Wood – Liver And Gall Bladder in Cosmetic Acupuncture

| October 7, 2011 | 0 Comments | 403 views

Wood – Liver And Gall Bladder in Cosmetic Acupuncture, The wood element is represented by the Liver and Gall Bladder organs. As with all the other elements, the organs of the wood element are also a very important influence on the Lungs and skin.
Like the Heart, the Liver has a close association with Blood – the Heart synthesizes Blood and the Liver stores and releases Blood. Blood here means red blood, which carries oxygen and nourishes and irrigates all tissues and the skin. Like Heart Blood deficiency, Liver Blood deficiency also causes paleness, dizziness and coldness ( Figure 3.18 ). But there are some small differences between the two. Let us make a comparison, as seen in Table 3.2 .

The Heart synthesizes red Blood and circulates for the entire body, whereas the Liver stores and releases Blood from the Blood vessels, assuring the Blood flows without stagnation. If the Heart synthesizes less Blood, the Liver will have less Blood to store. Therefore, when treating Heart or Liver Blood deficiency, it is first necessary to tonify Heart, in order to improve
Blood synthesis, and thereby the Blood quantity.

Liver Blood deficiency

Liver Blood deficiency is common in cosmetic and skin problems. The skin will be dry all over and both body hair and head hair are sparse and in a poor state of malnutrition. The skin rarely has one colour, and generally looks marbled between pink, blue and pale shades. The eyes look sunken and dry and the muscles and tendons will be weak, causing hyperextension of the joints. The person lacks power and looks exhausted and irritable. These patients come for a pampering when they come for treatment, and no amount of face lifting will help them to look fresh and young although energy treatment will.

I tell these patients that it is more important to treat their energy than their face. As cosmetic treatment is more expensive, four ordinary sessions are first carried out to build up the Blood and energy, following which cosmetic treatment will be very successful.

Fig 3.18 Liver Blood deficiency.

Fig 3.18 Liver Blood deficiency.

When I perform a cosmetic acupuncture session, I devote the fi rst 20 minutes to energy-balancing therapy. This makes the treatment more effective and longer lasting. But in the case of severe Liver Blood defi ciency, I think it is better that no face lifting is done for the fi rst four sessions. The patients arrive with high expectations, and we have to deliver! We cannot do this if their general energy state is too low. So we compromise, explain the reasons to the patient and build a good foundation to work on.

Points for tonifying Liver Blood defi ciency
~ Ren 14, UB 15, Liv 8.
~ UB 17, Sp 10, GB 39.
~ Iron supplement (I normally recommend Floradix – herbal iron formula).
~ Ren 6, St 36, Sp 6 and Lu 9 can be taken to improve general energy.
~ GB 34 can be used if muscles and tendons are very weak.

Liver yin deficiency and Liver-fire

Liver yin stores Blood within the Liver and the Blood vessels and Liver yang releases Blood for the use of all organs. When the Liver yin is deficient, it does not hold the Blood in the vessels and there may be delayed coagulation in the case of an injury. We often come across these patients when we treat with acupuncture.
When Liver yang is high and the yin weak (this is a serious imbalance in the Liver syndromes and is called Liver-fire or fire-heat in Liver), there may be excessive and spontaneous bleeding from any organ or tissue.

Fig 3.19 Liver yin deficiency.

Fig 3.19 Liver yin deficiency.

Liver yin deficiency ( Figure 3.19 ) can cause bleeding problems and Liver Blood deficiency means there are problems with the Blood itself. These are both reasons for Blood deficiency in the body and dry, poorly nourished skin.

As Table 3.3 shows, Liver yin deficiency shows more nervousness, tension, aggression and heat symptoms, while Liver Blood deficiency manifests more dryness, weakness, poor endurance, irritability and cold symptoms. Both can give rise to wind symptoms. Liver yin deficiency makes more wind–heat and Liver Blood deficiency makesmore wind–cold. Liver Blood deficiency quite often causes wind symptoms, whereas Liver yin deficiency causes heat to rise – and this heat stirs the wind. A common problem for patients requesting cosmetic acupuncture is deep wrinkles on the forehead and between eyebrows. Botox injection is a short-term solution for these wrinkles, but this would cause temporary paralysis of the muscles in this area and affect the sinuses.We can treat these wrinkles reasonably well with acupuncture, or we can treat this area before the patient recovers from the effect of botox. But these wrinkles can return as sure as the patient returns for botox injections. We have to address the cause for the wrinkles particularly in this special area. Does the patient wrinkle up the forehead because they are tensed or stressed? Do they have a problem with seeing properly? Some patients are too vain to wear glasses, but have to tighten all the muscles around the eyes in order to see. Do they have a chronic allergic rhinitis or sinusitis that makes them tense up their facial muscles? As the forehead is also related to the Stomach, do they have a Stomach problem?

Not everyone who has stress is tense and nervous. Not everyone who is tense and nervous is suffering from excessive stress. It is the tolerance and attitude to stress that matters. In a Liver yang-dominant situation there is more muscle tension. But it is possible for the person to relax. The lower the Liver yin gets, the longer it takes for the person to be able to relax. So those who are Liver yin-deficient are nearly always tensed and stressed regardless of how much work they have to do, and if they go on holiday it takes them a few days before they can begin to relax.


When a patient has a body language depicting stress and tension we should address this at the same time as we treat the wrinkles. It is necessary to tonify Liver yin, give some calming points, and treat the eyes or sinuses accordingly. In this way, the treatment of the wrinkles will be successful for a longer time.

Points to tonify Liver yin against stress and tension
~ Liv 5, Lu 1, UB 13, Lu 7, P 6, Ren 14, UB 15 – the Mu-front and Back-Shu points of Heart and Lung are given in order to tonify the general energy state of the upper warmer, which is very successful in treating tension in the neck and face. These points are more useful on pale-faced rather than red-faced patients.
~ Du 20, UB 62.
~ Ex 2 (Tai yang), GB 14 for the eyes.
~ Ex 1 (yin Tang), and LI 20 or St 3 and UB 2 for the nose and sinuses.
~ GB 20 in both the above cases.
~ Sp 10, UB 17 in allergic conditions.
~ St 40 when there is excessive mucus. Iron supplement (I normally recommend Floradix – herbal iron formula).
~ Ren 6, St 36, Sp 6 and Lu 9 can be taken to improve general energy.
~ GB 34 can be used if muscles and tendons are very weak.

Liver Qi and Liver wind

Wind is a movement of Qi, which makes possible the flow of Blood, energy and fluid in the body. The free movement of Liver Blood is very important for the skin and all other tissues. This free flow is achieved by Liver Qi, which is also called wind. Wind is often characterized as a pathogenic factor, but this is not strictly true. Wind is not always a pathogenic factor. Breeze would be a gentle version of wind, and this is necessary in creating movement in Blood, fluid and energy in the body. Imagine 50 people in a room with closed windows.

It would be very stuffy and everyone would want the windows and doors to be opened to enable the air to circulate. Many diseases, including skin diseases, improve in a seaside environment. Wind can therefore be therapeutic in removing energy blocks and stagnation in blood or fluid flow. When it is not possible to have exterior wind help us with this free flow, the Liver generates interior wind in order to keep this free flow. To keep the Blood, energy and fluid moving freely is a very important function indeed.

Liver Qi deficiency and Liver Qi stagnation

When the Liver Qi is deficient, there could appear many blocks in energy or Blood flow – such as ‘ globus ’ (foreign body in throat sensation), blocked emotions, constipation, localized oedema, varicose veins, blood stagnation causing muscle pain, dysmenorrhoea and even unequal muscle tension in the two sides of the body ( Figure 3.20 A).

Liver Qi is generated in the interior through sports and harmonious exercises such as Tai Qi, Qi Gong and others. Also, slow stretching exercises such as pilates are good. The Liver Qi especially helps with the venous blood flow, the Heart helps with the arterial blood flow and the Spleen with capillary blood flow. Scientific evidence shows that people who are active and fidgety have fewer problems with their Heart and circulation. They certainly have more mobility and fewer locomotive problems. The Liver Qi is also important for the vessel tension and for maintaining good blood pressure.

The Liver Qi helps us to deal with anger in a healthy way. Those with a good Liver Qi can be assertive and reasonable, and at the same time convey their disagreement or dissatisfaction in a constructive way. Those who have a Liver Qi deficiency will bottle up their anger while they become introverted and withdrawn while ruminating on their feelings. These bottled-up emotions will gradually build up and manifest in other symptoms such as hypertension, headaches, neurodermatitis, urticaria or bronchial asthma.

The syndrome diagnosis of Liver Qi stagnation is a very popular one. Every therapist makes this diagnosis with every Liver symptom when they are having difficulties diagnosing it. The problems begin when our picture

Fig 3.20 (A) Liver Qi deficiency; (B) Liver Qi stagnation.

Fig 3.20 (A) Liver Qi deficiency; (B) Liver Qi stagnation.

of imbalance is not clear as the treatment to balance it will then not be appropriate. These symptoms are demonstrated below.

The first tower above resembles symptoms of Liver Qi stagnation, but is actually caused by Liver Qi deficiency. The following points will treat this situation effectively.

Points against Liver Qi stagnation caused by Liver Qi defi ciency
~ UB 18 – Back-Shu of Liver to improve its function.
~ GB 37 – the Luo-connecting point, which will remove stagnation.
~ LI 4the great eliminator, which will help eliminate blocked anger and frustration.
~ St 40 – symptomatic point to circulate dampness. Another representation of Liver Qi stagnation is shown below.

Another representation of Liver Qi stagnation is shown below.

There can be an energy accumulation

There can be an energy accumulation


Points against Liver Qi stagnation with excessive Qi
~ Local wind elimination points (p. 74) with wind elimination sedation technique (p. 79).
~ Heat-elimination technique (p. 77) on local points.
~ Liv 3 – Yuan source point to harmonize Liver.
~ Liv 14 – Mu-front point to cool and calm the Liver.
~ LI 4, St 25 – to eliminate fullness in middle warmer.
~ Sp 6 – ideally with descending technique (p. 80) to descend the ascending Qi.
~ Ren 3 – also to bring focus to the lower warmer.

Excessive Liver wind

Liver wind can rise for many reasons:
~ Liver Blood deficiency .
~ Liver yang excess stirring wind–heat .
~ Liver Qi stagnation.

Liver Wind rising due to Liver Blood defi ciency

Liver Wind rising due to Liver Blood defi ciency

This is a common cause of chronic fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, particularly in women. Blood deficiency is more common in women than in men, because women lose Blood regularly through menstruation, and also through childbirth. They also tend to work around the clock, working at their job, running the home and looking after the children.
There seems to be more demands on their energy and less rest and nutrition to fill their essence. As a result, the Blood becomes deficient and this can bring about a recurrent rising of wind.Liver yang can rise because of many reasons – for example anger, excessive alcohol or excessive irritation to the eyes through prolonged looking at a computer screen or colour television. When the yang rises, it will irritate the wind, causing wind–heat symptoms. These are often redness, itching or burning eyes and skin, neck tension and headaches and sneezing attacks with a blocked nose. The wind causes red blotchiness of skin, irritability and wandering pains.

Liver yang excess stirring Liver wind

Liver yang excess stirring Liver wind

Liver Qi stagnation (both Liver Qi stagnation and Liver Qi deficiency)

These are two conditions with Liver Qi stagnation symptoms that I have previously described. In both conditions the Liver Qi rises from the middle to the upper warmer, causing pent-up emotions, extreme tension, headache, hypertension, urticaria and neurodermatitis. These are wind symptoms manifesting in Liver and in other organs which are attacked by the Liver wind.
Wind symptoms may be:
~ Irritating – itching, sneezing, irritation caused by light or sound, aversion to wind on skin and emotional irritability.
~ Wandering – skin lesions or pain areas seem to wander around the body and are not fixed to one area.
~ Paroxysmal – symptoms appear and disappear suddenly (allergic reactions, colicky pains and epileptic fits are examples).
~ Blocking – a sudden wind symptom can cause an acute bi-syndrome (obstruction in a meridian flow, causing pain) or a wind stroke (onesided paralysis).
Many skin diseases cause itching and have wandering lesions. We often see patients with more tension on one side of the face than the other and many patients have faces screwed up in pain and want to look pretty. Wherever possible, we should eliminate wind, disperse heat and alleviate pain. It is a tall order, and as long as we remember that we are treating the person as a whole and not just their face, we can fulfil our task reasonably well.

On p. 44 I have explained why wind sometimes attacks the Heart and at other times the Lungs and the skin. I do not want to go into that again. What is necessary to remember here is that wind is of a yang nature and even though it originates in the Liver it will attack wherever there is a yinor Blood deficiency. When the skin is attacked by wind, we should treat it by eliminating the wind from this area, and also by tonifying the Blood or yin, depending on which is deficient.


Let us consider a case of neurodermatitis in the face, neck and arms. The lesions are flat, reddish and wandering. The skin is dry and peeling; it feels tight like a mask. The itching worsens in heat and under bedcovers. The patient is restless and nervous and has problems with sleeping. The tongue shows some cracks at the centre and red papillae at the tip.

This is evidently a case of Lung yin defi ciency with wind–heat on the skin. The nervousness seems to be from Liver yin defi ciency and the Liver yang is making the wind rise and attack the Lung, which has a yin defi ciency.
The treatment would be:
~ Balance Liver – sedate GB 40 and tonify Liv 5 (tonify yin/sedate yang).
~ GB 20, SI 12, UB 12 points with wind elimination sedation.
~ Tonify Lung yin with Lu 1, Lu 8, Ren 17 and perhaps K 10.
~ Wind elimination points and techniques are described on p. 78.

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Category: Cosmetic Acupuncture

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