How to Love your Spleen
Published on January 19, 2022 by Rachel Muich
SPLEEN → EARTH → SINGING → INTELLECT → TRANSFORMING → DIGESTION
Perhaps your acupuncturist mentioned something about spleen qi deficiency or weakness at your last appointment. The term isn’t a direct translation. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, “spleen” refers to the functions of your spleen, pancreas, and the lymphatic system of the body. This encompasses metabolic health and blood sugar balance, immune function, energy level, and digestion overall as the pancreas secretes enzymes needed for breaking down food. Pretty important stuff!
In order to keep our digestive health strong and the spleen system strong, we need to feed it foods and drinks it can easily digest and utilize to transform and transport it to the relevant areas of our body. In Chinese Medicine, this means foods and drinks that are warm and cooked well. The body cannot metabolize food until it reaches body temp (97-98 degrees). So cold and frozen food has to be cooked in the stomach, essentially. That’s a lot of wasted energy.
Eating cold and frozen foods often leads to digestive distress and fatigue, as a result.
You can support spleen system by increasing:
- Root vegetables → specifically roasted yellow squash, sweet potatoes, beets, and turnips
- Congee → the quintessential staple in Chinese medicine. Well-cooked rice porridge with a pinch of salt, a knob of fresh ginger, and thinly sliced scallions. You can really doctor this meal up to suit your tastes. Keep it savory, or make it sweet with honey, cinnamon, and fresh berries.
- Herbal Tea → the most nourishing drink in all of Chinese medicine. Chinese herbalists utilize a catalog of thousands of herbs to create healing formulas to treat any internal imbalance. However, this can also mean your afternoon cup of chamomile or morning ritual with rooibos or earl grey.
Emotionally, all of our organs correlate to specific feelings. Our Lungs hold our sadness and grief, our Livers, our visionary planning abilities as well as anger and frustration. Our Spleens, when out of balance, give way to ruminating, cyclic overthinking, and worry. When you’re lying awake at night and your mind is racing, you can bet your Spleen is weak.
Perhaps you ate an unhealthy meal, perhaps you have unknown food allergies, or perhaps your weak digestion was inherited. When we can’t physically digest our food, we often cannot emotionally digest our feelings. Using breathwork or meditation profoundly quiets those thoughts you can’t seem to stop worrying about.
If breathwork isn’t your bag, then may I humbly offer singing. Roll your windows down and belt out your favorite power ballad. Use your showerhead as your microphone and sway to the oldies but goodies. Make a playlist of songs that you know every word to and put that shit on repeat while you’re cooking, cleaning, or going for your morning walk. Our Spleens LOVE to be sung to – let your inner Aretha out, she’s begging to be heard!
When all else fails, root your body down into mother nature. Our Spleens are our Earth element. Nourished by growth and expansion and feeding our precious resources, take the time to step barefoot on grass, let beach sand mingle between your toes, try forest bathing or doing a yoga class outside. Fill your Spleen quota up every day by breathing in all that the Earth provides us. Reconnect with your center, your essence, who you are, and witness the powerful ripple effects.
Looking to get your digestive health and spleen system functioning well again?
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