USING TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE.
An article I wrote on Longs and Stomach for acupuncture and TCM course
The effects of stress on the immune system.
Got me thinking, using the 5 elements and its cycles and the effects on the population Also working with previous knowledge from my “Be lean eat green” nutrition course and the effects Stress and stressful situation have on Stomach acid and immunity.
The element of Earth- in TCM our organs of the spleen and stomach become overwhelmed when we are dealing with Stress, the stomachs root emotion is worry in the Chinese system, brought on by fear. When stress becomes prolonged like lockdown our worrying goes from being Acute to chronic, Long term unease on the body Ours stomach and spleen are part of our Immune system so any pressure put on these organs can cause a decrease in our immunity and spiralling into our other body systems.
Research shows that Stomach Acid Goes down when we are stressed.
Stress diverts blood away from the gut to feed muscles for our fight or flight response. Digestion becomes non-essential as the brain prioritizes our survival. The digestive enzymes & juices decrease so, stomach acid drops and hinders the function of the stomach to stop viral or pathogenic invasion leaving the body vulnerable to attach. Like a Draw bridge in the castle being lowered per say.
Stress also causes the lower oesophageal sphincter to not close properly, causing nausea, heartburn, reflux and indigestion. The Churning of the stomach that we feel when we get worried, frightened with stress.
With stress there is also less protective mucus produced, so the acid that is in the stomach can penetrate and injure the fragile lining of the gut, furthering the digestive distress leading to inflammation, causing ulcers, poor nutrient absorption, blood in the system.
Conclusion on the stomach-With this lowering of immunity through stress, the immune system is compromised. More bugs get into the digestive system, small intestines and then into the blood. Possible how some folks first signs of infection like COVID-19 are loss of taste, sickness or nausea and how it gets passed which normally is a highly acidic stomach.
Flu's and Covid-19 are an air borne infection, we breathe in the virus and it travels into the lungs.
Normal healthy happy humans with working immune system usual expel the EPA back out.
Stress causes the muscles of the body to contract for flight or flight. Prolonged stress causes more permanent changes -shortening of these muscles affecting posture. Elevated shoulders shrugged forward and shortened. Restricting the chest and chest cavity and therefore breath. SO, our breathe changes becoming shallower and we have to breath quicker and more often, more breath leads to more virus entering the system. It’s a vicious circle, this way of breathing results in more stress by stimulating the Sympathetic nervous system even more by emphasis on breathing in and less on breathing out.
Grieving/sad people usually go through life with a slumped over, collapsed in posture, that's why the Chinese see the lungs root emotion as Grief and sadness,
The breath out, is our bodies way of getting rid of toxins from the body. It also stimulating a para-sympathetic response. The opposite from fight or flight(stressed response) i.e. Calming the body stimulating rest and digest and stomach acid production for better immune response. Probably why the yogis have practice breathing and especially breathing out considered a purification of the body. Breathing out has also been known to help with the “Winds” or downward energy in yoga or the Large Intestines and elimination of impurities, just in the same way as TCM links the Lungs and large Intestine together as organs for purification and elimination.
Letting go is the tonic to Sadness and grief.
“The immune system normally tries to clear infections such as viruses or bacteria from the lungs cleanly, quietly, and without damaging the lung tissue around them, research has shown how this goes wrong in lung conditions. When this happens, the key immune cells, called neutrophils, explode, forming NETs that damage the lungs.
Stomach/spleen emotion of worry, over churning, could this over- whelm the cells that causing this to happen.
If the Immune system, Stomach and Lungs are consumed with Worry, Sadness and Grief.
Churning and inability to let go, could this be the reason why some people catch infections easily as they hold onto stuff, while others who are asymptomatic who manage their stress , or have less attachments, let go of negative situations. get unwell rarely
The East see the link between the emotions, our lifestyles, mental state and the function of the physical body and its organs and systems. Where as in the West we treat the physical, only part of the puzzle to our health
Could TCM practitioners help the NHS in the future with certain conditions with acupuncture and herbs.
Author Julie Garrioch
Welcome to my Blog page, I am Julie a 50 something Seasonal Health nut, who's looking to live "my late summer" years to the fullest by staying healthy , happy and clear of mind well into my 90's.
" YOUR HEALTH IS YOUR WEALTH"
Our models are real people who are either class members or students of our training school,
Courtesy of Joanne Boyle Photography