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Stomach Qi Stagnation is what happens when you often eat on the go, especially when you’re tired or upset or stressed.
Modern life! Aren’t we lucky? We have all these wonderful gadgets which save us physical work and inform us about everything.
Also we have phones which, and it’s only a matter of time, will be wired into our heads. So we’ll be thinking about what is going on all the time.
And … we’ll always be at someone’s beck and call!
So we shan’t have time to sit and vegetate, to chew the cud like cows. We’ll be always on the go.
So we’ll all have Stomach Qi stagnation. That’s very good news for pharmaceutical companies!
Quick, go and buy their shares! They have drugs that ease your pain and inflammation. Even better, once you start taking them, you won’t want to stop – they provide relief!
In the UK we get television advertisements for just this kind of problem. Somebody is making good money!
What are the symptoms?
When you have Stomach Qi Stagnation, you won’t necessarily have all the following symptoms. As your condition worsens, you’ll find your get more of them. So at the start you hardly notice any problems.
There are two main causes of this syndrome.
Any strong emotion can affect your digestion. It depends on your particular make-up and background. Some people have ‘cast-iron’ stomachs and don’t seem affected by anything, though even they will succumb eventually if they lead stressful lives.
All these emotions will make things worse if you also have bad dietary habits – see below.
I would say that most patients I see have poor dietary habits. Perhaps those who have retired are able to live so that their days are more steady and calm, with regular meals and time to digest afterwards – but those who still work have poor dietary habits.
So just about everyone else in Edinburgh, where I work, rushes their food. Often they eat
None of this would matter much if they did this only occasionally! Humankind has been evolving for hundreds of thousands of years.
Our genes must allow for grabbing the occasional snack as we run from hungry reptiles.
But not all the time; not every day; and not without resting after eating; not in a constant low state of anxiety.
If you take a lot of coffee, that can worsen matters too! Initially it provides some yang energy, so stops you feeling sleepy after your meal. Eventually it seems to hurry food through your system, so you become dependent on it for regular bowel movements. Unfortunately is creates a tension in your system, unhelpful for digestion.
With Stomach Qi stagnation, other things start to be affected.
As food stops being digested properly, the Spleen is affected, which leads to the formation of Phlegm. You may notice this in people who have to clear their throats before speaking.
But even if things don’t get this far, you’ll feel under par, and start thinking about supplements to keep your energy up.
One habit that helps is to have a good breakfast before going to work.
Chinese medicine asserts that your main meal should be breakfast because your Stomach energy is most active in the morning.
(There’s lots of evidence from Western science supporting this.
‘Our bodies are more sensitive to insulin in the morning, meaning the postprandial spike in glucose falls faster after an early meal than after one late in the day. As a consequence, front-loading your daily food consumption is likely to reduce your risk of developing diabetes. It is good for gut health and digestion too.’
“Gastric emptying and overall gut motility are faster and many enzymes, peptides and bile acids are higher in the morning” says Leonie Ruddick-Collins at the University of Aberdeen, UK.” New Scientist 11 January 2020 p37.)
One excellent breakfast food is Clogstoun Porridgee. Prepared and eaten the way described on that page, you’ll get abundant energy through the morning, and better resilience mentally and physically.
Also, reduce coffee and similar stimulants. They speed you up but also – eventually – they drain you and you will need more and more to maintain the same kick.
Best, sit down and eat with good friends or relaxing family, far away in mind from work and life pressures. Though not always so easy, these days!
In the evenings, eat early and then, if hungry, have a small snack (a few nuts, for instance) before going to bed.
Meditation – and prayer and contemplation – help to clarify and prioritise your needs and control bad habits.
It has been practised for millennia to help us manage our emotions. So it helps with Stomach Qi stagnation.
It’s worth doing, even if for only 5 minutes a day!
Here are various Stomach syndromes (which can also combine with other syndromes):
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