Why Crying Can Help Detox Your Liver
- Published on: 05 August, 2016
- Last update: 13 April, 2018
Want to know why you feel better after a good cry? First of all, we all know that stress has a HUGE impact on our health. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, all emotions do, especially anger which is something I’ve had experience with firsthand.
Harvard researchers looked at studies from around the world and found that having an angry outburst makes you almost 5x more likely to have a heart attack, and 3x more likely to have a stroke. The risk lingers up to 2 hours after, and continues much longer if you hold the emotions inside. Although one may solely associate heart attacks with the blood vessels/circulatory system, the Five Element Theory of TCM shows us that the liver is the “mother” of the heart.
When a person is under continual stress or is holding onto grudges, the liver energy becomes compromised and cannot offer support to the heart meridian contributes. This contributes to blockages in its flow of Qi (energy).
Your eyes aren’t often seen as a detoxification pathway, but in Eastern medicine they actually are! TCM says that the liver “opens into the eyes.” The health of your liver can be seen in how clear the whites of your eyes appear, and also in the brightness of the skin around the eyes. Since anger is said to be stored in the liver, crying can be extremely therapeutic in releasing pent up emotions and smoothing the ‘liver Qi.’ It is not uncommon for one to cry during a massage as pain, sorrow, and liver toxicity move through the tissues and out of the body.
In Western terms, emotional tears seem to have a very special quality. One of the most reputable studies on tears and crying was done by Dr. William H. Frey. In his book Crying: The Mystery of Tears, Frey explained that emotional crying helps to rid the body of potentially harmful stress-induced chemicals. “Crying is an exocrine process in which a substance comes out of the body. Other exocrine processes, like exhaling, urinating, defecating, and sweating, release toxic substances from the body. There’s every reason to think that crying does the same, releasing chemicals that the body produces in response to stress” he explained to the New York Times. Frey found that while reflex tears are 98% water, emotional tears contained many more toxic byproducts and stress hormones.
Additional studies also suggest that crying stimulates the production of endorphins, our body’s natural pain killer and “feel-good” hormones.” Interestingly, humans are the only creatures known to shed emotional tears, though it’s possible that that elephants and gorillas do too.
When is the last time you had a good cry? How did you feel after? I hope this post helps you to remember not to hold back the tears, and to trust your body’s wisdom when it needs to release! xx