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7 At-Home Exercises For a Healthy Liver

Edited By: Natalia Jones
 Both people who suffer from liver dysfunctions and those who simply want to maintain a healthy liver can benefit from regular exercise, as it was proven to be one of the most effective lifestyle changes capable of managing and preventing fatty liver disease.

Particular benefits have been observed in aerobic exercises, which is why yoga, qigong and tai chi are often recommended for patients suffering from liver disease.
 
That being said, for a lot of people, these classes are unavailable or simply too difficult, so we recognize the necessity for easy, at-home no-commitment exercises that require no additional equipment and will make a positive change on one’s liver health and wellbeing. For this purpose, we created a list of 7 effective exercises, pressure points and liver moves that will promote liver health.
 
Before we start, however, we would like to point out that we highly recommend you to discuss any changes or additions to your daily routine, particularly exercises, with your doctor.

1. Arm Raises in Sync with the Breath

liver exercises Arm Raises In Sync With Breathing

Arm raises are one of the most essential elements of a qigong practice, and they are known to detoxify and energize the entire body. They are great because they’re easy and don’t require a lot of time. According to Chinese medicine, the liver filters our blood between the hours of 1 AM and 3 AM. To prevent stagnant blood in the liver, the best time to exercise is early morning.

Directions:

1. Start this exercise in a standing position with the feet shoulder-width apart, arms resting along your body.
2. On an inhale, raise your arms to about shoulder level, palms facing up. You can either keep your hands at shoulder width, or spread them wide like the woman on the picture.
3. On an exhale, lower the arms completely. This is 1 rep.

Start with as many raises as you can and gradually build up to about 50 repetitions.

2. Liver Moves, A Simple Self-Massage

liver exercises Liver Moves, A Simple Self-Massage

Another way of removing stagnant blood from your liver, as well as improving blood circulation is through a massage, often referred to as a liver move. To understand where to massage, you need to learn to locate your liver. The picture above shows the best position for a liver massage (laying on the right side, knees bent and head slightly tilted forward), as well as the approximate location of the liver.

Generally speaking, the liver sits right below the diaphragm (under your ribs), stretching from the upper right side to the upper left side of your abdomen. An inflamed liver may also be somewhat larger and protrude below the ribs. To massage your liver, you need to learn the types of moves you can use, as it is not a muscle and should be handled differently.

Here are the 2 main types of movements:

  • Pressing. Start pressing with your fingers lightly under your ribs and move upwards. Repeat around 20 times and gradually move up to 100 or until your health condition allows.
  • Press and Rub. Place your left hand over the approximate area of your liver. With the knuckle of your thumb or a finger, press under the ribs and move down and around to massage the liver. Continue for a few minutes.

3. Simple Spinal Twists

liver exercises spinal twists

This simple spinal twist is very beginner-friendly and you will feel an increased mobility after just a few days of repetition. Twists are very beneficial to all the internal organs, as they help improve the circulation in the abdominal organs.

Directions:

1. Sit upright with either the legs crossed like on the picture, or any comfortable seating position (yes, even sitting up on a chair). Lay your palms on your knees. 
2. To start twisting to the left, put your left arm behind you and your right hand on the left knee (if it doesn’t reach it, no worries, just grab the left shin or ankle instead). Now start turning your upper body to the left and hold for 30 seconds. Then return to the initial position.
3. Repeat the same on the other side: twist right with your left hand on the right knee and the right hand behind you. Note that each side may feel different, that’s normal.

Do this twist around 5 times on each side.

4. Exercise Your Abdominal Muscles

liver exercises Exercise Your Abdominal Muscles

Strong abdominal muscles are beneficial not only for good looks, but also for your inner organs. This is because you actually have a lot of muscles inside your abdomen that also get stronger with regular ab workouts. This, too, will boost the circulation in the liver.

Keep in mind that any ab exercise will do, and you don’t have to do many repetitions to achieve good results. Here is the exercise we suggest:

1. Lay down on a soft, but stable and firm surface, like a yoga mat, rug or towel. Bend your left knee slightly and put the right foot on top of the left knee.
2. Bend your arms and interlace your fingers behind your neck. Alternatively, bend only the left arm and touch your left ear with your palm.
3. Now slowly lift your upper body using your abdominal muscles. Try to reach the right knee with your left elbow and hold for 2 seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.
4. Relax your stomach completely and rest for 5 seconds, breathing deeply. Then repeat on the other side.

Start with as many repetitions as you can and build up the repetitions slowly, just make sure you do the same amount of reps on each side.

5. Lift Your Legs Over the Head

liver exercises Lift Your Legs Over the Head (Plow Pose)

This exercise comes from yoga, where it is known as the plow pose, and it is usually one of the final poses in most beginner-intermediate yoga sequences. It is so essential because it is believed to massage and strengthen the internal organs. It may look a little bit intimidating at first, but it is much simpler to do than you might think.

Directions:

1. Lie down on your back with your legs straight and arms along the body and palms facing down.
2. Slowly start raising your legs up and then overhead. It is preferable to keep your legs straight, but a slight bend in the knees is also acceptable. Ideally, your fingertips will touch the floor, but you can also stack up a pile of pillows or a put a chair in the approximate leg-landing location to provide support for your feet.
3. You should be able to hold this position for a minute or so before slowly returning to the initial position. If that is difficult, no worries, with time, you will build up to a minute.

6. Deep Twist

liver exercises Deep Twist

This is a slightly deeper twist than the previous one we mentioned, and it has the added benefit of putting a little pressure on the liver, which can help drain and detoxify the organ even better.

Directions:

1. Sit upright with your legs crossed. Now raise and bend your right leg and set your right foot past your left knee.
You will immediately feel how your knee presses slightly on your liver.
2. Now twist your upper body to the right until your left elbow passes the right knee and hold for 30 seconds. You can either keep your arms straight, touching the earth, or in a prayer position like the woman on the picture.
3. Slowly return your upper body back to the center and only then move the right leg back into the initial position. Repeat the same on the other side.

The recommended quantity or repetitions is 5 times on each side.

7. Pressure Points

liver exercises Pressure Points
Who would say no to a foot rub, especially if it’s one that is beneficial for your liver? In Chinese Medicine, the point on the skin linked to the liver is the LR3, and it is located on the tops of the feet.
By massaging and putting pressure on this point on both feet, you may improve your liver function. It is also said to aid digestion and even an aggravated mood. The LR3 is located between the big toe and the second toe, at the level of the metatarsal bone, the toe bone closest to the heel. For a reference, see the picture above.
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