Ancient Wisdom for Modern Wellness


In to the Woods…

Posted on January 1, 2015

In Traditional Chinese Medicine the Wood Element is associated with the Liver and Gallbladder Meridians. The Wood Element is also associated with the emotions anger, suppression or depression, and irritability. It is expressed in the external sensory organ of the eyes. And much like healthy growing wood, it supports flexible, yet durable tendons and ligaments. The taste associated is sour.

When all is balanced and well in our world, the wood element flows easily – we are strong and flexible. We take things in stride, when anger comes up we let it go quickly. Our vision is clear and we learn and grow. When the wood element is stagnant, we become rigid, not only in our tendons and ligaments, but often in our beliefs as well.

Much like trees grow, the Wood Element is the growth part of the 5 elements cycle. Children often have an abundance of energy in the Liver/Gallbladder Meridians. Notice how many of them enjoy sour candies, anger easily but come out of it quickly, grow, are flexible and adapt quickly, their vision and eyes are clear?

As adults there are many ways that we can be imbalanced in this particular element. Wood element or the Liver Meridian is most easily affected by stress. Some become irritable and anger easily, while others have judgment of their own anger and suppress it eventually having signs of depression. Whatever the manifestation of the imbalance, we can’t correct it until we know it exists as an imbalance.

For many years, I avoided anger. Triggering someone else’s, dealing with my own, or even being around anyone who was angry. I judged myself for getting angry and justified away why I should or shouldn’t be. I categorized my anger into either “failed expectations” or “boundaries crossed”. I did anything and everything but be with it.

Yes, I said, Be With Anger. Let it sit on me and with me – in me and through me. I felt it’s expansiveness and it’s power. I had no blame for anyone or anything. I could see clearly all that was happening around me and the part that I played. I understood the purpose of it.  I could feel the box I had hidden in for so long fall away.


Acupuncture and herbal medicine are fantastic for helping the body move the energy that gets stuck. Reflection and understanding of oneself and others is necessary for continued growth, no matter our age. Sometimes it takes getting stuck and getting angry to move us out of our box and into a forest of possibility.