Shiatsu | Chinese medicine

5 tips to become emotionally balanced

(English version only)

This post is a follow-up on my last post in which I gave you an insight into the Liver1 function according to Chinese Medicine.

First I will comment on the Liver function related to women’s menstruation. Then I will give you 5 tips for a healthier Liver function and a more balanced emotional life (also for men)! If you like to go straight to the tips, scroll down to the picture ‘5 tips’.

Liver’s impact on women’s menstruation
Many women suffer from PMS, premenstrual syndrome. 1-2 weeks before the menstruation starts, they develop one or more of the following symptoms: feeling irritable and/or depressed, having mood swings, feeling tired, having trouble sleeping, breast tenderness, appetite changes/food cravings, spotty skin, greasy hair or headaches.

Other women suffer mostly from the menstruation itself (or if you are unlucky you suffer from both). The most common complaints are cramps and pain. Other possible complaints are lower back pain, headaches, heavy or no menstrual bleeding, irregular bleeding, pelvic pain and more.  

Many of the above-mentioned complaints and also many gynecological problems are related to the malfunction of the Liver. Please note, also other organs can cause menstrual complaints.

In Chinese medicine the Liver is the most important organ for storing Blood1. Therefore it regulates the volume of Blood in the whole body at any time. Because of this the Liver has a great influence on your menstruation.

The Liver also takes care of the free flow of energy (Ki2) throughout the body as explained in the first post. So, the Liver controls the storing of Blood and takes care of the free flow of energy. If the free flow of energy is obstructed, the storing of Blood also becomes more difficult. This can cause irregular periods and it also can influence the amount of blood loss during your menstruation.

You can try one of the tips below to see whether it has a positive effect on your menstrual complaints. It would be good to keep doing the tip consistently for a few cycles to be able to see an effect. Personally, by doing daily the meridian stretches my period has become very regular (the meridian exercises are promoting a better flow of energy throughout the body, which is always a good thing!).

And in any case you are welcome to book a shiatsu treatment:-)

5 tips to become emotionally balanced
First, it is good to know that there is not 1 best solution. There are many! For some a specific approach works wonderfully well and for others it might be something totally different that helps them. You can experiment yourself and see how it works out for you. Choose a tip that resonates most with you. Or if you don’t know, just choose one randomly.

Also, the tips given below are very general and simplified. For a tailored advice it is best to book an appointment with a specialist in the field you are interested in.

Perhaps unnecessary to mention, but just in case… the body influences the mind and the mind influences the body (body and mind are actually one, but just in our language we make a distinction to be able to describe things). Taking good care of your body will make you feel better in your mind. And vice versa, getting rid of destructive thinking patterns will help you to feel better in your body.

1. Destructive thinking patterns
From childhood onward our minds are (unconsciously) conditioned/programmed a certain way by society, our upbringing, our environment, the lives we live. Often one or the other destructive thinking pattern we develop and our vision can become narrow.  Destructive thinking can be destructive for your personal life, but also for the body when you suppress or ignore the feelings long enough.

Emotions are energy (Ki2). Depending on the emotion the energy has a different movement. For example, when you are angry, the energy goes upwards and when you feel sad, the energy goes downwards. In fear the energy contracts and when you worry the energy moves, but is captured; going around in circles.

Energy needs to circulate freely. If you ignore or suppress an emotion, the emotion will get blocked and the energy that forms the emotion can become toxic for the body.

As the Liver takes care of the free flow of energy throughout the body, the Liver function and our emotional life are very much related according to Chinese medicine. Happy emotional life > happy Liver and the other way around.

> Become aware of your thinking patterns. That’s where it all starts. Feel the sensations in the body that go along with the emotions; don’t suppress or ignore them. Try not to be attached to the stories you create in your head, but let them go.

2. Physical movement
Moving is like drinking a cup of coffee, it is giving your body a boost (but in a natural way). It helps the energy to circulate; therefore it’s good for the Liver function. Too much moving however will exhaust the Liver. Many of us move too little, but some fanatics overdo it. In the end it is about learning to listen to your body, because every body is different.

3. Mental movement
Very common in our society is wanting too much. Our lives have become quite complex. Stress arises when body and mind don’t fit. Simplify your life in such a way that you are still able to fully relax your mind on a daily basis (or if you are able to empty your mind by other means such as meditation or movement, that’s also fine). Be less of a perfectionist and try not to control everything. Let it go. Relax, breathe and smile.

> ‘Energy-wise’: with mental stress there is no free flow of energy at a psychic level, there is stagnation.

4. Meridian exercises
In a previous post I talked about the meridian exercises. By doing them daily you will stimulate a free flow of energy throughout the body. Checkout this post and give it a try (you will have to scroll down a bit until the pictures to find the actual exercises).

5. Diet
– It is best to avoid too many hot-energy foods (like alcohol, spices, coffee, red meat)
– Also, try not to eat too many dairy and fried foods
– Better consume enough warming and Blood nourishing foods (like grains)

There is so much more to tell about diet. Please consult a specialist if you are interested in this field. In my opinion a diet is very personal, it depends among others on your constitution, lifestyle, cultural beliefs. In the end it is about learning to listen to your body. Some guidance in this can help.

If you have any questions or feedback on this article, please email me at!

1The organs are written with a capital letter; this is to indicate their meaning used as in Chinese medicine.
2To make it easier to understand I use the term energy instead of Ki in this post. To comprehend the true meaning of Ki is quite complex. You can try to read my post about it.


– The foundations of Chinese Medicine – Giovanni Maciocia

– The Liver – Claude Larre and Elisabeth Rochat de la Valle

– Teachers Eloise Sewell and Sasaki Sensei

– Shiatsu, Theory and Practice – Carola Beresford-Cooke