Decision Making, A Function of the Gallbladder

decisionmaking.jpg In traditional Chinese medicine, the decision making process is dependent on the strong energy of the Gallbladder. When the Gallbladder energy is weak, a person may have trouble making decisions.

In Chinese medicine theory every organ has a physical and a mental function in the human body. The organs are paired according to yin and yang theory. The Liver and the Gallbladder are a yin yang pair. The Liver influences our capacity to plan our life and find a sense of direction. The Gallbladder influences our courage and conviction to make decisions to carry out that plan. When the Liver and Gallbladder are in balance, mentally and spiritually we are focused and decisive about our purpose in life.

A person with a diagnosis of Gallbladder deficiency may appear nervous and timid. They may lack courage and initiative and may be easily startled. Physical symptoms may include dizziness, blurred vision, panic attacks and insomnia. Gallbladder deficiency may be congenital and actually describe the character or personality of an individual. Gallbladder deficiency may result from traumatic childhood experiences. And Gallbladder deficiency may also result from a severe deficiency of Blood. Although extreme cases may warrant psychotherapy treatment, Chinese medicine has a lot to offer people who may fall into this pattern of imbalance.

One technique to tonify the Gallbladder in Chinese medicine is to apply moxabustion to Gallbladder-40, the source point of the Gallbladder. This acupuncture point is located on the lateral side of the ankle and has a good effect to treat the mental aspect of the Gallbladder.

In an earlier article (Acupressure with Floral Essences), I talked about combining the wisdom of flower essences and the ancient knowledge of acupuncture points. For centuries, Chinese medicine has recognized the ability of acupuncture point Gallbladder-24 to treat the indecisiveness and sadness associated with Gallbladder deficiency. Gallbladder-24 is the front mu point of the Gallbladder. Front mu points are where the qi of the organs concentrate on the anterior surface of the body.

Scleranthus is a low-lying plant whose common name means “knot of tangled threads”. In the 1930’s, Dr. Edward Bach determined through his research that the essence of the flower scleranthus would balance that negative emotional state characterized by indecisiveness, nervousness and fluctuating moodiness. Interestingly, he also noted that this negative emotional state could be accompanied by physical symptoms such as inner ear complaints, alternating feelings of hot and cold, alternating constipation and diarrhea, or alternating hunger and loss of appetite. Chinese medicine has long recognized that all of these physical symptoms can be associated with an imbalance of the shaoyang, or Gallbladder organ.

I love to give my patients techniques to do themselves at home to reinforce their acupuncture treatments. When patients have trouble making decisions that is part of a Gallbladder deficiency diagnosis, I have them apply scleranthus to Gallbladder-24, lie down and rest for half an hour and repeat the affirmation “the definite decision is to be found within me”.

About the Author:
Joyce Marley is a licensed acupuncturist who provides acupuncture therapy in New Hartford, NY. She writes Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) health articles about acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.

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