Procrastination Nation: The Gall Bladder Channel – Education Series

How many days do things stay on your to-do list? If it’s more than a few, welcome to the club! Lots of people procrastinate, and it could be thanks to this finicky channel needing a little TLC.

The Gall Bladder is, anatomically, a sac filled with bile ducts that helps to store and distribute bile. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory posits that the organs are the physical manifestations of energetic channels, so in TCM the Gall Bladder is much more than this (and having it removed does not negate the functions of the channel – the channel came first, after all).

The gall bladder is close buddies with the Liver, which we’ll talk about in a coming blog post. Together, they help us to get stuff done!! The gall bladder is like a foot soldier. He follows orders and carries out many tasks that are necessary for a long term goal. He makes short-term decisions and helps us to get through the day-to-day battery of variables we face. Toast or oatmeal? Hot or iced coffee? Blue or black pen? Coat or sweater? Left or right? Right or wrong? Gall bladder also supports sinew health, granting us flexible movement in health, and the channel’s first point is just next to the eye, giving it influence over the eye region (ever get headaches behind your eye? Twitchy eye lids? Styes? Yeah, that’s probably gall bladder asking for a little help).

The gall bladder channel is just one of the whackiest channels in the body. It travels back and forth, ziggy-zaggy, all up and down the sides of the body. When patients present with pains on the sides of the their body, gall bladder is almost always involved. With all those hair-pin turns, it’s easy for qi to get stuck in the nooks and crannies of this wily channel. So why is it shaped that way in the first place?

The nature of the Wood element, to which Gall Bladder and Liver belong, is to be strong but flexible, firm in the face of chaos, and to move smoothly and quickly through the world. A correlate of the Wood element is windy climate, and in Chinese medicine, “Wind” is often an analogy for chaotic movements. When Wood goes out of balance, “wind”-like symptoms develop, like twitching, spasming muscles and palsy. The twists and turns give the gall bladder a way to isolate this wind to one place, preventing wind from getting into more serious places, like the internal organs or brain. Next time you have a headache on the side of your head, you can quietly thank your gall bladder channel for protecting you! And when the gall bladder channel pains you, it’s asking you to slow down and prevent the wind from happening in the first place. Be sure to eat and drink well, and to balance your life’s work and pleasures to encourage healthy Qi!

When gall bladder is in balance, a person can be flexible yet firm in their decision making, they can take simple steps towards success and easily course-correct when things go wrong.

When gall bladder is out of balance, someone may be stubborn to a fault, or painfully indecisive. They could struggle to take the first steps on any task, and become easily overwhelmed in the face of chaos.

To give gall bladder a little love, take some deep breaths and massage the front edge of your temples, just to the side of the bony ridge next to your eyes. And be sure to get out and enjoy some of the spring-time fresh air!

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