Chew on This…
The Spleen and Stomach rule the summer season. That means these organs are now most active, accessible, and unfortunately prone to problems. They are also associated with the “Earth” element. Earth provides support and nourishment for all life. Likewise, these active organs provide the body with nourishment. Food is ingested, digested, transformed, transported, and assimilated into the physical body, creating bone, muscle, energy, and blood. Literally we are what we eat!
The health of these organs is critical to our feeling well. It is said that in the “Five Element theory, the Spleen is located at our center; when the Spleen is sick, the entire body is fundamentally sick.”1
Today many people suffer from digestive troubles. Just walk down to the local drugstore, and note the many products for sale to suppress various symptoms of poor digestive health. The only problem is that they DON’T get at the root cause of the problem(s). They just seem to sedate ill feelings and sensations.
In ancient times, and still today, it is understood that those who follow the laws of nature and a proper diet can be free from disease, and their spirit of life will not be easily exhausted.
Over time, a poor diet coupled with irregular eating habits, over-concentration, worry, excessive studying, or sitting too long can injure our Spleen and Stomach. Adopting a few new eating habits may allow your digestion to function better. In turn, the health of your entire being may improve. Caring for your health, naturally, with acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help get to the root cause(s) of digestive troubles.
Guidelines to aid digestive health:
1) Don’t over eat. This prevents proper digestion.
2) Avoid eating late at night. This drains and strains digestive functions.
3) Eat a diet that reflects individual body needs. We all have different bodies and life-styles that require individual nourishment.
4) Don’t eat while standing or on the run.
5) Don’t eat when you are emotionally upset.
6) Chew, Chew, Chew. Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva. The more chewing that takes place, the easier your body breaks down food and assimilates it.
7) Don’t drink too many liquids with your meal – It dilutes digestive enzymes.
8) In general, eat a moderate amount of sweets. Too many impair the function of the Spleen.
9) Eat whole foods with plenty of fresh veggies, fruits, and grains.
How is Your Spleen Doing?
Below are a few symptoms that appear when a Spleen/Stomach disharmony is present. If you say yes to a few of these, you may want to schedule an acupuncture tune-up.
Abdominal distention, bloating, aches or pain
- Lack of appetite
- Flatulence after meals or with stress
- Watery, loose stools or diarrhea
- Blood or excessive mucus in stools
- Bruising easily
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sallow complexion or pale lips
- Pale and swollen tongue
- Weakness and heaviness in the arms, legs, or muscles
- Fatigue, lethargy, or low energy
- Dizziness or history of anemia
- Susceptibility to colds and flu
- Cold hands and feet
Your Super Spleen
Your Spleen is about half the size of your hand. It is located under the left rib cage, just below your stomach.
Your Spleen According to Western Medicine
- Stores, filters, and cleans the blood.
- Eliminates and destroys worn-out red blood cells and recycles them into iron for hemoglobin and bile production.
- Supports the immune system by producing lymphocytes, monocytes, and plasma cells that create antibodies to fight infections.
Your Spleen According to Eastern Medicine
- Rules the transformation and transportation of food and fluids.
- Governs blood by keeping it circulating in the vessels.
- Transports energy and blood to your muscles, flesh, and limbs.
- Raises the body’s Qi by producing a “lifting” effect along the midline of the body, keeping the internal organs in place so they don’t sag or prolapse.
- Governs and influences our capacity for thinking.
1 Haas, Dr. E., Staying Healthy with the Seasons, 1981, pg 106.