Do you experience difficulty making decisions? Well, chances are your gall bladder is not working in harmony with your other organs. The gall bladder is a small sac which stores bile (produced in the liver) until it needs to be secreted into the duodenum. Generally, signs that the gallbladder is not functioning well remain unnoticed until the condition is pathological, hence it is sometimes referred to as the ‘silent organ’.
According to many centuries of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the gall bladder is associated with the metaphor of the body as the Office of Correct Orientation, particularly in relation to decision making. Gallbladder imbalances lead to gall stones, hyperchondriac distension, ear aches, migraines, tight shoulders, menstrual conditions, poor vision, insomnia, indecisiveness, tremors, and a tendency to anger.
Throughout the twenty four hours of each day, every two hours each of our twelve organs experience an abundance of qi, known as the Qi cycle. The time of day associated with an abundance of gallbladder qi is 11pm-1am. In order to nurture our gallbladder, and allow it to fulfill its function of secreting bile to aid digestion, try not to drink alcohol at this time (as this places unnecessary stress on the gall bladder) and rest the body as much as possible between these times.
The gallbladder meridian begins bi-laterally at the outer canthus of the eye, wraps around the ear and descends down either side of the body and ends at the outer corner of the fourth toenail. An acupuncturist will insert acupuncture needles into this meridian if there is an imbalance, in order to encourage the gall bladder qi of the body to realign itself.
Spring is the season related to the gallbladder, the yang partner of the liver. Their element is wood, the taste is sour and colour green – imagine the first shoots of a cherry blossom tree sprouting after a long, cold winter. This is the reason it is especially beneficial to give both the liver and gall bladder a rest (from caffeine, alcohol and other intoxicants) and clean out (plenty of filtered water and fresh greens) during spring.
Foods which nourish the gallbladder include:
As the gallbladder meridian runs down either side of the body, side stretches are great for stimulating stagnant qi along the way. An ideal posture for this is known as Triangle pose in yoga.
Simply stand with legs about a metre apart, raise outstretched arms to shoulder height and bend sideways from your hips until one hand touches the floor (use a few telephone books until this becomes easier).
Of course, attending supervised yoga classes is advisable, as yoga develops strength and stretches the tendons (directly associated with the gall bladder) at the same time.