As per the Chinese tradition, “Qi” means energy sustained by the body. The energy flows around and within the body in multiple ways. However, these pathways are separate from the circulatory, nervous, and lymphatic system routes.
The energy Qi is a virtual form of an energy that comprises genetic traits, lifestyle until present, and the daily intake of food, water, and air by a person. When the Qi of the spleen is low, the spleen does not function efficiently.
What does a spleen do? It aids in recycling old RBC (red blood cells), creating lymphocytes for strengthening immune system, absorbing nutrients from foods consumed, and extraction of the Qi from the food and transporting the energy throughout the body. Hence, when there is a Qi deficiency in spleen, the cascading effects cause many abdominal discomforts.
Eating Raw and Cold Food
A normal body temperature is 98.6 °F (37 °C). When raw and cold foods are consumed, the body heats the food to body temperature to help the spleen extract Qi energy from the food consumed. If the spleen is Qi deficient, eating raw and cold food will use more energy to warm than what can be afforded by the body. This aggravates the deficiency of spleen Qi.
Damp Working Conditions
Working in wet conditions continuously can lead to accumulation of dampness in spleen which reduces the spleen’s capacity of extracting Qi from the food consumed.
People suffering from prolonged bouts of stress succumb to eating disorders which are one of the major causes for spleen Qi deficiency.
Indigestion is one of the major causes of this condition as the spleen will not be able to extract the Qi from consumed food if the stomach is unable to digest the food.
When the spleen does not contain sufficient Qi, this affects the functioning of the spleen by disrupting the normal digestion. This in turn affects the functioning of kidneys which aid in blood filtration. All these cascading effects lead to shallow breathing.
Spleen facilitates blood formation for liver. Hence, if the Qi of spleen is low, the liver function is bound to get affected, which leads to insufficient blood circulation in the body. All this causes dizziness and fatigue.
Deficiency of Qi in spleen causes nervous tension which is a tangible cause for prolonged headaches.
Low levels of Qi in spleen can lead to malabsorption of food essence leading to indigestion, bloating of stomach, accumulation of dampness in abdomen, constipation, and bloody stools with strong odor.
Acupuncture is a popular and traditional treatment method used in releasing stagnation of the Qi. This treatment is effective in increasing the Qi levels in spleen. The pressure points, Taichong (liver) and Hegu (large intestine) are subjected to acupuncture treatment to enhance the circulation of Qi throughout the body.
Taichong is located on the top of the foot, below the gap between metatarsal bones, whereas Hegu is located on the padded area of the hand between the thumb and index finger. Other pressure points such as Zu San Li (Stomach) and Gong Sun (Spleen), are subjected to acupuncture treatment to palliate the emotions and lower the stress levels.
Deficiency is treated with traditional chinese medicine such as Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis) and Dang Shen (Radix Codonopsis). These Chinese herbs aid in enhancing the Qi in spleen and distributing the energy appropriately. Astragalus roots and jujube dates are also used.
A healthy diet is essential. Whole grains, vegetables (asparagus, eggplant, peas, button mushroom, cabbage, shiitake mushroom, squash, sweet potato, tomato) and fruits (apples, figs, dates, grapes) ensure a healthy spleen.
Beef, chicken, and lamb aid in enhancing the Qi levels in spleen. Spices like black pepper, ginger, cumin, bay leaves, and liquorice help in strengthening the spleen. It is better to avoid excessive intake of sweets, junk food, and foods with low-fiber content.
So next time, if you feel the color of your tongue is pale, bearing indentations of teeth, and feel abdominal discomforts as stated above, you surely are suffering from spleen Qi deficiency. Healthy mind follows a healthy body. And spleen is responsible for the energy flow in body. So eat healthy and stay fit as a fiddle!