We are continuing the series on emotions and how they affect our health, based upon the practice of eastern medicine. This week is about how worry and over-thinking can affect the spleen. In western medicine, the spleen is recognized as an organ that primarily manages blood health. The spleen acts as a blood filter. It discards old red blood cells, produces white blood cells, as well as stores red and white platelets. It even has the ability to recycle the remaining iron from the old red blood cells for later use! In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the spleen plays a larger role than just managing the blood.
Spleen, Worry, and Over-thinking
In TCM, the spleen is paired with the stomach. The Spleen is regarded as the “Guardian” and is responsible for turning food we consume into Qi (pronounced chee) or life force energy. Therefore, TCM recognizes the spleen as a vital organ related to the digestive system. This is quite different than the western theory that regards the spleen mainly responsible for blood management. Eastern medicine will treat the spleen first when disharmony arises in the body.
The emotions that can affect the spleen as well as the stomach are worry and over-thinking. Perhaps this is why the Spleen is the first organ to be addressed when discord arises in the body. We usually respond with worry and over-thinking when anything in our life goes off balance. Both of these emotions affect the health of our digestion. Our immune systems suffer when the digestion is off and the whole body and organs lose essential Qi. If you tend to worry a lot or be an over-thinker in general: consider supporting your spleen and stomach with foods that nourish the Spleen and stomach specifically.
Foods to Strengthen the Qi of the Spleen
The spleen and stomach need warm or cooked foods to regenerate and restore. Soups are great for the spleen! Avoid cold foods and ice in beverages. Also, reduce or avoid dairy, refined flour, refined sugar and fried foods. Here are a few helpful foods for the spleen and stomach:
- Root Vegetables
- Sweet Potato
- Fermented Foods
Physical Support for the Spleen
There are many physical things that you can do to help support your spleen, stomach and digestion. Try using some massage oil and give yourself a belly massage. Begin at your navel, move outward in clockwise direction, then reverse direction. Add lemongrass essential oil to the massage oil to sooth stomach discomfort. You can also lay on your back on the floor and bring your knees to the chest and give them a hug with deep breaths. Any type of exercise can be beneficial for these organs and emotions. You can even take a walk after you eat. This will help stimulate the blood flow through the spleen and deliver efficient Qi to the WHOLE BODY!
Supplements to Strengthen the Spleen
As discussed above, the spleen and stomach can be supported with supplements that assist with digestive health. Ginger root can be great to help stimulate the stomach juices as well as fire up the spleen. Inulin Fiber will help provide food for your good bacteria and keep waste on the move. Bifidus Balance has specific probiotic strains that support immune health. This probiotic is highly beneficial for the spleen!
You can also focus on blood supporting supplements like B-12, Iron, Chlorophyll, and Vitamin A. Vitamin C is great for the spleen. It helps support the immune system (which is directly related to digestion) and helps the body absorb more iron from food!
Supplements for Worry and Over-Thinking
Enjoy your holidays worry free: support your spleen! Blessings to all!
As always, do what you feel is best for YOUR body — if you aren’t sure, ask your doctor. We are health ENTHUSIASTS not licensed practitioners.