Needle Notes  

Liver Wind

Another one of the sometimes incomprehensible ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnoses is Liver Wind. Wind is of course a phenomenon that occurs outside our bodies, but according to TCM there are ways where Wind enters and manifests itself within us. This is called an Internal Wind and is always related to the Liver. When the Yin energy of the Liver and the Kidney becomes extremely depleted, the Liver Yang energy becomes erratic, un-nourished and unbalanced. The Qi (energy) begins to move erratically through the meridians and causes Wind. This can cause tremors (Parkinson’s disease), convulsions (epilepsy) and paralysis (stroke). Other signs are dizziness, headache with a pulling sensation, tensions and stiffness in the neck, tics, tingling or numbness in the limbs, seizures, and sudden loss of consciousness.

In Chinese Medicine there are three main reasons for Liver Wind: extreme Heat that makes the Liver Fire (Yang) rise to the head, the somewhat more moderate condition of Deficiency of Liver Yin that also makes the Liver Yang rise, but then more in a relative way with less severe symptoms and finally the Deficiency of Liver-Blood.

The first condition is the most violent one with extreme symptoms like acute high fever, dizziness, severe headaches, convulsions in the limbs, rigidness in the muscles and violent behavior, sometimes maniacal. The Liver is also responsible for the nourishment of the tendons and when it cannot do this the body becomes rigid, another symptom of Parkinson’s disease. Patients are often very thirsty, red faced and have ringing in the ears, high blood pressure and a clenched jaw. The tongue will be deep-red, stiff and with a thick, yellow coating. The pulse will be wiry, rapid and full.

The second condition is often caused by emotional factors, like prolonged anger and frustration. The symptoms are a mix of those of Extreme Heat like mentioned above and those of a Deficiency of Liver and Kidney Yin. The signs are dizziness that upsets balance, shaking head, trembling of the limbs, sluggish speech or stiff tongue preventing speech, sudden collapse and unconsciousness, convulsions, deviation of eyes and mouth, headache, rigidity of the neck, numbness of the extremities and unsteady gait.

Finally the situation of Deficiency of Liver-Blood creates emptiness in the blood vessels that is filled up by Wind. Blood deficiency can be caused by a long term illness that deprives the Liver of blood or by an excessive loss of blood due to extreme hemorrhage. This again prevents the Liver from nourishing the tendons and can lead to convulsions and spasms. Among the main signs, itchy rashes that change location, shaking of the head, tic and tremor are due to internal Wind. The numbness of limbs is due to deficient Blood not nourishing muscles and tendons. There are also tremors, but in this case they are much softer than in the other two types, where real convulsions will be found.

The tongue is pale and deviated. The pulse is fine, choppy (because blood is scanty and vessels are empty).

I normally don’t go so deep into the specifics of TCM, because it is often confusing and does not stick. Liver Wind, though, shows clearly the transition to western thinking and when we read the symptoms we can see that the condition almost always leads to neurological problems. Especially Parkinson’s disease can be found in the description of signs.

With acupuncture we can cool the Extreme Heat, strengthen the Liver and Kidney Yin and replenish the Liver Blood, the sooner the better. In other words, with acupuncture we can also treat conditions like Parkinson’s disease, stroke and epilepsy, generally considered to be severe, chronic conditions. Depending on the severity of the disease, the duration and the background of the patient the treatment can be more or less successful. It is definitely worthwhile to think about a modality like acupuncture when your body suffers from central neurological diseases.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

James Kaufman is a Registered Acupuncturist trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine. His training in acupuncture took place in Nelson, B.C. where he graduated from the four-year practitioner program in Traditional Chinese Medicine. He later practiced in Ottawa, Ontario treating a variety of health conditions and working together with practitioners of other disciplines. James is very pleased to have the opportunity to work with Kelowna and area residents offering quality acupuncture at affordable prices. He practices at the Okanagan Acupuncture Centre in downtown Kelowna.

He can be reached at 861-8863 or at www.okanaganacupuncture.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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