Dr. Jeannette Kerns, AP, DOM, L.Ac., is a top acupuncturist in Florida and owner of East Lake Acupuncture and Soldier City Acupuncture in Saint Cloud, Florida. With a passion for helping others and an unwavering commitment to her patients, Dr. Kerns is a prime example of a true leader in healthcare. Dr. Kerns is well-known... more
Whenever Kerry Avery, one my favorite patients is feeling out of sorts she calls to tell me her Qi is in a wad and she needs some acupuncture to get her Qi sorted out. This never fails to make me smile. Qi, Chi or Chee (all pronounced the same...we like to use "Qi") can most certainly, get in wad.
"Qi in a wad" is actually a great way to describe the most common Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis in America - Liver Qi Stagnation. Liver what???? Yep, you read it correctly... Liver Qi Stagnation.
Never heard of it before? Well, the odds are you've had it, have it now or someone in your family or circle of friends has a raging case of Liver Qi Stagnation aka "Qi in a wad" and it's likely that after reading the symptoms below you'll forward this email to at least 5 friends you think need to have their Qi examined.
No, there nothing wrong with your liver (probably). Before you run out to get your liver enzymes checked and pick up a detox kit, let me explain...
Liver Qi Stagnation is a the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) term for "you i is in a wad" (hehehe, saying it never gets old) or in plain English...you're stressed out and you feel like you’re going to explode or 'lose it' if you're faced with one more deadline, meeting, demand, dirty diaper or past due bill.
You're cranky all the time and the dog hides when you come in the room, you feel like you do more snapping than laughing and your family checks your moods like it's a weather report. Sound familiar? If so you may have Liver Qi Stagnation, a TCM pattern involving imbalance in your Liver meridian. What if you have more than one member of the family suffering from Liver Qi Stagnation? It would be like living inside a powder keg.
Common signs and symptoms of Liver Qi Stagnation include but are not limited to:
- Neck and shoulder tension, which is worse with stress
- Irritability, mood swings, teenagers (ooops, did I say that?)
- Insomnia or restless sleep
- Tendency to sigh a lot (half of you just said "oh my God, that's me!)
- Tension headaches
- Depression and/or anxiety
- The sensation of something stuck in the throat when nothing is really there, which seems worse with stress (nope, you're not crazy after all)
- Fullness or heaviness in the chest with difficulty breathing deeply and likely to be worse when stressed
- Gastritis/IBS (gas, bloating, belching, cramps and/or alternating constipation diarrhea)
- Pain or distending sensation in the ribs, sides or flanks
- In more severe cases there may be dizziness and elevated blood pressure
- In women there will usually be menstrual cramps that alleviate once cycle starts (PMS) with possible breast tenderness or irregular cycles, uterine fibroids oand in severe cases endometriosis
- Acid reflux, G.E.R.D., acid indigestion, ulcers, heartburn
Acupuncture is an ideal way to tackle Liver Qi Stagnation and combined with Chinese medicine (herbs) it's often fairly easy to get sorted out. Western medicine has many pharmaceuticals that can treat a variety of the above symptoms, though you may have to take quite a few different pills, which your actual liver will not thank you for. Chinese medicine offers a variety of formulas that can help, but for the most part, ONE will do...Xiao Yao Wan (pronounced "Shh-ow Yow Wan"). Xiao Yao Wan addresses ALL of the symptoms above along with some that weren't included and is one of the most commonly prescribed formulas in China. For those with a tendency to become overheated easily, Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan may be a better option.
CAUTION: When Liver Qi Stagnation is allowed to progress over a long period of time it morphs into other, more serious patterns, often referred to as Liver Yang Rising, Liver Fire or Liver Wind and symptoms such as those listed below are added to the already unpleasant symptoms listed above. Finding balance again is possible, but the correct pattern diagnosis is vital, as is the correct Chinese herbal prescription.
We strongly advise against self-diagnosis...nothing good ever came from Googling your symptoms and if you're anything like me internet research begins with a sniffle and ends with malaria. The SLIGHTEST addition of a symptom may change the diagnosis, thereby making a completely different formula more appropriate. If you or someone you love has any combination of the symptoms listed above and ANY of the symptoms below, we recommend seeing an acupuncturist or Oriental Medicine physician for proper diagnosis and formula selection. More than one pattern may be present, requiring multiple formulas.
- Eye or muscle twitches or spasms
- Tendency towards angry outbursts (flying off the handle, road rage, etc.)
- Pounding or throbbing headaches in the temples, behind the eyes and/or back of the head
- Bitter taste in the mouth
- Red or sore eyes
- Dry mouth and throat, crave large amounts of cold liquids, possible dark, concentrated urine
- Tendency to feel warm and restless and/or the sensation of heat rushing to the head or face
- Sensation of pressure rising to the head and face when stressed, like your head will explode or you're going to "stroke out".
- Diarrhea triggered by stress, excitement or other emotions
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- More severe pain or chest pressure than listed above
- Sharp, stabbing pains in a fixed location (head, abdomen, limbs, etc.)
Where can I get this Chinese miracle pill?
If you live in the area of Saint Cloud, Florida you can stop by East Lake Acupuncture, or you You can get Xiao Yao Wan or Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan online or from many Asian markets that have a pharmacy.
WARNING: If you choose to buy Xiao Yao Wan online or OTC (over-the-counter) be aware that there is OTC strength and clinical/prescription strength Xiao Yao Wan, just as there are OTC and prescription strength pharmaceuticals ...Motrin is a good example. Also, cheap is never a good when it comes to herbs and is generally an indication of inferior processing and the presence of pesticides, heavy metals or other toxins.