Top menu

Understanding the importance of digestion in Chinese thinking

stress-digestion-blog-672x340Within minutes of being born we are fed. Adequate nourishment every day means we grow, we walk, talk, run, we learn, we fight infections and in essence live life because we have the energy to do so. We know the diet plays an important role, but, it is the actual process within the body that ultimately reflects our vitality. So when stomach or digestive issues arise, life becomes uncomfortable and in some cases detrimental. We cannot survive without quality nourishment and of equal importance is the distribution of this nourishment throughout our bodies. Acupuncture is particularly adept at treating stomach and digestive disorders. Why?

In Chinese medical thinking, we say we are nourishing our ‘Post heaven Qi’. The use of the word heaven reflects the understanding of the pivotal role our stomachs and spleen are for the vitality of life. We think that the Stomach and the Spleen are the harvesters of the daily qi required for growth, defence, temperature regulation, reproduction and so forth. Every organ in the body relies on the distribution of the qi derived from the digestive function of the stomach and spleen.

Essentially this means that any disruption to the spleen and stomach affects all other organ systems and thus the entire body. For example, the Spleen in Chinese thinking distributes and aids in the refinement of the qi received from the stomach into the various different sub types of qi required for the body, such as our defence system known as ‘wei qi’, or in western thinking, the immune system. Interestingly in Western physiology the function of the spleen is for the immune system. So if you are suffering from acid reflux or a peptic ulcer, you are not nourishing your body in a vital deeper way you need. The Chinese thinking goes further than this.

Collectively the Stomach and Spleen or ‘middle jiao’ incorporate all functional issues of the gastro-intestinal system which would include in western biomedical thinking functional issues for the stomach, the pancreas, liver, gall-bladder, small and large intestines. This also extends as far as the distribution of nutrients by the circulatory system. With such an extensive range of effects then this means that acupuncture can positively affect each of these areas in the body. So how do we do this?  Individual assessments are made as believe it or not one peptic ulcer is not the same as another peptic ulcer. Why?

Because the effects of life, stress, worry, or other emotional issues are also taken into account. We have all had that butterfly in the stomach while awaiting news, or paced up and down through worry and not been able to eat. So we know that the stomach can be affected by our emotions and lets face it our stress. We also know through western investigative procedures, that functional issues such as peptic ulcers are diagnosed with the advice of not being too stressed. The beauty of acupuncture is we can help the overall individual and not just the actual complaint. Now, the kind of conditions most commonly seen are

  • Epigastric Pain
  • Abdominal Pain and distension
  • Acid Reflux
  • Peptic Ulcer
  • Anorexia – loss of appetite
  • Constipation / Diarrhoea
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea / Vomiting
  • Regurgitation


And much more…..

Now in a world such as ours, with the growth of health food shops, organic vegetables, weight-watchers products and a conscious awareness of health beauty and vitality, we want our bodies to work, to live longer with our faculties intact. As said before, we know the diet plays an important role, but, it is the actual process within the body that ultimately reflects our vitality. This starts with the stomach and spleen, a factor the Chinese people recognised thousands of years ago. It also means that you do not have to have ‘an issue’ just to have acupuncture as our health is reflected in our qi, which is derived daily from the ‘transformation and transportation’ or ‘digestion and distribution of qi.

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.
  • World Health Organization

    WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system.

    It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

    In the 21st century, health is a shared responsibility, involving equitable access to essential care and collective defence against transnational threats.

  • Professional Indemnity & Public Liability Insurance Cover
    Members of the ACI are approved by Aviva, VHI, Laya Healthcare and HSA for Out-Patient insurance purposes.