The stomach and spleen are the two organs that are responsible for rotting and ripening the food, breaking it down and distributing the nutrients throughout the body. From an energetic point of view the stomach cooks the food and the spleen takes the food Qi (energy) and transports it around fuelling your body allowing you to work efficiently.
When the spleen and stomach become impaired you’ll become sluggish, bloated and even irritable, because the body can’t function properly. Tiredness sets in and further eating just accumulates creating dampness or indigestion sets in.
Bloating is very common and has various causes. If you have not heard this term before, it’s when after eating, you not only feel full and ready to explode but you look like it also. You will temporarily look as if you have put on a few pounds/ Kilograms around the waist.
To understand how bloating occurs; you will first need to know the organs involved.
– Stomach: Job is the rotting and ripening of food to break it down for the spleen.
– Spleen: Job is to separate the food essence, food Qi and spread it throughout the body to sustain life.
– Liver: Job is to make sure that there is a smooth flow of Qi around the body but if the liver is not happy for what ever reason the Qi will stagnate (not move smoothly) and the digestive function will be impaired.
– Mingmen: Job is to provide heat to the body. It is know as the gate of vitality and its place of residence is between your 2 kidneys. Mingmen will supply the spleen with warmth so it can transform and move the essence and it also assists the stomach in the rotting and ripening process.
The most common cause of bloating is a weak spleen and its inability to do its job. Each organ of the body supports the next like a parent caring for their child. In Chinese Medicine we call it Mother Child relationship but sometimes the parent is too tired so the child is neglected or the child behaves like a spoilt brat and it retaliates. Either way our organs are always in a constant flux of change.
When the mingmen energy is weak, (the mingmen being the parent at this point) the spleen will become cold and sluggish so the food instead of being transported throughout the body will instead sit around creating a mould like substance which in Traditional Chinese Medicine we call dampness. Dampness over time will produce a toxic heat and gas which will blow you out like a balloon and this is bloating.
Another cause will be an unhappy liver. You may have been told not to talk about stressful matters while eating at the dinner table otherwise you will get indigestion. Well, that is the start of the bloating process when the liver is involved. The liver is always getting the blame but so it should, it is so temperamental and it needs to get its stuff sorted out. J The liver is always becoming hot and bothered and this affects the smooth flow of Qi around the body. By the liver Qi stagnating food and energy become stuck and then the whole digestive system goes into spasm and eventually the bottle neck needs to blow out somewhere and what better place than your stomach.
Now, there is one other case of bloating that is rare but still worth considering! Worms, yes, slimy gross worms! Worms will have you bloat, probably because they are eating all your food!!!! But seriously, if you have signs of worms like bloating, itchy rectum, belching, changeable bowel movements, intestinal tract burning and cramping, mucus in the stools, malabsorption of nutrients, inability to digest fats, lactose or gluten intolerant please have your self tested for parasites.