In Chinese Medicine the organs of digestion are represented by the Earth element. If the Earth is too sticky and muddy, nutrients cannot flow through to the rest of the body. If the Earth is too dry and crumbly, it cannot hold onto water or provide a foundation for the rest of the elements. Good gut health and digestion is therefore the foundation of health for the entire body.
We live in a world that does not always give us the time and space to eat in a relaxed and nutritious way. Often times our stress levels and exhaustion drive us to reach for foods and stimulants to help us push beyond our capacity and work ourselves harder and longer each day.
Chinese Medicine has its own ancient ideas of eating foods that support the body. The main concept is around eating foods according to their thermal properties. These ideas are often different to modern day nutrition advice. For example, you might read that a green smoothie in the morning is a healthy way to start the day. But if that smoothie is too cold and rich, for example it contains ice, banana, avocado and frozen berries and dates, it may pass straight through you, as it is too cold for the gut, and those nutrients will not be absorbed very well. Chinese Medicine is famous for its kill-joy notions of “no cold foods and drinks.” We want to encourage people to eat warm, cooked, nourishing foods to support the digestive fire of the gut, rather than cold, rich sweet foods that put the fire out, or overburden the Earth elements capacity to process excess sugar.
If you're suffering from poor digestion such as painful bloating, nausea, belching, loose stools or chronic constipation, Chinese medicine can be helpful in bringing the gut and the earth element back into balance.
Through diet and lifestyle changes and the prescription of acupuncture and herbs, Chinese Medicine can be clear stagnant energy, reboot the digestive fire, and help to strengthen the Earth element in order to properly digest and eliminate food.