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Shiatsu blog: Can Spring energy exacerbate migraines and anger?

man with head in his arms

Spring energy is well and truly with us and with it comes a lot of force. Of all the energies throughout the year Spring energy is the most vibrant and dynamic. This is fantastic as it helps you kick start the New Year (Spring is the start of the year in the Chinese calender). You'll be full of ideas and want to get things done, you come out of hibernation with an explosion of positive energy and thoughts but life has a habit of then getting in your way! What happens then if your energy is blocked by circumstances? Some in your control and some out of! What symptoms arise or are exacerbated by this? Last month I looked at Spring energy relates to tendons, ligaments and joints but this month I'm delving into symptoms including emotions that when stoppered build up within you and can make this time of the year very fractious health wise. This months Shiatsu blog: Can Spring energy exacerbate migraines and anger?

Can Spring energy exacerbate migraines and anger?

If you're a person that can reflect on your health and wellbeing you can look back over the years and see the time of year that you have elevated health concerns; you may find there is a pattern. For example I've unfortunately broken both ankles within 2 weeks of each other; though 7 years apart. Is it a coincidence that it happened around the same time twice? I don't think so and it why I'm passionate about looking after my own ligaments and tendons as they are quite susceptible to injury in the Spring. For more on this you may like to read last months blog here.

What other symptoms arise during Spring and should it be a concern to you?

Spring symptoms like the energy of the season are rising and in Chinese medicine we have a term Liver Yang Rising; and it can be pretty explosive!

You may find you're anything from easily irritated to outwardly frustrated right now if you're trying to progress things but everything around you seems to be slow or get in the way. You may have flare ups and outbursts suddenly and not know where they came from. Are you more snappy with your family and colleagues? All of these emotions link back to the banner symptom - Anger and don't worry it doesn't mean you're an angry person but at this time of the year you're just gggrrrrrrrrr......

What's important is that you realise this and you know the links to your health. Left unchecked anger-related symptoms can cause longterm health conditions, anything from Hypertension (high blood pressure) to migraines and any number of liver and heart-associated conditions.

Spring associations in chinese medicine

In Chinese medicine anger resonates with your Liver

Anyone who's followed me long enough knows that I keep coming back to this vital organ - Your Liver. And you may not have noticed but we talk about liver more so at a certain point in the year and this is Spring.

Assertive Spring energy is a time of year you're more likely to speak your mind than any other. Tune into how you feel at the moment, I bet it's not the nostalgic family-loving heart-warming feeling you had 2 months ago in the lead up to Christmas? Nope, the energy has changed into action, and on a positive note - creativity. You're more likely to start projects and see them through to the end at this time of the year and you have the energy to make changes and seek out new options.

This energy though, can bring along with it impatience and frustration, and so you lose it at any little annoying thing that happens whether it's your computer, your dog or a shop assistance; you can just snap! It can come as a bit of a shock if this is a new thing and you wonder where this new you has appeared from.

You have excess energy bubbling up inside of you and it's become uncontrollable. You expend this energy by shouting at others or you take it out on yourself by trying to physically exhaust yourself to calm your mind, thoughts and irritation. None of this is good because it’s depleting you of vital energy that you need to heal your body and keeps you in the fight/flight state.


How does Spring energy make your migraines worse?

The Chinese medicine part:

Stress can cause Fire (a kind of heat) within the Liver and unsettle the balance between the organ's cooling and warming properties, causing the latter (Yang, the opposite of Yin) to restlessly rise up the energy channel which links the Liver and the head and is a cause migraine pain.

Being stressed easily comes from frustration and most anger-associated symptoms are stress; they are inextricably linked and nowadays most people admit they are stressed most of the time.

Your liver doesn't like stress it stops it from working properly on a physical and energetic level. Moving on with the energetic realm Liver Yang (energy) rises forcefully. You can get red-faced, higher blood pressure and you've probably seen at least one person in your life where the veins in their forehead look like they are going to explode! The liver meridian extension runs horizontally around the neck and constricts and this will affect the meridians of Gallbladder, Bladder, Triple Heater primarily; but what does this mean for you?

If you think of it as a constriction of blood vessels and muscles then fluids don't flow easily in/out of your head and brain. You can either trap heat (ie. hot forehead) or constrict blood flow (ie. cold forehead and neck). Your neck can feel either hot or cold this then lets me as a shiatsu practitioner know how to resolve the issue. Tension can build through the day meaning your migraines come on in the evening. If you wake with one then either tension during the night and/or the inability to flush toxins from your brain (the Glymphatic system) will cause them. None of these situations are heavy for you longterm and can lead to associated brain fog too.

With the affected meridians I mentioned this can then radiate out into shoulders and arms or the tension in shoulders can be the cause of the migraine and constriction of muscles in the neck; whichever way it happens you are stuck in a catch 22 loop and the only way to truly resolve migraines is to have a hands-on therapy to reset the affected muscles and meridians.

For longer term migraine resolution the underlying cause needs to be rectified and this often comes back to a Liver imbalance - energetic, emotional and physical. Book a shiatsu if you suffer from regular migraines and get them resolved once and for all!

Gallbladder symptoms in Women (mainly)

This is something I come across mainly in women - gallstones. The gallbladder is the associated Yang meridian with the Yin Liver in Chinese medicine. Physiologically they are linked as the Gallbladder stores the bile for the liver. The number of women in their 40s and over that have had their Gallbladder removed is shocking; why are women so prone to this condition?

I've spoken in this blood about rising symptoms like being quick tempered or explosive but you may only associate these type of symptoms mainly with men; and fewer women. A lot of women had they anger quelled as a child and this has repressed it later in life to the point when some women don't even recognise a situation that they shoud be angry at. If you don't think you ever get angry but you have liver and gallbladder symptoms then book Shiatsu or Acupunture to relieve the build up of issues and avoid gallstones and an operation altogether.

woman in white jumper stretching up

Your holistic toolkit to reduce migraines and anger

The most effective way to reduce even totally relieve migraines and lower explosive or heat-related symptoms is to firstly reset your body with Shiatsu and then support and maintain in between treatments with a variety of holistic support. This ranges from the physical with a liver detox to the emotionally balancing support of Bach Flower Remedies. I've highlighted the ones I've tried and know can help you:

Liver Detox

The more you can do to detox and support the smooth running of your physical liver the more you’ll help calm your rising symptoms. You’ll more than likely have some liver-associated symptoms if you’re really feeling the anger. These can be: gernerally feeling hot,night sweats, nausea, stomach issues/gas, blurry eyes,tendon/ligament issues higher blood pressure; a struggling liver is the root cause of a majority of hormone imbalances and even thyroid issues.


Your liver is a giant filter it’s the hardest working organ in the body and when it’s clogged up it let’s you know this by giving you symptoms. These symptoms are called Excess ones in TCM and are mainly heat or dry based. You’ll feel hotter if you have liver symptoms and in bed you’ll not want to lie on your right hand side as you heat up too quickly. The good news is that excess symptoms are easier and quicker to relieve than chronic deficient ones like fatigue.


The more symptoms you have, the more your liver is struggling. If you’re loving lemon and lime then this is your body trying to detox itself and these do help; like half a lemon squeezed into water first thing in the morning flushes out toxins in your wee.

Your liver would appreciate a detox once in a while and daily support with liver herbs. A liver detox is when you reduce the load on your liver as much as possible so that it has a chance to recover. Then you support it with a liver herbal blend that helps it cleanse itself and then you start to feel the benefits. The good news is that because this is an excess condition, meaning you’re removing something from the body you can start to feel the benefits in a little as a week or two; depending on how much you eliminate from your diet. All sugar should be cut out and I’m surprised that people rarely understand that fruit is sugar! In cutting out sugar you’ll need to remove alcohol, sugar drinks, sugar, fruit, pasta, rice, potatoes, bread – they are all sugar. Plus lowering/cut out dairy can be really beneficial but not critical for a basic every day liver detox.

Liver herbs are greenery like artichoke, dandelion, milk thistle plus roots like liquorice. If you want to get a good blend then I have a Liver support in my free supplements guide here.


In helping your liver to filter freely again you’ll not only reduce your irritability levels you will be doing something incredibly beneficial for your health. Your liver filters out all the toxins removed from your body, if it can’t do this toxins recirculate and get stuck in places like breast tissue and this could lead to cancer. Help your liver health and you help your whole health.

Take the pain out of finding out how to do a liver detox - Get my liver detox guide here to take you through your detox step by step!


Qi Gong

We’ve done the physical clean up to help your liver but maybe you’re still pretty snappy! This is where Qi Gong can help it’s like a meditation for people that can’t meditate. If you can’t sit and be present and tune into your inner calmness which I suspect many wound-up people can’t then this is a great way to do it; as you do it through movement. Qi Gong is a bit like Tai Chi but can be a bit more energetic, especially the warm up. Once you get into the flow of things you start to realise you feel calmer as you’ve had to focus on the movement. The outcome of Qi Gong is that you’ve done a physical exercise without exhausting yourself; in fact you may feel more energised! You will feel calmer and less likely to explode today and your Qi (Chee) will be flowing better as your liver has been massaged and this aids the detoxification process. You may sleep better just from doing Qi Gong.

woman in white doin Qi Gong on pebble beach
Try Qi Gong to lower energy and reduce migraines

Holistic therapies to help relieve migraines and angry emotions

Therapies can help your body detox too; my therapy Shiatsu certainly can! There are therapies that you receive like Shiatsu and reflexology, acupuncture, hypnotherapy and Reiki. Then there are those that you are taught how to do like EFT (emotional freedom tapping), breathwork and CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).  EFT taps into the meridians literally whilst you say some mantras and it’s a therapy you really get or you don’t.. Breathwork is going to be very powerful in helping you get to deep seated anger issues and releasing them, often back to childhood where most anger issues arise from. CBT is more of a coping mechanism for everyday life but doesn’t get to the cause of the issue.

Bach Flower Remedies

Bach flower remedies are a go-to to support you emotionally. There are 38 remedies and a selection of these are blended together specifically for your needs and their aim is to bring you back to calm and emotional balance. There are a few in there for different types of anger plus high energy, fear, frustration and more making them a beneficial remedy to seek out root causes of your overall emotions and so bring your anger levels down gently. The aim of Bach flowers is to bring you back to calm. I offer blending servive as an add on to your Shiatsu session.


Essential oils

It’s no coincidence that roses are prevalent at this time of the year apart from the obvious I love you stuff. Rose oil resonates with the liver and softens/relieves anger. I find this in my practise that if a woman loves rose often she doesn’t realise she’s angry about something or may never get angry. Inhaling the scent of rose eases the tension and calms the spirit. Do you love the smell of rose? If so it maybe worth investing in a drop that you can have with you. It’s extremely expensive so invest in a hand cream that has real essential oil in it for starters! Remember to inhale first and you may not even need to apply but if you do just massage a small pea-sized amount into your inner wrist (quick access to bloodstream) and let it do it’s job so you feel a relief.

You can see that with holistic therapies there is space in your life for more than one of them. You can use holistic options as your ongoing tool kit to relieve different symptoms as they arise at any point in your life.


Lime and grapefruit essential oils are also great for the liver. These are for physical cleansing of the liver and if you love the scent of them then your liver would appreciate a detox on some level. This is why it’s great to start with essential oils they indicate the next steps in your health journey. I was obsessed with lime and grapefruit for years. Most citrus oils will help your liver to some degree but their scent is also very uplifting and can work in a matter of seconds so have a sniff and decide your favourite and you have another tool in your kit for lifting your moods.


Inhaling essential oils and their physiological and emotional associations is called Pharmacognosy – using plants as your medicine.

Check out Jodi Cohen book – Essential oils to boost the brain and heal the body


Note: Grapefruit is often contraindicated with western medicine so please check before you use and consult a health professional if you’re unsure.

essential oils to boost the brain and heal the body
Amazing book I recommend, click to see more!

How Shiatsu can help resolve migraines and anger-associated symptoms


When most people book their first shiatsu it's usually for a pain that hasn't been resolved by anything conventional; that's a good start! Getting someone in for a shiatsu is one of the best decisions of their life because their emotional and physical health is about to be taken in hand.

Eastern philosophies whether Oriental, Ayurvedic or lesser known indigenous-based medicines all treat the mind, body and spirit together; western medicine doesn't. This makes these other therapies or medicinal modalities fantastic for resolving symptoms that you haven't been able to shift.

A majority of symptoms are emotion based and don't show up on scans, I always tell my clients this is a good thing! It's got to be pretty bad to show up in scans so the moment you get the all clear I know that if we sort out the energetic imbalances in your body that you'll start to feel so much better.

Shiatsu is based on the same theory as acupuncture - Chinese energetic meridians that run through the whole body. When one or more of them is out of kilter you know about it. Due to our upbringing you firstly think pain is a physical issue and reach for a painkiller and if that doesn't work head to the Doctors and ask for scans expecting the worst.

If you are educated that a majority of pain is related to unresolved emotions creating stress and tension in your body then you have the vital key to your resolution.

Shiatsu being incredibly sympathetic is emotional pain trapped in your body and it releases it gently and effectively. Massage doesn't listen to the nuances of your muscles like shiatsu does and the deeper the massage the more likely your pain is going to linger; it's not being listened to!

Start your re-education of your health in mind and body today - book in for your first Shiatsu and release chronic pain that you have been putting up with for how long???

hands on womans head receiving shiatsu

About  Andrea at  Shiastu  Bodyworks Cheltenham

Andrea is a qualified zen shiatsu and Chinese medicine practitioner with over 20 years immersed in holistic therapies and the energetics of mind and body. Based in Cheltenham, UK she offers in house clinic and online shiatsu sessions to help people with midlife health issues and also offers online consultations for helping you resolve health issues and regain your vitality. She is a menopause specialist too, find out more at

Shiatsu Bodyworks ~ Gentle bodywork to make your body work better!


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