The Liver

The Liver

Most Americans associate liver health with alcohol, but are unaware of the vital role it plays on our health. It hasn’t always been that way however, in fact throughout history, different cultures have recognized the liver’s influence on both physical and emotional well-being. In ancient Greece, the liver was considered the seat of life and human feelings. The Germanic term “lifere” was initially connected to “life,” underscoring the relation of the liver to health and existence. Even today in Italy, when people are angered, they’ll often exclaim “mi fa venire un fegato grosso così!” which loosely translates to “you are making my liver big!”

Liver dysfunction can be differentiated into two types. The first, frank pathology, includes diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, and fatty liver. The second type can be described as functional overload conditions. While less grave than in their impact, functional conditions have potential to become death-causing disease processes over time.

The liver is essential for digesting food and ridding your body of toxic substances, however it does much more. In fact, the liver is involved in over 500 known bodily functions. Consequently, a liver that is stressed can have wide-ranging health ramifications.  

Some of the classic signs of liver involvement include:

In Chinese medicine, the liver is analogous to the general of the army, maintaining evenness and harmony of movement throughout the body. When the liver becomes overladen, energy and blood flow stagnate, and smooth movement is replaced by sudden jumps of energy (“flying off the handle”). 

Everything we absorb through the small intestine will pass through the liver before proceeding to the rest of the body. Common dietary offenders include alcohol, caffeine, excess starches, and sugars. Recreational drugs such as marijuana (THC), or psychedelic mushrooms (psilocybin), are particularly noxious, as are prescription, and over-the-counter medications. 

In today’s civilized society, the liver is overworked in most people. The doctor using Applied Kinesiology has the advantage of detecting liver stress before serious damage sets in. With the appropriate therapies and lifestyle modifications, our livers are able to regenerate, and contribute to longevity, health, and happiness.