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Spring and Your Gallbladder

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

Spring is the season of the Liver and Gallbladder

man holding a hologram of a gallbladder

Now, it is important to note that from a Chinese Medicine perspective, when we talk about a particular organ, such as the liver or gallbladder, we are not talking about the physical organ that sits inside your body. Rather, we are talking about a complex system that flows within particular pathways and has a particular physiological function.

The gallbladder is one of the most commonly treated yang organ meridians we treat with acupuncture.

Each system, or meridian, in Chinese medicine is designated as either yin or yang. Very generally speaking, the yin organ systems store vital substances, whereas yang organ systems fill and empty themselves more dynamically. Each yin organ system is paired with a yang organ system and vice versa. In modern acupuncture practice, we as acupuncturists speak a lot of the yin organs, but the yang systems are very important too.

In Chinese Medicine, one of the essential functions of the gallbladder system is to control the flow of bile. This is its yang organ function of filling and emptying. Each yang organ is paired with a yin organ - the gallbladder is paired with the liver. The liver and gallbladder work together on many physiological functions, including bile production and excretion.

The gallbladder system controls ligaments and tendons.

woman with muscle tape on her knee

Thus, points on the gallbladder meridian are often treated for any sort of soft tissue injuries, such as tendonitis, muscle sprains, strains, and tendon tears. The gallbladder meridian itself runs along the sides of the body - making it doubly useful for musculoskeletal pain affecting the neck, shoulders, ribs, lateral abdominals, hips, IT bands, knees, shins, and ankles.

On a mental-emotional level, the gallbladder system is related to decisiveness and courage. A strong gallbladder gives us the ability to make decisions, and the courage to see them through. A weak gallbladder leads to lots of second-guessing, timidity, and fearfulness.

man holding cup of coffee and staring out the window

On both a physical and a mental/emotional level, the gallbladder is about stability and the boundaries of self. Physically, the gallbladder meridian traverses the borders of our body - when its function is impaired, musculoskeletal problems easily arise and our balance and equilibrium are weakened. Emotionally, a weak gallbladder means our sense of self is endangered - we are unable to fight for what we believe in, we waver in our opinions and we are apprehensive about our interactions with the outer world.

Nourishing the Liver and Gallbladder with Food

Luckily, thanks to the gallbladder’s close relationship with the liver, any liver-nourishing foods will benefit the gallbladder as well such as liver, mustard greens, goji berries, beets, broccoli, and sprouts. Because the gallbladder is closely tied to digestive function through bile production, when trying to balance the gallbladder energy, it is important to limit fried and greasy foods, as well as dairy, sugar, caffeine, or highly acidic foods.

bright array of fresh vegetables

Lifestyle Adaptations for Liver and Gallbladder Health

1. Move

Of all the systems in the body, the gallbladder system perhaps craves

movement the most. The gallbladder meridian will become cranky and painful

with a lack of movement. So do your best to incorporate some sort of exercise

each day.

2. Stretch

Stretching enlivens the connective tissue, which the gallbladder system controls. Take a yoga class, or devote some extra time to stretching post-workout. In particular, try to incorporate stretches that get to the sides of your body, as this is gallbladder meridian territory.

3. Work out the muscle knots

Use massage, acupuncture, or foam rolling to break up adhesions in the connective tissue of the neck, shoulders, or back. Physically, this will help you to recover more quickly after exercise and help alleviate pain and tension. Emotionally, it may also let you free from old emotions, as emotions are often stored in the body in the form of tension, knots, and pain. Releasing those knots, particularly along the gallbladder meridian, can help you find strength and flexibility you didn’t know you had.

Yours in health and wellness,

If you or someone you love needs help with their Gallbladder, give us a call or click to book your

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