Just under the liver sits a hollow organ known as the gallbladder. This organ has two vital responsibilities: one is to store bile and the other is to secrete bile into the small intestine in order to facilitate the digestion of food. One can consider the gallbladder as some kind “assistant organ” conveying bile from the liver to the intestine to make sure that the body digests fats properly. Bile is likewise utilized by the liver to rid the blood of excess cholesterol. One other way bile is used by the liver is to cleanse the body of toxins. The liver takes toxins out of the bloodstream and removes them via the bile. Eating highly processed foods, frequent use of hormone, alcohol and drugs, and constipation can overload the liver with toxins which can “thicken” the bile. When bile thickens it moves from the gallbladder much slower than normal and besides affecting digestion, it can also make the bile very concentrated that can lead in the development of gallstones.
A slow gallbladder or inadequate amounts of bile can negatively impact a person’s overall health. The following procedures can aid in the health of a person’s gallbladder, even those who have lost their gallbladder for some reason or another.
Acupuncture and acupuncture points for the regulation of bile movement
The following four pressure points can be quite tender when needled:
- The point situated 1.5″ to the right of the umbilicus and 3″ below it. This is the part where the pancreatic bile duct and gallbladder bile duct converge before travelling into the small intestine. Pressure applied should be around 2 pounds that should be maintained for about 3 or 4 minutes.
- GB 24: this acupuncture point is located at the end of the rib cage on the body’s right side overlying the gallbladder. Cup your right hand in a way that the fingers’ ends are even then lightly contact the right or bottom edge of the rib cage. Retain the pressure for about a minute in order to soothe the gallbladder. Some people may sense an emptying or gurgling of the gallbladder.
- A reflexology point located directly in front of the heel at the bottom of the right foot. This point corresponds to the small intestine. You can apply a rubbing circular motion on this pain until the pain starts to dissipate.
- LI 4: this acupoint is situated in the web of skin between the index finger and thumb on the right hand. Perform a squeezing pressure in a circular motion till pain in the affected part is relieved.
On the first week of treatment, two to three sessions are required after which a weekly session can ensure significant positive outcomes. The gallbladder can empty and gurgle during those sessions, so don’t be surprised if you experience these sensations.
Other Tips for better gallbladder health
Sauerkraut and Sauerkraut Juice- this food and its juice can improve bile secretion when they’re taken regularly. Be sure to select organic, naturally fermented sauerkraut that has not been made from white vinegar. It’s easy to find this type of sauerkraut at any health food store.
One food that greatly supports gallbladder functions is artichoke. Take about 250 mg – 500 mg of this food everyday twice to thrice a day.
Dandelion tones and activates both the gallbladder and liver. They are found in health food stores in either tea or capsule form.
Christina Prieto is an Orlando acupuncturist, a certified Yoga instructor and the founder of Harmony Wellness center in central Florida.