REFER TO THE EXPLANATION CONCERNING HOW TO USE THIS INFORMATION IN
HS01 THE BASIS OF SELF THERAPY
HS16 HOW TO USE THESE SUGGESTIONS
HS17 DESCRIPTION OF YOGA EXERCISES
It is surprising how many people have a poorly functioning liver of gall bladder. Many are not even aware of the fact that their liver is functioning in a sluggish way or that it has become loaded with toxins. And yet they may suffer from the various side effects of a sluggish liver; i.e. constipation, poor digestion of fats and oils, lack of energy or irregular energy flow, insomnia, increase in mental or emotional tension, or reflective pains in other parts of the body such as hip joint, knee, stomach, solar plexus, chest area, or the neck.
THE MAIN CONTRIBUTING FACTORS WHICH DISTURB THE FUNCTIONING OF THE LIVER & GALL BLADDER
1. HEREDITARY WEAKNESS may make those organs weak and especially susceptible to over tiredness, sluggishness, or invasion from microbes. This does not mean, however, that an individual who is born with such a weakness must necessarily suffer. If he is careful to eat properly and practice certain exercises and breathing techniques, he can very likely live a comfortable life free of any disturbance from this inherent weakness. Actually to have such a weakness is in many ways a blessing for those who want to live a life of self-improvement and self-discovery, for the liver and gall bladder will let them know through various symptoms, when they are deviating from the proper way of living, i.e., eating, proper rest and calm emotions. Whenever the body starts to get low in energy, or toxins begin to build up, or tension starts to accumulate, then the various symptoms such as pain, tiredness or a sluggish feeling will let the individual know that he is getting off the right path. Thus the weakness acts like a «built in control feedback mechanism» which keep the individual on the right path.
2. POOR EATING HABITS are a major cause of liver disturbances, over toxification and gall stones. The liver has over 500 functions to perform in the body. These functions affect all the organs of the body including the brain. At a given moment one third of the blood supply of the body is found in the liver. It is responsible for purifying the blood, for removing toxins and sometimes storing them; for regulating the amount of sugar in the blood, for creating enzymes or the digestion of fats and oils, and hundreds of other functions, most having to do with digestion purification and assimilation of the food which we take into our bodies. For this reason, it is absolutely necessary for someone with liver problems to be very careful in observing a proper diet. Details are given below.
3. EMOTIONAL TENSION has a direct and devastating effect on the liver and gall bladder. Every time we experience anger, fear, anxiety, bitterness, jealousy, worry or other negative emotional feelings a contraction is experienced in the solar plexus and reflects in the liver and gall bladder. These two organs are very sensitive to emotional tension. It is a personal matter, however, where a person will store his tension. Others may store the same emotional tension in the stomach, duodenum, kidneys, bladder or intestines. An individual who has problems with the functioning of his gall bladder will do well to investigate ways to free himself of negative emotional mechanisms.
4. LESIONS or a lack of proper alignment of the vertebrae in the upper back and neck can cut off or disturb the flow of nerve impulses and energy to the liver and gall bladder, thus causing them to malfunction. A comparable analogy would be the shorting of a wire in our T.V. which cause one or more of the components to malfunction giving a distorted picture. The exercises given below will help to correct the alignment of the vertebrae in the upper back, freeing up the flow to the liver. If the blockage is deep and long standing one may need the help of an osteopath.
5. Diseases such as hepatitis, jaundice, cancer and circitis. The advice given here does not apply to these serious illnesses but many of the following suggestions have been found useful to those who are recovering from hepatitis. It is also my opinion that the dietary guidelines, deep relaxation and breathing techniques mentioned below would bring relief and perhaps even therapy to those suffering from these serious illnesses of the liver. One should check with his doctor before employing them, however.
USEFUL ADVICE AND TECHNIQUES
The following points may be very useful to one who is suffering from problems with his liver of gall bladder.
1. DIETARY GUIDELINES
a. Avoid all toxic substances, such as cigarettes, coffee, alcohol, medical drugs, tranquilizers, birth control pills, chemical preservatives, canned foods and chemical substances in all forms.
b. Avoid too much salt, strong spices, cooked oils and fats, white sugar and sweets, white flour and too many nuts especially those that are roasted and salted.
c. Eat plenty of vegetable and fruits, especially beets, greens of all kinds, pears, apples and lemons. (Avoid putting lemon on starchy foods such as beans, rice, wheat, lentils etc.).
d. Watch carefully your food combinations so as not to overtire the liver. Check various food combination charts which are available.
e. Many have found that a glass of water with a half lemon (or less) in the morning and/or 3 to 4 hours after meals helps in digestion and in the cleansing of the liver. Honey may be added, if desired.
f. Others prefer to use the folk recipe of Apple cider vinegar. (1 tablespoon) mixed in a cup of water with honey as desired. This is taken a 1/2 hour before each meal.
g. DO NOT OVER EAT. Eat less at each meal and more frequently if necessary. But do not pick on foods between meals. Sit down and eat slowly and consciously and then continue on with your work.
2. HOT COMPRESSES WITH CASTOR OIL can be applied on the abdomen covering the liver. This is a remedy intuited by American prophet and spiritual healer Edgar Cayce. Heat up a quantity of Castor oil (one of those small bottles sold in pharmacies). Rub it well into the right side of your abdomen covering the area from the bottom of your rib cage down to your hip joint. Place both this a flannel cloth well soaked in warm castor oil. On top of this place a hot water bottle filled with hot water. Cover this with a sheet of plastic and then with a towel and if it is cold also a blanket. Lie on your back in this way for 1 1/2 to 3 hours, allowing the castor oil to seep into the skin and into the liver or gall bladder, stimulating the detoxification process there . This is once a day for three days. Then for three days one ceases this procedure but drinks a tablespoon of olive oil in the morning upon waking and before sleeping in the evening. Then on the seventh day one rests and does nothing of this. If the problem continues, then one starts again with three days of compresses, then three days of olive oil and one day of rest. If you have a serious liver problem, check with your doctor about the advisability of this procedure.
3. REFLEXOLOGY MASSAGE on the reflex points for the liver and gall bladder on the sole of the foot will stimulate the blood supply to these organs, thus gradually reestablishing their harmonious functioning. Many gall stone operations have been avoided in this way as the stones were dissolved and excreted due to the extra blood flow through the organs and the simultaneous relaxation of any muscles which may be in a state of spasm. Often the flow of gall from the gall bladder is blocked by spasms in the muscles of the duodenum at the point where the gall bladder empties into the duodenum. This blockage causes the gall to stagnate in the gall bladder. If this continues for a long period of time, the gall begins to crystallize into gall stones.
One should massage the points of the right foot for the liver and gall bladder. Then also massage the points of both feet for the kidneys, bladder and duodenum. Massage each point for about three minutes each day. A wooden foot-roller may be used on these points. They are available at most health food stores. In the case of ciritis, cancer of the liver or hepatitis, one should seek out expert advice and not massage oneself.
4. MASSAGE OF THE ABDOMINAL AREA can help release stored up tension, toxins and energy blockages in the abdominal area which might be disturbing the liver.
5. BREATHING TECHNIQUES can be useful in relaxation of the nervous system and in facilitating the better digestion and assimilation of food, and thus are very beneficial for the liver. A good breathing ratio for liver problems is the «PEACEFUL BREATH» which has a ratio 2:1:2:1 (Inhalation: retention: exhalation: suspension) which means that if you inhale counting 4 then you hold your breath for a count of 2, exhale for a count of 4 and hold the lungs empty for a count of 2. The ratio could also be 6:3:6:3 depending on the breath control of the individual. Never strain or force your breath. Practice this breathing ratio 5 to 10 minutes every day. It will calm all your system and bring gradual control over negative emotions.
6. DEEP RELAXATION WITH POSITIVE PROJECTION can direct healing energies to the liver and gall bladder which are very responsive to such subtle thought energies. Any organ which can be easily disturbed by negative emotional states, can also be brought back into harmony through cultivating peaceful harmonious mental and emotional states. Lie down on your back, make your body comfortable. Place your right hand over your liver, just at the bottom of your rib cage on the right side. Place your left hand over your solar plexus, just under the sternum in the center of the abdomen. Let your hands rest in a comfortable way so that it does not require any tension to hold them in those positions. Close your eyes and begin the process of deep relaxation.
Once the body and mind are relaxed, start visualizing or feeling light, love and healing energy flowing into the area of the liver, gall bladder, duodenum and solar plexus. You may want to call diving healing energies into your body and mind through a prayer or invocation. An example of such a prayer would be: «Dear Lord, who resides as the living consciousness in all beings and even in my own body, purify my mind, heart and will, so that your divine healing energy may flow freely through me, healing my body and emotions, that I may become a pure instrument of your divine plan here on earth». After repeating such a prayer one or more times, relax your mind and let your consciousness dwell on the peaceful Divine Energies which are flowing through you, especially in the area of the solar plexus and liver.
7. LIBERATING ONESELF FROM NEGATIVE EMOTIONAL MECHANISMS is an essential step in healing oneself of problems with the liver and gall bladder. As we have already pointed out many disturbances in these organs are often psychosomatic in origin. One must learn to take life in a more relaxed way, not allowing himself to be controlled by his negative emotions. Very briefly, he should work on the following five abilities:
a. Learn to accept what he cannot change in life and be content with what life gives him.
b. To let to of anxiety and worry about the future.
c. To let go of bitterness and jealousy and forgive and love others.
d. In general to let go of the past and future and live in the present.
e. To cultivate greater self-love and self acceptance.
Various articles and books are available and useful in this effort. One may also seek out a group of people who are using techniques and group effort to make these changes in themselves.
EXERCISES FOR STIMULATING, DETOXIFYING AND HEALING THE LIVER
The following practices should be performed once or twice a day. Those with serious problems should consult with their doctor before attempting these exercises. The purpose of these exercises is to re-establish the proper alignment of the thoracic and cervical vertebrae, so as to free up the proper flow of energy to the liver. At the same time they serve to massage the liver, applying gentle pressure so as to stimulate detoxification and proper functioning.
1. SIDEWARD BEND. Stand with your legs apart about twice the breadth of you shoulders. With your right arm up in the air, inhale deeply while stretching slightly upwards. Now while holding the breath, bend to your left, letting your left hand rest somewhere on the side of your left leg. When you feel the need, exhale bringing the body simultaneously back up to a standing position. Lift your left arm now, inhale and repeat the same movement to the opposite side while holding the breath. Be careful not to bend forwards or backwards. Imagine that you are standing between two walls one in front of you and one in back, so that you can bend only to the side. If you have a slipped disc or serious back problem, do not do this exercise.
Do it three times to each side.
Benefits: Tonifies the liver, gall bladder, kidneys, adrenal glands and other visceral organs. Aids in emptying the bowels. Frees up the energy flow in the lower back and legs area.
2. SWING. Stand with your legs underneath your shoulders. Inhale deeply with your arms out to the sides like a cross. As you exhale, swing your body, arms, neck, head and torso to the right. Inhale coming back, exhale swinging to the left, inhale to the center and then exhale again swinging to the right. Keep doing this back and forth gradually increasing the speed. The breaths are not deep but rather shallow and quick. Swing to the right and left as many times as you feel comfortable i.e. 20 times and gradually increase the number of swings as your endurance increases.
Benefits: Opens up the energy flow in the lungs and upper back vertebrae which control the messages going to the lungs. Stimulates the kidneys, liver and adrenals. Facilitates bowel movements. Liberates the energy flow in the spine and neck. Removes emotional blockages in the chest.
3. SALUTATION TO THE EARTH. Sit on your knees. While inhaling, stretch your arms upwards and backwards over your head. Hold your breath while holding the stretch. Now exhale bringing your arms downwards touching the mat and sliding forward, lifting the buttocks off the ground so that the thighs come up to a 90 degree angle with the earth. Remain in this position with the chin and chest approaching the mat, while holding the lings empty (suspension). Feel the flexing in the upper back. Now, while inhaling, come back onto your knees, sit on them and stretch back again. Hold the breath in this position and then exhale coming downward and forward again. Continue this backward and forward movement as many times as suits you. (From three to ten times). Start with less repetitions and gradually build up to more.
Benefits: Tonifies the adrenals, liver and kidneys; opens up the chest area and corrects the positioning of the vertebrae of the upper back. Stimulates the functioning of the thyroid. Brings blood to the lungs and heart. Corrects hunching shoulders.
4. HALF SHOULDER STAND. Place your mat or blanket close to a wall or any vertical surface. Lie down on your back, with your buttocks close to the wall and your legs resting upward on the wall. If you find it more comfortable, or want to bring more blood to the head and neck area, then place a pillow or two underneath the buttocks. Now there are various stages one can perform according to his needs.
a. If possible bring your lower back and buttocks into the air and support your body with your hands placed on your waist, with your elbows on the mat. While supporting your self with one leg, start rotating the other leg 3 to 7 times in one direction and then 3 to 7 times in the other. Then change legs and do the same.
b. Resting your lower back on the mat or pillow, inhale while simultaneously raising the arms up over the head and if possible placing them on the mat or floor behind you. Hold your breath in that position and then start exhaling as you bring your arms back down by your side. Do this ten times with a ratio of 1:1:1 which means that the inhalation, retention and exhalation of the breath are equal in duration.
c. Now inhale, hold your breath and turn your head as far as you comfortably can to the left. Hold your breath in this position. Then exhale as you return your head to the center. Do this to the ratio of breathing mentioned previously, three times to each side alternately.
d. After completing the previous stage continue to inhale, hold your breath and exhale slowly and deeply, with concentration on your breath. Do this until your breathing apparatus becomes tired. Make the breath as slow as you can, now making the square breathing (1:1:1:1) in which the inhalation, retention, exhalation and suspension are all equal. Do this for ten to twenty breaths.
e. When you become tired of breathing, then simply relax in this position. With your eyes closed, relax all the upper part of your body, with special attention to your shoulders, neck, head, face, cheeks, eyes and forehead. When the body is relaxed you can imagine healing energy flowing into the organs which need help. Imagine light, love, peace and energy flowing into those organs and healing them.
Altogether, you should eventually be in this position for from 10 to 20 minutes.
8. TORSION. Lie down on your back on a mat. Lift your right foot, bend you knee and place the right foot on your left knee. Place your right arm out to the side and your left hand on your right knee. Now as you exhale guide your right knee and all your body to turn to the left. Bring the knee towards the mat. It does not matter if it touches not. Hold your body in this static position and relax there breathing slowly with your abdomen. All of your spine should be twisted. Your head should be turned to the right so as to complete the twist. Remain as long as you feel comfortable, noticing where the tension is and consciously relaxing it. Remain for two minutes or longer relaxing deeply. When you feel that you have had enough return to the relaxation position on your back and rest. Then make the same exercise to the opposite side with the left on the right knee, turning to the right, with the head and left arm toward the left. Remain as long as you feel comfortable.
Benefits: This exercise has a wonderful way of relaxing all of the nerves along the spinal column. It brings good sleep; it tonifies the liver, kidneys and adrenals. Keeps the spine in good flexible condition. Good for lower back problems.
9. COBRA. Lie on your abdomen on the mat. Place your hands underneath your shoulders with your elbows bent underneath your body. The palms are facing down. Now as you inhale start lifting your head upward. Then your neck and finally your chest. Do not lift your hips from their contact with the mat. Hold your breath in the upper position. Then exhale lowering your body back down onto the mat. Do this three times. Then inhale coming up and with the exhalation turn your head and right shoulder to the right, looking behind you. Inhale as you come back to the center and then exhale as you turn your head and your left shoulder to the left looking behind you. Do this exhaling and inhaling to each side three times. Then exhale and relax back down onto the mat.
Benefits: Stimulates and harmonizes the kidneys, adrenals, liver and gall bladder. It frees up the flow of bioenergy and nerve impulses in the lower back to the organs of digestion and elimination. Removes tension from the nerves along the spine. Stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid. Prevents hunching of the back. Those with serious back problems should consult a doctor before doing it.
10. PRAYER POSITION. Sit on your knees. Bend forward and place your forehead comfortably on the mat or floor. Adjust the position of your head and neck so that they are comfortable. If your buttocks can be resting on your calves, this is optimum. If not, lift them as much as you need in order to rest your head on the floor. Otherwise, put a pillow underneath your forehead so that you are more comfortable. Those with stiff ankle joints may want to put a pillow underneath the ankles or between the ankles and buttocks. The position will gradually be made with pillows. Remain in this position, breath comfortably. This is a static position. There is no movement, only breath and relaxation. Remain for 3 to 10 minutes depending on how comfortable you feel.
Benefits: Blood flows to the neck, head, thyroid, pituitary, chest, heart and eyes. Relaxes the upper back and the abdomen. Brings peace and rejuvenation.
Blood flows down from the legs alleviating various circulatory problems of the legs. The blood flows through the lungs and takes more oxygen and then begins to flow into the neck, brain, pituitary gland, thyroid and parathyroid glands, through the liver, gall bladder, kidneys and all the organs of the upper part of the body. The muscles of the neck are relaxed, while all the organs are rejuvenated with a fresh supply of blood and oxygen.
11. THE FISH. Lie on your back on a mat. Place your arms under your body. Let them be straight with the hands resting palms down underneath the buttocks. Now lift your upper back and let your head fall backwards and place the top of your head on the mat. Now you are resting on your buttocks, elbows with a little pressure on the top of your head. Remain in this position, breathing slowly and deeply. Remain as long as you feel comfortable and then relax. Do not do this if you have high blood pressure. Once you are able to do it this way comfortably you can leave your hands by your sides and support yourself on your head and buttocks. You can start by remaining only 20 sec. and gradually work up to 1 or 2 min. in this position.
Benefits: Stimulates and harmonizes the thyroid, parathyroid and pituitary glands. Corrects the hunching in the upper back. Releases tension from neck and shoulders. Releases energy flow to the liver and intestines.
6. FORWARD STRETCH. Sit on your mat with your legs stretched out in front of you. Bend forward allowing the abdomen to rest on the thighs. If you have to bend your knees in order to make this abdomen-thigh contact, then do so. Let you head rest downwards and relax in the position. This may be a comfortable position for some in the beginning. Gradually the body will loosen up over the months and years and it will become one of your favorite exercises for its rejuvenating effect on all the body. This is a static exercise. There is no movement. You just relax, feel where your body is stiff or painful and relax those areas. Gradually as you feel more relaxed in the position, you can begin to make your legs straight.
Benefits: Relaxes and tonifies all the digestive and eliminative systems, as well as the reproductive organs. Relaxes all the nerves of the spine and neck. Bring extra blood to the heard and head. Removes tension from the leg muscles. Releases blocked sexual energy. Increases digestive power. Brings more relaxed sleep.
7. WIND RELIEVING POSTURE. Lie on your back on your mat. Bend your right knee. Embrace it lightly with both your hands clasped around it. Inhale deeply; hold your breath and then pull your right thigh into your abdomen. Hold it there as long as you feel comfortable while holding the air in your lungs. (If you like you may also bring your head up towards your knee). Exhale and relax your leg holding it loosely with your two hands. Inhale again and with the retention bring the thigh into the abdomen again. Do this 3 times with the right leg and 3 times with the left and 3 times with both legs together.
Benefits: Puts a stimulating pressure on bowels and digestive organs. Helps remove excess air from the digestive tract and facilitates bowel movements. Activates the kidneys, adrenals, liver; is especially beneficial for lower back problems, releases the energy flow there.