Working in healthcare, I’ve found that people often assume that when someone is skinny, they must be healthy. By the same token they assume that when someone is overweight, they must be unhealthy. In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), we know that there are many different body types and ways that people manifest health as well as disease. Oftentimes, looks can be deceiving.
Personally, my family tends to be thin. But, we also tend towards heart disease and diabetes. Although we don’t gain weight, we manifest disease with other symptoms and pathologies. For example, when I eat poorly one of my eyes gets red and swollen. In TCM, the Stomach meridian travels through the eyes. Therefore, red eyes would be classified as stomach heat (red and swollen = heat).
Western Medicine might treat the symptom (branch) using eye drops or other medication. However, TCM is able to see that the issue arises from a deeper internal imbalance and treat the underlying condition- the Stomach heat (root) with acupuncture, herbs and diet/lifestyle changes. This is a reminder that I need to focus on eating well and taking better care of myself.
In TCM, Spleen and Stomach “Qi” are responsible for transforming food and drink into Qi energy. Qi energy is used for all of the body’s functions – from digestion to immunity to hormonal regulation. The Spleen and Stomach become overtaxed with inappropriate eating habits, excessive worrying, and limited physical activity. In order to keep the Spleen & Stomach functioning properly, it is best to limit the following foods: greasy foods, processed sugars, spicy foods, and excessive amounts of raw, cold foods.
Modern holistic medical approaches are starting to recognize the strong connection between digestive health and overall wellbeing. This news is especially exciting for the Chinese medical community because it is something that has been understood for thousands of years!