Stomach Qi Rebels


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Stomach Qi Rebels? You're in a hurry, you're cross, no time for a proper meal, so you gulp your food and horrors! Up it all comes again, just as you get to that important interview.

Congratulations, you've got 'Stomach Qi Rebels'!

So, what to do about it?

Well, in the short term, if you can, vomit it up.

It's unpleasant and messy and makes you feel awful for a little while, but once it's out it's not inside making you feel terrible.

More advice, further down.

© Maxximmm | Dreamstime.com - Male Of European Appearance Causes Vomiting Photo

... by the way ...

If you've arrived here without quite knowing why, this site tries to explain symptoms in terms of Chinese medicine, not Western medicine. You'll find it's all very different from what you may expect!

I hope you'll find this other way of explaining symptoms, why you get them and what you can do about them, interesting and worth trying.

What's going on here?

Each of the energy organs in your body (your zang-fu) has different functions and one of those functions is to encourage Qi either to ascend or to descend. When you are healthy, these energy movements up and down balance one another.

Your Stomach's natural flow direction is downwards. That means that when you swallow something, it goes down and doesn't come back up.

Also, after working on the food you've eaten your Stomach Qi sends it on down to your Spleen, which helps your intestines absorb the food into your blood-stream. That process normally stops your hunger.

When your Stomach is disturbed (and there are various ways it can be disturbed, see the list further down this page) this natural process is perturbed. 

One possible result is this one, that Stomach Qi rebels. That means food wants to come up again, and swallowing is difficult.

Symptoms of Stomach Qi Rebelling

The main symptoms recognised in Chinese medicine are as follows, but further down I've added a few more that I've seen.

  • Nausea
  • Lack of hunger
  • Swallowing is difficult, if not impossible
  • Belching, burping
  • Hiccup
  • Desire to vomit, and you easily do vomit
  • Pulse: the Stomach pulse, which is on your right wrist in the middle superficial position, is usually what is called tight or wiry, meaning that it feels like a violin string stretched tight. The other pulses may be unaffected, although this Stomach syndrome seldom arises completely on its own. For instance, it often occurs with Liver Qi stagnation. If so, you would also have a tight pulse in the Liver position, on your left wrist in the middle position, deep.
  • Tongue: unless this syndrome is ongoing, when there would undoubtedly be other syndromes involved, there may be little change to your tongue.

Why do you get this?

Usually Stomach Qi rebels because:

  • you were eating in a rush
  • you were cross or tense when eating
  • you were working as you were eating, possibly to a deadline

Haste  ID © Dmitriy Shironosov | Dreamstime.com

  • you remained standing or walking as you ate. (If you were walking, you were probably walking fast or anxiously)
  • and - you usually eat this way so it's a pattern of behaviour that your Stomach qi cannot cope with any longer
  • For example, other Stomach syndromes that often cause this or happen at the same time include Stomach Qi Stagnation, Stomach Fire and Cold invading your Stomach.
  • If this gets bad, it may penetrate further. This means that your body, which normally tries to keep your symptoms as far from your important inner energies, lets the rebellion past its outer guard, so it slips further in. This can lead to Chong Mo rebellion. Nobody wants that, especially if you are thinking about getting pregnant, or are already pregnant.

Additional symptoms I've noticed

These additional symptoms for Stomach Qi rebels aren't officially listed but I've noticed them in some people:

  • Feeling cold
  • Perspiration, often on your forehead
  • Anxiety
  • Eructations of acid into your mouth
  • Constipation - but this usually  occurs if you've had Stomach Qi rebelling often for a while.
  • Stomach pain
  • Sometimes you can get this syndrome if you've been fasting and suddenly increase the amount you eat a lot
  • This syndrome seems to affect mainly people who have a sedentary lifestyle, working mostly at desks with hours that are too long and stressful. Often they like spicy food and alcohol. To quell stomach discomfort they are often already taking medication for their stomach. They tend to be rather thin and nervous, often worried about their digestion.
  • During pregnancy, morning sickness may occur if the Chong Mo itself rebels and invades the Stomach. (Sorry, bit technical, but if you read the pages linked it may make sense!)

What can you do about it?

In Chinese medicine, the appropriate treatment for Stomach Qi Rebelling is, when using acupuncture for instance (there are herbal formulae but you may not be able to swallow them to start with), to pacify Stomach Qi and to encourage your Stomach to start descending Qi again. There are acupuncture formulae for this.

  • There is a homoeopathic remedy often prescribed for this syndrome, called Nux Vomica. Seek advice before taking it. You'll need to find out at what potency and what frequency to take it, and when to stop. Don't treat homoeopathic remedies like pain killers: they work a different way.
  • If you can, take a slither of fresh ginger root, and boil it in a mug-ful of water for a few minutes. Then sip it. Alternatively, pour boiling water over it and let it stand for five minutes. Again, sip it. It probably won't work immediately: you must keep it up for a while - possibly for an  hour or so. You can also take it in the form of an essential oil, in which case start with one drop in warm water several times a day. If you only have it in tincture, take 2ml or 50 drops of it warm water, again, several times a day. Caution, please read Stomach Fire first: if you have Stomach Fire, don't take ginger, or take a much lower dose. This is because ginger is warming and you don't want to inflame your Stomach Fire. The same applies if you have Heat in your Lungs. (Pages on these soon.)
  • For some people, mint works better.
  • As mentioned before up the top, if you can, vomit it up, that may save you some time. Then you need to get some treatment and to put more order into how you eat. Start off by reading our page on Nutrition.
  • Longer term, try to change the way you live and eat, because this syndrome wouldn't have occurred unless you had some kind of Stomach qi deficiency and won't otherwise go away.

Stomach Syndromes

Here are various Stomach syndromes (which can also combine with other syndromes):


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Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott Books

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. But ... there is no paper edition of Yang Deficiency as yet.

Here are some of the books Jonathan has written:

Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress

Yin Deficiency - Burnout and Exhaustion

Yang Deficiency - Get Your Fire Burning Again!

Western Astrology and Chinese Medicine



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