the body and the mind.
The Liver(Chinese: 肝; pinyin: gān)
The Liver in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a very important organ. The Liver in TCM has very different functions than the liver in western medicine. In western medicine, some of the functions are to produce certain proteins for blood plasma, regulate blood clotting and resist infections by producing immune factors and removing bacteria from the blood stream. In Chinese medicine, the liver has 6 main functions and they are as follows:
• Regulate Qi (energy)
• Open in eyes
• Stores blood
• Controls tendons and sinews
• Manifests in nails
• Houses ethereal soul
This prime aspect of the liver can have great affect on three aspects of the body: the emotions, digestion, and the free flow of blood.
1) Strongly effects emotions
If Liver function is normal, people will have smooth flowing emotional states favoring happiness. If the flow of Qi is stagnated or stuck, they will experience frustration, depression, irritability or anger. Various pre-menstrual syndrome symptoms will also arise such as irregular or painful periods, mood swings and breast tenderness.
The Liver is the organ system most affected by suppressed emotions. Therefore not dealing with your triggers and emotions for a long time can lead to “Liver Qi Stagnation” and eventually pathologies of other body organs.
2) Affects the digestion of food
If the Qi is not flowing smoothly (i.e. from emotions), the digestion system will have trouble performing their functions. If the Liver Qi is stagnated it can affect the Stomach causing nausea, vomiting and belching. It can also affect the Spleen and cause diarrhea.
3) Blood Flow
The relationship between blood and qi (energy) is very close and they always move together. The blood cannot go where the qi does not. If the free flow of the qi is stagnated by the liver, the blood will stagnate as well. The stagnation of liver qi will still cause stagnation of blood, which will lead to the gynecological symptoms.
I remember a patient coming to the surgery with very sore eyes which she was causing her great distress. On examination there was no obvious problem and as a Western doctor I could offer no treatment. I decided to take a TCM history and as her eyes were the problem I focused on symptoms and examination accordingly. When I asked her about her menstruation she claimed she was late but definitely not pregnant, she had no appetite and had a dull ache in her upper abdomen and chest. Then I asked her about her emotions and she changed from a softly spoken, refined young women and started to cry and become very angry. Eventually she related the story of how she worked in a small boutique and there had been a robbery and she had been held a gunpoint and although she was not hurt she was extremely angry that her boss was not installing a panic alarm and safety catch on the door.
I examined her tongue and pulse (important features of a TCM examination) and diagnosed Liver Qi stagnation with fire due to the symptoms she presented and her red tip and sides of tongue as well as a wiry pulse.
The treatment for her eyes was to deal with her anger by getting her work situation sorted out as this from a TCM perspective was causing her medical problems.
If you imagine someone having over indulged alcohol with their red eyes, emotionally labile, irritability, altered appetite and aching joints, staggering gait and poor sexual function – TCM will account for these features.
Liver disease is the fifth biggest – and fastest-growing – killer in the UK but a lack of obvious symptoms means it can be diagnosed at a late stage.
It works hard and can take a lot of abuse, but it is like an elastic band – it can only stretch so far before it breaks.
There are 3 main threats to the Liver
- Fatty diet
- viral Hepatitis
Andrew Langford, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, said: “Overindulging in fatty food too frequently, having an alcoholic drink every night and not making time for regular exercise are major contributing factors for liver disease.
“To repair the liver and keep it healthy, people need to take at least two to three consecutive days off alcohol every week, and drink within the recommended limits at other times, affecting a permanent lifestyle change.”
Only you know yourself if you can limit your drinking and it well established that some people are unable to do and need to abstain completely.
A long established organisation who can help called Alcoholics Anonymous is a group of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.
The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; they are self-supporting through their own contributions.
More information can be obtained on their website including the helpline and email address:-
If you are effected by someone else, a friend or relative who are drinking and need to share this with others in a similar situation the following website may be helpful:-
The daily papers have been focussing on alcohol and the fact that it has become as great a problem amongst women as men and all of its terrible effects and there is even an App to track your drinking and give you feedback. The NHS choices website will give you all this information as well as how to cope with a hangover and how many units are safe to drink each week.
There are two Charities that are promoting a dry January in an attempt to encourage those people, who feel that their drinking has got out of hand, to stop and think about the effects of their drinking and by taking on the challenge, lose a few pounds while saving money. Moreover, with no hangovers you can find time and energy you never knew you had, and discover how your skin will look nicer too. Get some support and encouragement from the following websites:-
By giving it a get thinking about your drinking and prove to yourself that you can say no to a tipple or two. Thousands of people took up the challenge last year and most decided to cut down for good as a result. Take a look at the website it gives recipes for mocktails and what to do when you fancy a drink!
Become a Dryathlete™ and give up alcohol for January. Clear your head, feel fitter, save money and raise funds to help beat cancer sooner.
Many people don’t appreciate that unhealthy eating leading to Obesity and diabetes which leads to fatty liver disease.
Figures from the charity show that a third of people in the UK with liver disease have obesity-related non alcoholic fatty liver disease.
The condition is behind a growing number of liver transplants and the problem is expected to get worse as obesity continues to rise.
Every time doctors get together to discuss Type 2 Diabetic who not well controlled and needing to start insulin the same advise from the diabetologists a is always:-
I have seen first hand on many occasions how a diabetic that follows this advise can come off ALL medical treatment……
I blogged about this several months ago
There are several viruses that cause hepatitis. The common ones are hepatitis A, B and C. Most people recover from hepatitis A with no lasting liver damage, but hepatitis B and C can cause long term liver disease and even liver cancer.
Hepatitis A is passed out in the bowel motions of an infected person, and is passed from person to person by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the virus due to poor hygiene standards . Most people feel better within a few weeks. The illness can be more severe in those who are old or who have other underlying conditions.
How to look after your liver.
There are vaccines available to protect against hepatitis A. Vaccination is recommended if you are travelling abroad outside Europe and the US, but you should also speak to your GP if you think you might be at risk because of your job or your lifestyle.
Both hepatitis B and C are easy to catch through blood to blood contact and very hard to get rid of. Even a tiny amount of dried blood – too small to be visible to the naked eye – is enough to pass on the infection if it gets into your blood stream.
This could be from sharing contaminated:
- equipment for injecting drugs (including steroids)
- tattoo, accupuncture or body piercing equipment
- medical or dental equipment
- razors, clippers, or toothbrushes
- through an open cut or wound.
Sex and passing the virus from mother to baby at birth, are also high risk factors for hepatitis B.
There are few symptoms of hepatitis B and C and people can be infected for many years without knowing, during which time liver damage can occur. An estimated five out of every six people with chronic hepatitis C are unaware of their infection.