Stop your worries and heal your stomach!

Many people are curious about holistic medicine. To shed a little light on the subject, I’ve decided to write a series of posts on the organs. This is part 1.

Let’s start with the stomach. In Chinese medicine, yin and yang organs are paired. The stomach is paired with the spleen/ pancreas, which are located in the middle of our bodies. They reside at our Center, and are responsible for fermentation and transportation of our food. No surprise here.

The Chinese believe our emotions are closely connected to specific organs in our bodies. The emotion that accompanies the Center organs is worry. Think about the last time you were all in head with worry. How was your digestion? Did you feel discomfort in the Center of your body?

Your stomach is like a gatekeeper. It decides what’s good for you, not only in terms of foods but in other aspects of your life, as well. I have treated many, many ulcer patients. The common thread that runs through their situations is the tendency to “swallow too much.” They swallow their pain, their anger and their foods. You can see it in their eyes, how the move, how they talk. They are overly cautious, always worrying.

The Chinese also believe that relationships exist between stomach, spleen/ pancreas and the rest of your body. For example, your muscles and your gums show direct signs health or disease. The spleen/pancreas rule your hands. When I was still a surgeon, I remember one day in the operating room. I was assisting a colleague in a big case. Throughout the procedure, he struggled with spasms in his hands. The spasms came completely out of the blue. Ultimately, I had to finish the case because the spasms made working too difficult for him. A month or two later, he was diagnosed with diabetes.

As an oral/facial surgeon, I see a lot of gum disease and swollen tongues. How do you detect a swollen tongue? You see teeth imprints on both sides of it. And what that says to me is that your digestive function is impaired. This can be caused by something as simple as eating foods that are too cold, too hot or too sweet.

So, the obvious question that most patients ask is how to ensure they maintain the health of their stomachs, spleens/ pancreases?

That’s an easy prescription: Stop worrying. It’s hard, I know. Most of us listen to the worry thoughts of our chattering minds all day long.

An easy way to quiet your mind is to integrate a meditation practice in your daily life. Even five minutes in the morning will work wonders. In terms of food, I recommend eating plenty of grains and greens. But, be sure there are no extremes on either side — that means dialing down on meat, dairy and on raw food. Yes, you read that right.

I’ve noticed there is a push toward eating raw food in the media, and the movement has gotten a lot of hype. But, what they don’t tell you is that many people cannot digest raw food properly. Before you jump head first into a new diet, try it out slowly. See if you get bloated or experience other uncomfortable digestive issues.

And one more thing. This suggestion is going to be really hard for many people to adapt to: Avoid using ice cubes. When you consume food and drinks that are extremely cold, you cool your digestive function down.

Again, try it out slowly for yourself and see how it goes.

I’d love to hear your feedback or to answer any questions you might have.

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