Want to get to the root of your muscle tension, digestive upset, and emotional outbursts? It’s likely that you’re experiencing what we call “Liver Qi Stagnation” in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This is a blockage of vital energy in our body and the liver organ and channel is responsible for the free flow of energy. I’m going to teach you an acupressure protocol with therapeutic grade essential oils to help you with tension relief and liver energy balance Liver Qi stagnation. I think you’ll love this protocol since it is pleasurable to your senses and gives you fast acting results!
What Is Liver Qi Stagnation?
Liver Qi (pronounced “chee”) Stagnation is a Chinese Medicine condition that most people experience at least some of the time. When it’s blocked this shows that there is an imbalance in the liver organ and channel. It can result in pain and discomfort creating conditions such as:
- muscle tension, pain, & stiffness (particularly in the hips, around the ribs, shoulders, & neck)
- breast tenderness
- abdominal distention
- bowel changes (constipation, diarrhea, gas)
- frustration, anger, and moodiness
Basically, it covers all the symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)! So women experience Liver Qi Stagnation at least to some degree every single month if they are still menstruating.
There are some people who have a more “woodsy” constitution. Wood is the nature element associated with the Liver and Gallbladder organs and channels. People who have this constitution tend toward this type of imbalance whenever they’re not living in alignment.
However, the Liver and Gallbladder are also associated with spring. This means that we’re all under this influence as we transition out of winter, and if we have a hard time transitioning with the season, we can experience Liver Qi Stagnation too.
All of the branches of TCM can help create more balance in the liver and gallbladder organs and channels and relieve this tension. Remember the five branches are:
- Qigong energy healing
- Tuina massage
Massage, which includes acupressure is the easiest modality for you to be doing for yourself at home. The benefits of acupressure are enhanced when we combine them with therapeutic grade essential oils on the acupressure points.
Essential Oil Acupressure Protocol Setup
Below are the essential oils we’re using in our protocol.
All of these essential oils can be used neat. That means that they don’t need to be diluted. They are safe to use on your skin right out of the bottle.
Note: Blue Tansy is quite blue and may temporarily stain your skin. Pre-dilute it if you want to avoid that.
For each point below, just use one drop of oil on each acupressure point. Let your fingers rest on the point with the oil for about 30 seconds or so. Then round-rub the acupressure point afterwards for another 30 seconds to stimulate it further.
You’ll be getting the topical benefits of the oils penetrating into the skin and bloodstream, supporting the body through their chemical and energetic nature.
However, you’re also getting the aromatic benefits of these yummy smelling oils as you use them. When you smell the oils, there’s a huge impact on your mood, as they’re perceived by the limbic system of the brain.
Use this time to consciously let go of any stress you might be creating.
Another note: Large Intestine 4 and Liver 3 are contraindicated acupuncture points for pregnancy. In my opinion, it’s still perfectly safe to apply oils to these points, but you may want to ease up on the acupressure so that they’re not overly stimulated, just in case.
Essential Oils and Acupressure For Tension Relief and Regulating Liver Energy
Large Intestine 4 with Lavender
Large intestine 4 is an important point for the upper body. It helps to clear pain and tension in the neck, jaw, and face. It helps with headaches and toothaches. Obviously, it stimulates the large intestine, so can regulate constipation, diarrhea, and help with digestion in general.
Lavender essential oil is one of the most popular oils, known especially for it’s relaxing properties.
Liver 3 with Blue Tansy
Liver 3 is very strong in moving qi in the body. Both it and Large Intestine 4 together are called the 4 Gates, and are always used for pain conditions by acupuncturists. Liver three is very strong in helping to regulate hormones so definitely a point you’ll use with irregular menstruation or dealing with pms it could also help with abdominal distention pain around the ribs bloating eye strain so the liver is associated with the eyes and also vertigo and headaches
Blue tansy really moves the energy and blood in the body. It is a regulating oil, moving the energy where it needs to be to create balance.
Liver 14 with Cilantro
Liver 14 is right above the liver, under the breast, but there are points bilateral on both sides of the body. It helps with any distention and pain in the abdomen, chest, and around the ribs. The acupoint is also indicated for indigestion and acid reflux. It’s also a great mood point so we’ll help lift you out of depression, worry, and frustration.
Cilantro, you may already know, is a very strong herb for detoxifying the body. If you are doing a liver cleanse using cilantro on liver 14 is going to really support your body’s efforts. In addition to unburdening the liver of toxins, it can also help with blood sugar regulation and weight loss.
Yintang with Roman Chamomile
Yintang creates a calm mind and promotes relaxation, so supports better sleep. Again the eyes are associated with the liver. I chose it for this protocol since it helps with any eye strain in addition to vertigo, dizziness, runny nose, and allergy symptoms that are also related to Spring and the Liver.
Roman chamomile is very similar to yintang, as it’s a very calming oil. It’s so gentle that it’s perfect for babies, soothing them when they’re in distress. It still does the same for us adults!
Gallbladder 20 with Marjoram
Gallbladder 20 is at the base of the occiput on either side of the upper trapezius muscle. This point is really going to help with any neck pain. Some people get tension headaches around the occiput, so GB 20 can relieve them.
You’ve probably noticed that most of the points so far are focused on tension in the upper body. When the liver is out of balance and the Qi is stagnant, it tends to create heat and tension that rises upward. That’s why we feel so much pain up there, as well as around the liver and gallbladder channels in the front and sides of the body, and around the hips.
This is also an important point if you have allergies and can boost your immune system to help fight off respiratory infections. It also relieves nasal congestion, itchiness or redness of the eyes, shoulder mobility, dizziness, vertigo, and even convulsions.
Marjoram is a very relaxing essential oil that helps with nervous system regulation, inflammation, and muscular discomfort/pain. Definitely use it regularly if you experience chronic stress and hypertension.
Kidney 1 with Patchouli
Kidney 1 is the most grounding of all the acupressure points. It’s going to actively bring down all the tension and energy that was freed up from the previous points. Now it’s being brought down.
What’s interesting is that we tend to think the issue is in the head, neck, and shoulders when we are feeling pain and tension there. But in Chinese Medicine, we clearly see that it’s because energy is not harmonized. Because we don’t have enough grounding yin energy, the heat and tension can rise upward into the upper body.
Patchouli will help you ground your energy. It can also relieve “dampness”, so any water retention that may come with inflammation in the body. It’s the oil of physicality, so helps you feel embodied. It also promotes body positivity. Definitely include this oil in the protocol if you are wanting to lose weight.
Half of the points that we did in this protocol are actually in my free Stress Relieving Acupressure Guide, but half aren’t. I do think it’s valuable to have that as a separate resource since in it I talk a lot more about how to manage daily stress. You’ll get the guide for free when you sign up for my weekly newsletter.
Acupressure protocols are just one of the many modalities that I use with clients in my online TCM Health Coaching sessions. If this is something interesting for you check out the link above where you can get more information on those sessions. Sign up for them there. Or you can book a call with me to talk more.
If you found this protocol valuable, please share it with a friend who could use this support! And let me know if you have any questions, in the comments below. Well wishes to you…