Gallbladder removal surgery is one of the most common operations in North America. More than 20 million Americans suffer from gallstones and well over half a million people undergo surgery to remove their gallbladder each year. Although there are factors that increase the risk of getting gallstones, such as being female, overweight or obese, anyone who consumes fast food or has a high-fat, high cholesterol, low fiber diet is susceptible to suffering from them.
In Chinese medicine gallstones are a result of a sluggish liver When the liver is consistently stagnant, just like a pond, the ”mud” will settle. This sediment from the bile causes stones to form in the gallbladder. As the gallbladder meridian runs from the head to the toes along the outside of the body, symptoms include headaches, neck and shoulder tension, as well as indigestion, flatulence and pain below the right front side of the ribcage, and a bitter taste in the mouth.
To avoid stagnation of the liver both physical and emotional imbalances should be addressed. Foods to avoid are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats, eggs, nuts, seeds, fried foods, chocolate, caffeine, cold foods and drinks. Try to avoid eating rich heavy foods late at night between the hours of 11 pm and 3 am when qi flow is at its maximum in gallbladder and liver. Emotional signs of liver stagnation are anger and bitterness, resentment, mental rigidity and a difficulty in making decisions. Practice patience and tolerance. If someone tries to attack you with anger, say to them as a Buddhist monk once said: ”Thank you, for your gift, but I think you can keep it for yourself.”
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