Liver Blood Stagnation
(sometimes called
'Stasis' of Liver Blood)


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This - Liver Blood Stagnation - is a syndrome in Chinese medicine.

It affects lots of people, including many women with irregular or painful periods and/or heavy menses.

It sometimes looks like Liver Qi stagnation, not least because if Liver Qi Stagnates for too long, Qi will stop moving - just as in a traffic jam, if delays last for too long, people get out of their cars and berate one another, so the whole parade grinds to a halt.

We have a wonderfully apposite word for this, quite fitting for this syndrome: a 'snarl-up'.

Because Qi moves Blood, when Qi stops Blood stops too. Then you have this syndrome of stagnation or stasis of Liver Blood.

So one syndrome can lead to the other, and to treat it you must also, and nearly always first, treat Liver Qi Stagnation.

However, the symptoms of Liver Blood Stagnation are usually more severe than those of Liver Qi Stagnation.

Symptoms of Liver Blood Stagnation

Where do you get the symptoms, and what are they like?

  • Pain location: abdomen, flanks, breasts, side of ribs, groin
  • Type of pain: fixed, boring, stabbing or distending
  • Often comes with the sensation of a lump in the throat
  • Nose bleeds may accompany the syndrome's symptoms
  • Vomiting blood

In women (you may not get ALL of these symptoms, of course):

  • Dysmenorrhoea – painful before but particularly during periods (though it can occur at other times too)
  • Irregular periods
  • Scanty periods
  • Haemorrhages or periods which drag on for ages
  • Blood of menses is dark, purple and often clotted
  • Breasts swell and are painful, especially during periods
  • 'Masses' - becoming 'firm lumps' - can be palpated in the abdomen. These masses don’t move around: they are fixed in their location
  • Mood: depressed, irritable, can be violent
  • Complexion: dark, dusky
  • Note that there may be tumours or growths, and masses which are hard and immobile on palpation both in the abdomen and elsewhere.
  • Tongue: purple colour, purple distended veins on the underside of the tongue: may be bluish on sides of tongue. Tongue coating, normal or thick
  • Pulse: wiry or choppy
  • The Key feature is the dark, clotted menstrual blood and the purple colour of the tongue.

How Does Liver Blood Stasis Begin?

To understand this syndrome, you need to understand what Chinese medicine thinks about the function of the Liver. Read more about this at Liver Functions, but briefly, the Liver is said 'to store' the Blood and to keep your Qi moving. The Liver is also said to have a major role in regulating the contents of the lower part of your abdomen, ie inferior to your umbilicus.

Putting those functions together you can see that if Liver Qi stagnates, it won't be able to store the Blood properly, especially in the lower abdomen, and also there will be difficulties with Qi flow. Read on for the cause of Liver Qi stagnation.

Stagnation of Liver qi over a long period is the cause. In traditional Chinese medicine, Blood moves only because Qi moves it. If there isn’t enough Qi to move it because the Qi is stagnant, then the Blood will stagnate.

Since the cause of Stagnant Liver Qi is nearly always emotional, in particular anger or frustration, it is these emotions, held over a long time that are the root cause of Stagnant Liver Blood.

Treatment of Stagnant Liver Blood

First the Stagnant Liver Qi must be dispersed so that Liver Qi flows smoothly, then the Blood must be regulated. Acupuncture is usually very effective for this.

However, because the root cause is emotional, the patient must be helped to recognise where his or her problems come from. If it is from a relationship they may need separate help in addition to acupuncture.

Acupuncture, I have found, is amazingly good at helping Liver Qi Stagnation. If that is helped, even short-term and before longer-term changes have been made - eg in a relationship - then there are often good prospects for Liver Blood stagnation.

If the root of the emotional problem cannot be adjusted, then the likelihood is that Liver Qi will again stagnate, bringing in turn more Liver Blood stasis.

When symptoms of Liver Blood stagnation are far advanced, many people, especially women, will already have resorted to surgery by the time they seek acupuncture. Surgery may remove the cysts and tumours but is unlikely to deal with the emotions at the root, so probably the Blood stasis will recur, possibly elsewhere in the body.

This question of Qi stagnation is of such serious concern that I have written a book about it, see also below.

Other Liver Syndromes

Read about the main Liver syndromes by clicking on the following links:

Liver Functions in general including Liver Qi Stagnation

Liver Blood Deficiency

Liver Blood Stagnation

Liver Channel Cold Stagnation

Liver Damp Heat

Liver Fire

Liver Wind

Liver Yang rising

Liver Yin deficiency

3000 years of Chinese being stressed, and at last, here's a book showing how all that experience can help you!

By the author of this website, it explains in simple English how to use stress to improve and enhance your life.

For the Latest Reviews of 'Qi Stagnation', click here!

NB You can also order 'Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress' from your bookseller.


Return from Liver Blood Stagnation to Liver Functions


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