Questions about treating repressed anger and how it relates to liver disease with acupuncture

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Questions about treating repressed anger and how it relates to liver disease with acupuncture

Published on 03-23-2010

"scifisharon" - this is their first post.

I am new to this so I hope I am doing it correctly. I saw someone else post a question about releasing anger with Acupuncture treatment. I am also interested in finding out more about repressed anger and it's affect on the liver and how it would best be treated with acupuncture. I am also interested in what concurrent treatments would be recommended to go along with Acupuncture such as herbs, therapy, other body work. Has anyone ever seen a person with Cirrhosis of the liver avoid deterioration to the point of needing a transplant. The goal would be to treat the condition and get the person well enough that they would not need a liver transplant. How effective is acupuncture in this type of situation? Is cirrhosis of the liver a condition that is too advanced for acupuncture to really do anything about? Is dealing with repressed anger the most important thing in a case like this? Any information would be appreciated. Thank you. Sharon

Comments / Discussions:

comment by "ChadD" (acupuncturist)
on Mar 2010

Cirrhosis and the whole variety of contributing factors such as hepatitis, alcohol abuse, etc. can all be aided with the acupuncture, herbs, therapy and lifestyle factors. From a pure medical perspective anger/repressed anger does not cause cirrhosis. From a Chinese perspective, however, the over or under expression of anger (the emotion of the liver system) can disrupt the liver system itself and can lead to poor functions of the system from a western and eastern perspective.

From a western perspective the liver organ itself is a very forgiving organ. It's ability to regenerate and to continue to function even with serious deterioration is unlike any other organs in the body. Technically the scarring that arises (cirrhosis) may not heal, but the function of the liver can be greatly improved and the process of cirrhosis can be stopped.

Acupuncture, Chinese herbal formulas, etc. are all very helpful, but perhaps the most important is certain lifestyle and dietary changes. Among these would be the complete or near complete avoidance of alcohol, great reductions of salt in the diet, avoiding fatty/greasy foods and opting instead for a whole foods based diet. Also understanding any complications from medicines you may be on and eliminating what you can of these.

With regards to repressed anger I would say this is probably not the most important part, but it is important. What is the most important to have proper western medical tests done to determine the cause of the cirrhosis and to meet with an acupuncturist in person to have them look you over and provide you with tailored treatment to your unique set of signs and symptoms. Acupuncture as a whole is not a generalist medicine, it will be tailored to you and because of this you will get better results.

Proper diagnosis is key to understanding and stopping the progression.

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comment by "anon57843"
on Mar 2010

The approach to this rather depends on the type of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine being used. Both 5 element and TCM recognise the pathogenic nature of repressed anger but, the role it plays carries a different emphasis in each discipline. 5 element would say that the repressed anger may well be responsible for the behaviour causing cirrhosis. This disease arises mainly from excessive alcohol intake, although some illnesses and medications cause it, too. Therefore, if the anger is supressed enough to create an illness, either requiring medication or not, it may lead to liver damage. Similarly, if the anger leads to excessive drinking, then no amount of surgery or medication will fix it - even a liver transplant will not 'treat' the anger itself. So, taking this view would say that, yes, treating the cause of anger as well as the effect of repressing it is vital. Of course, as my colleague points out, a thorough examination and diagnosis from an experienced allopathic medical practitioner is essential, and hopefully an integrated approach could be taken. If I had a patient consulting me with this problem, I would insist that they see a liver specialist before I treated them but, would also feel confident that acupuncture and Chinese medicine would be of significant benefit to them on a general health level as much as a specific one.

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comment by "sand"
on Mar 2010

this is a complex problem with a lot of chicken and egg type components. i write here as someone who has had to deal with them from the perspective of a patient and found that merely trying to work through issues of anger has no success at all with a body that is in too much distress. with the kind of liver distress described here, it would be very hard to know how much of the current symptoms are actually repressed anger and how much they are a distressed liver holding on to memories of anger as the only way to have a voice.

either way, addressing the liver's distress has to be the first step. without that, nothing else can help. if there is still a problem of repression, psychotherapy can be added to the treatment regimen once the liver's distress has been eased enough for the symptoms of anger to actually be able to go. this may be different within asian theories, made for asian cultures, where language is embodied differently from the way that english is here.

as a trained linguist, now long retired, who specialized in social dialects and cross-cultural communications who also married into an asian culture and has a eurasian son, i can speak with as much authority about this issue of cultures and language as chad speaks about the issue of treatment. we here in this mainstream culture are taught to forgive and forget in ways that leave our bodies abandoned to carry all of the burdens that we haven't dealt with mentally, emotionally, or spiritually and can't deal with logistically or socially.

this cultural version of repression goes deeper than the individual, personal versions, and it causes far more damage, both to individual health and to the social fabric as a whole. people who engage in it truly believe that they have forgiven and that the problems are or should be gone. it's our poor, suffering bodies that carry the traces, and treating our bodies often treats all that is left of that anger or fear, grief, or other emotions we don't willingly still carry.

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comment by "anon71867"
on Apr 2010

Five Element Theory does indicate that a relationship exusts between anger and the liver. But keep in mind that one cannot always translate such observations into the realm of a direct cause and effect relationship. Rather these are correspondences, related to changes in the movement movement of energy. For example, wood energy, associated with spring, moves in a rapidly upward rising direction, much as anger does when it is not held. In contrast, the native energy of the fall is descending, associated more with grief, apathy, and depression.

An imbalance in the elementary energies might have existed from birth, and thus be constitutional. If left unaddressed this could lead to the emotional and behavioral outcomes descirbed above and often associated with Cirrhosis of the liver, just as other emotions are often associated with other diseases.

In "real life" an individual who has repressed anger may have stored it in their kidneys as easily as in their liver - perhaps indicating fear of expressing anger with fear being the dominant emotion.

Our capacity for healing is greatly augmented when we participate fully in the process. In addition to acupuncture, there is much that can be done in the realm of mind/body disciplines to treat an energetic imbalance including repressed emotion.

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