When your Spleen function goes wrong, you'll know, because your body will get behind with its housekeeping jobs. As you'll see, these start with your digestion but go on to include your Blood and your muscles, your ability to think and your energy.
Since your energy is involved, that means your immune system too.
© Sanjay Deva
For the time being, please just forget everything you know about the spleen organ that lies under your lower left ribs at the front.
In Western medicine its function is to purify your blood by filtering out old or damaged red blood cells and microbes, and to produce the white blood cells that act as guardians of your system.
Chinese medicine is based on a completely different attitude to health and disease.
Still largely based on ideas 3000 years old, its diagnoses seem a million miles from modern medicine.
Nevertheless, they are in regular use worldwide in major hospitals and by practitioners of Chinese medicine including acupuncturists.
(Picky, technical stuff. Actually, in case you are a student of Chinese medicine reading this, that's wrong: your Spleen Energy organ does not actually make Blood, but it provides some of what is needed by your Heart Energy organ to make Blood.)
So its functions include what your intestines do in Western medicine: absorbing nutrients from the food passing through and turning them into the basic building blocks for blood.
Once the blood has picked up Qi from the Lungs and life from the Heart it becomes Blood (capital B). This is now the stuff that the Spleen uses to maintain health throughout the body, feeding and nourishing, sorting and clearing.
It also has the job of removing unwanted matter from wherever it finds it and transforming it back into usable Blood or passing it to the Kidneys to excrete.
When this function fails you see:
This means how we process information and think things through – working with its partner, the Stomach.
It is not how we decide what we do with our lives, or how we reach decisions and assert ourselves; it is not our memory.
Over-thinking is a problem for it, and can make it malfunction.
Many students and office-workers, counsellors, philosophers and homoeopaths - and others whose job involves mainly the intellect - suffer from over-thinking.
With a healthy Spleen and good Blood you have:
Consequently, you recover from shock quickly and you sleep well and feel great in the morning.
Conversely, if it fails to control Blood, you get bleeding which can occur from deficiency, as in menstrual bleeding that goes on and on, or wounds that don't heal, or when combined with Heat, heavy bleeding.
Mainly this means being able to send clear Qi up to the head so that you can think clearly and quickly, can absorb information and be able to think things through properly.
However, being able to raise or ascend Qi also means that things don't fall out of place. Where this function fails you see:
Here, it controls saliva, and manifests on the lips. Full, healthy lips suggest it is healthy. People who chew or pick at their lips often betray the beginnings of Spleen Qi stagnation.
Syndromes are the names given to patterns of illness as recognised in Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine if practised the traditional way doesn't treat diseases as explained in Western medicine.
Instead, it diagnoses them in terms of, for example:
All of which can seem overwhelming to someone demanding which acupuncture points to use for obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart attack, as I was asked yesterday (March 2014.)
These depend on whether the condition is full or empty and to a lesser extent on the factors causing it. In general, they include:
More specifically, see the pages for each of the its syndromes.
The recognised syndromes that affect it are:
Alternatively, ring him on 07950 012501 or freephone (only free to telephone within the UK) 0800 298 7015.
Please note! The Kindle editions are less easy to read! Although the paper editions cost more, they are much easier to read and to refer back and forth to the contents and index.
Here are some of the books Jonathan has written:
Still only one comment, though personally I think this is my best book so far.
Published 1986 and, amazingly, still selling. Was apparently used back then by at least one acupuncture college to help students understand Chinese medicine!
No comments yet: just published. (Despite the lurid cover, it explains the five main types of phlegm and what works best for each type. I hope it's easy to read and will be much more useful than all the websites on the subject.)
3000 years of Chinese being stressed, and at last, here's a book showing how all that experience can help you!
By the author of this website, it explains in simple English how to use stress to improve and enhance your life.
NB You can also order 'Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress' from your bookseller.
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