The Importance of Gut Health

Why it is key for health and vitality

cartoon stomach full of healthy foodDigestive issues are on the rise in today’s society.  This is why I have set up my Digestive Health Acupuncture clinic in Berwick Melbourne. Many people are finding they are having more food intolerances than previous generations. Personally I believe its due to the heavy amount of processed ingredients in our foods combined with a hectic lifestyle. Common complaints I see in my clinic are people who have constant bloating, which worsens after each meal, or discomfort after eating and finding it difficult to digest foods such as meats and dairy.

In Chinese Medicine your digestive system is composed of your Spleen and Stomach, commonly referred to as the Earth element. The stomach is considered a cauldron which churns the food and begins the separation process. The Spleen then drives the separation of nutrient and waste, with the refined essence being sent up to the Heart and Lungs, and the turbid waste down. As the turbid substances pass through the Small Intestine and Colon, further nutrients are extracted with the solid waste being excreted through the Colon, and the liquid through the Bladder. The refined essence being sent up is combined with the Qi received by the Lungs in the air, and processed further in the Heart where it is made into Qi and Blood and circulated around the body. Whilst I’ve simplified the process, you can see some parallels between Eastern and Western Medicine in the basics behind digestion. In the end, your digestion is considered a hollow system, where nutrients and waste should flow through smoothly, when blockages occur, illness results.

Digestion and its Effects on Fertility

A poorly functioning digestion left untreated can start to affect a person’s fertility. How? Your stomach/spleen are the source of your ‘Post Natal Qi’, which is the Qi (energy or nutrients in this case) we derive from the foods we eat. In our Kidneys’ we store our Jing or ‘Pre Natal Qi’, which we are born with and receive from our parents. Jing is like our reservoir, we dip into it bit by bit as it depletes we get weaker and older. This is how the Chinese explain the body’s decline with age. The role of our digestion is to keep this reservoir topped up so we use it as slowly as possible. The weaker the digestion, the more we rely on our reservoir and then Kidney’s become deficient and are unable to nourish the sex organs. This cause’s poor sperm quality in men, and egg quality issues in women. The stronger we make your digestion, the more Qi can nourish your Kidneys, which not only improves your fertility, but helps you live a longer and healthier life.

Digestion and its Effects on Mood and Energy

The digestion is like our power plant, we feed it food and it breaks it down and turns it into fuel that powers our muscles and brain.  The better our digestion works the more energy we have and the more stable our mood is.  Like a car running on bad petrol it struggles to function. A long term decrease in energy results in conditions like fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, effectively your battery has been run flat.  Similarly too when our brain is lacking energy, we struggle with concentration and memory and can end up having trouble sleeping.  Worry and Anxiety are the main emotions associated with the digestion, which in turn also weakens our overall energy levels and creates a vicious cycle.  Acupuncture is highly effective in breaking this cycle, and giving the power plant some much needed fuel to get the body running efficiently again.

Good Digestive Health Means a Long Life

As discussed your digestion is your powerplant and the source of all your energy. In Chinese Medicine, we age because we slowly deplete our reservoir of essence which is stored in our kidneys. The more we dip into to it, the faster we age and our health declines. The job of our digestion is to keep a healthy amount of energy in surplus so we keep adding to the reservoir instead of taking from it. If our digestion is working well then our essence will decline at a very slow rate. This translates into a longer and healthier existence. If you read in to centurians’ lifestyles, many of them had a good diet, showing the importance our digestion plays in our long term health.  This is largely the goal behind how I use my Acupuncture, its about more than just fixing your digestive complaint. Its trying to secure a long and healthy life for my patients, by keeping their digestive system healthy and strong.

“It is not just about treating illness, it is about prevention and protection of your health, which is your most precious commodity.”